Project Management

Managing Benefits Risk

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Sorry, but yes, this is yet another article on the importance of benefits management to project managers. There has been a lot written about it recently, hasn’t there? I’ll even confess to being the source of a fair chunk of that writing, but the bottom line is organizations are putting considerably more effort into benefits management these days.

Projects are approved not with the desire for the “perfect” on time, on scope, on budget outcome, but rather to deliver an “on benefit” outcome—the achievement of the business improvements that were anticipated in the business case. What I want to consider in this article is how well we reflect that focus in our risk management work.

It doesn’t matter which organization I am working in or what type of project I am involved in; I can predict at least some of the entries in the risk register, and so can you—we see them on every project, added without much thought and managed in much the same way. You know the ones I mean: risk of someone leaving the team, risk of late changes, etc.

Unfortunately, I can also predict areas where very few if any risks are identified. One of those areas is benefits. I don’t mean something as simple as the risk the benefits won’t be achieved, rather the different events that may occur that …

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