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Benefit tracking in project management: how not to overcomplicate, but make it useful?

Decisions which projects to proceed with normally are based on the value project will bring. Benefit tracking or in other words value realisation, this part of the process turns on usually once something is implemented and is tracked for the period when benefits will materialise fully.

Benefit tracking not necessarily need to be complicated

There is common belief, that to track benefits you need to create gigantic excels which allow to guess all the possible shifts in the market and make sure that the growth in income (if it is the benefit) comes from the exact project. To have this implemented is possible, but it will be a Sisyphus work, as it will create many situations when something that is out of your control will cause changes in your company results. That does not mean, that you should not implement the process at all, it rather means that you should use benefit tracking process to achieve necessary accountability and awareness of people who are asking for investments and promising gold.

If you want to have benefit tracking process which does not eat all the time of your finance team, make it in a way, that you setup regular reviews with benefit owners on every quarter basis and store all project benefits in benefit tracker. Your aim of the review should be only to understand from the benefit owner of what is going on with the project value that he has promised. Even though you do not do any strict checks or control steps, this way you make people accountable for what they promised.

P.S. benefit tracking is often forgotten for Agile deliveries – do not let anybody fool yourself, Agile is a delivery method, whatever you are planning to deliver via Agile method, should bring value to the organisation.

Use your projects benefits data in company annual targets planning

Proposed process looks super light, but it will give you an understanding how you are doing company wise in regards to costs going down, revenue or income going up from the perspective of where you have invested and what you tried to achieve. Benefit tracking registry is a good tool for conversations and negations with division heads when it comes to annual targets - many of you know, how every year company leadership wants increased income targets and decreased costs, but expectation is vice versa in other levels. So when you have 3 – 5 years outlook what has been promised, you can drive thought talks more easily.

Final thoughts

There is no need to be afraid of introducing benefit tracking in an organisation as there are ways how to make it lighter, but still make it useful for accountability, awareness and target planning purposes.


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