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Troubled Investments and Non-delivery of Benefits

Summary

Benefits management and tracking is vital to success. This best practice stresses the importance of early detection of value deterioration, and suggests ways to trigger corrective action from the point of view of the expected business/operational benefits. 

Trouble in pre-delivery phases of the project

A common issue with projects is the lack of direct linking between the intended benefits and the specifications at a very early definition stage of the project. Especially in the case of large programs, if a loss of communication occurs at this early stage, the problem could remain “dormant” for a long time and cause a significant waste of resources.

When such a disconnect is identified as part of a checkpoint review (and each project should have a checkpoint review of some sort), it's important to bring together the key participants of the project team and the benefit realization team and to analyze the discrepancy. This may include product managers, the project's sponsor, and/or operational managers. 

The aim should be to re-direct the program, rather than conduct an in-depth root-cause analysis. At this early stage the benefit discrepancies usually stem from misunderstandings or misinterpretations. They are relatively easy to correct without a significant cost to the organization. But having a process step early in a project to validate the benefits can avoid much larger problems later, not to mention greater accumulation of waste.

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