Benefits Management – A Thinking Tool for the PMO

Many people do not fully understand benefits, see them as a side-activity unconnected to the main activities of project, programme or change management – or just do not consider them at all.

Benefits management is not an activity, it is a mind-set. Described as ‘the golden thread’ from business case to business as usual, benefits are the reason we invest in doing things differently.

In this interactive session, PMO Flashmobbers will learn what benefits are, how they are identified and begin to develop an understanding of the part we all play in realising them. Attendees will learn, through practical exercises, how to use tools such as the Dellar Success Case to start shifting your mindset to a benefits one.

Carry on reading and listen to the full recorded session PLUS a full breakdown of the practical exercise:

The Video Session

You can also take a look at the previous introduction to this session

Benefits Management


The Practical Session

To articulate why we are doing something we first need to understand what we are trying to do. Each programme or project is about a business need; a business problem to solve or a business opportunity to exploit. If you know what each of these is – you can, flip it on its head and work out what the benefits are.

So for example; the need to reduce A&E waiting times in a hospital is our problem, therefore, reducing the numbers of people arriving at A&E would be a benefit. Benefits are a measurable improvement so if we can reduce that waiting time by using a project to make that change, we could clearly measure the impact of that project – hopefully, reduced waiting times!

In our practical exercise for the night, we continued with the A&E waiting time theme.

We’re using something called the Dellar Success Case Tool – a six box tool. It allows us to break down what it is we’re trying to do with the project in relation to the problem we’re trying to solve. We love a tool that helps us with our thinking:

So we’re trying to reduce the waiting times so we start with the first box:


This is about the vision and is linked to the purpose – why are we doing this? When we understand the vision, we will then be able to understand what the objectives are. Questions such as what would we need to increase or decrease, what does the organisation need to look like in the future to meet its objectives?

Part of this will be the Driver Analysis – what is it that is driving this? Which stakeholder drives it?


What is stopping us from succeeding?

When we look at the business need/problem or opportunity what is the current state – what is currently happening? What is it that is currently stopping us from meeting the waiting times in the A&E department?

Identify Success

This one is about identifying that we are successful and it’s a ripple effect – so there is the immediate impact first of all. What would happen in the A&E department should this project be successful?

Then there are the knock-on effects. If we reduce the waiting times, what are the knock-on effects – both good and bad.

And then we look at the different perspectives – from all the different stakeholders. How do they perceive success?


Up to this point, we’ve been thinking about the problem, now it’s time to start thinking about the solution. In this exercise, it’s about focusing on just one thing (just to stop it getting complicated) and it’s all about what has to change.

We’re thinking about the future state, for example, we may need new capabilities, which could be certain systems for example. We’re also thinking about what business-as-usual will do, and what it might look like and what we need it to do.

We’re trying to get into the future state mindset, “in the future we will have…….” and so on.

To Do

This is the task-list – what are you going to do? How are you going to do it? It’s all about the details here, for example, we’re going to run a local campaign to raise the awareness of what emergency really means to local households.

These are specific things you’re going to implement.

Doing this kind of exercise with the whole delivery team is something that takes quite a bit longer than the time we had at the PMO Flashmob!

Why Not?

The last box is the why haven’t you already done this box.

What is stopping you from doing this already? Are there issues to be resolved? Do we need to be clearer before resources are committed? It’s never just about having no money – this is about digging further in to find out what else is at play here. Is it too risky? We don’t have the right resources? What if someone perceives it to be a low priority?

The exercise is a great one for the PMO to facilitate in the delivery organisation when work is still in that initiation phase and the project team is all working together to tackle the change needed.

It’s also a great way for the PMO to get the team thinking about benefits management too – finding the balance between focusing on the solution and remembering to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Claire is loving and breathing this stuff every day so if you’re interested in connecting with her, see below!

A Bit More About Claire

No one was more surprised than Claire when her background in experimental economics actually turned out to be useful.

Claire’s enthusiastic delivery and deep knowledge of her subject makes her an ideal presenter and seminar leader specialising in benefits realisation and change.

An accomplished public speaker, Claire has presented at conferences, seminars and workshops and she is a guest lecturer at Leeds University. She contributed to the Managing Benefits™ textbook, leads on Benefits and Value Thought Leadership for the Association for Project Management and is co-author of government benefits realisation training courses, expertise she has now taken globally through her new company, Transformists Ltd.

A benefits evangelist, she travels the world, helping organisations beat the trend for only 30% of projects to succeed, infecting them with her passion for benefits-led change.

Connect with Claire via Twitter at: @ClaireDellar or via Linked

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About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay is the founder of PMO Flashmob and a Director at PMO Learning - the sister company to PMO Flashmob and the best training company for PMO people in the world! She's also the creator of London's first dedicated PMO Conference; Director of Arras People and PMO enthusiast. Loves dogs and gin.

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