Project Benefits and Benefits Realisation

Image showing the 5 stages of Benefits Management. Created by Hague Consulting

Organisations run projects because they expect benefits from them. Those benefits may or may not be well defined in project planning. Planning benefits realisation ties your business case to your project outcomes. It avoids playing catch up later and makes it much easier to prove project success.

What is a Project Benefit?

A project benefit is an outcome that provides value, utility, or a positive change to the recipient. The intended recipients may be customers, employees, or other stakeholders. A benefit is different from a project deliverable or product. A project may deliver a new building, a new process, or a new system but that is a strategic investment to produce a benefit for someone.

How do I measure benefits?

The benefit may be a financial one that can be easily measured. It may be a tangible improvement in the quality of a service that requires little effort to measure. It may be something intangible like customer satisfaction or employee morale. Each benefit type matters and should be realised. It can be tricky but you can measure different types of benefits if you create a baseline prior to the project and plan how and when measurement will occur and who will do it.

What is the difference between project objectives, deliverables, and benefits?

The best way to explain how project benefits differ from objectives and deliverables is to give some practical examples.

Let’s take examples of Property Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems in different types of organisations. Most organisations need to manage property and these examples aren’t too technical, so it is easy to apply them to other types of projects.

ERP benefits for a Property Investment Company


The company has a portfolio of office, retail, and residential properties. It currently uses several different systems for different parts of the portfolio. Key challenges include poor data integration, manual consolidation of financial statements, steep learning curve for systems, and people work in silos.

Project Objectives:

To implement ERP ‘X’ to standardise systems, merge databases, create common views of data and streamline financial processes.

Project Deliverables:

  • Data cleansed and migrated by 20 June 202X
  • Business processes redesigned and documented by 30 April 202X
  • ERP modules 1,2 and 4 configured, tested, and live by 30 June 202X
  • Systems A, B, and C closed down and data archived by 30 September 202X

Project Benefits:

  • Time to produce monthly property report reduced from 15 days to 5 days
  • Month end financial close reduced from 12 days to 7 days
  • Employee system confidence at 80% or higher after 30 days
  • Achieve switch from monthly to daily bank reconciliations

ERP benefits for a Government Agency


There is no complete record of all the buildings, age, and condition. There are only basic maintenance plans and lots of deferred maintenance. Lack of clarity to support upgrading or demolition options. No common systems for reporting and managing service requests for property maintenance.

Project Objectives:

To implement a single system that captures a full inventory of all property and buildings and creates capability to add assets and equipment over time.

To implement a service desk capability for facilities management.

Project Deliverables:

  • All property and building data cleansed, verified, and completed for migration by 30 November 202X
  • ERP ‘Y’ implemented by 31 December 202X
  • Service desk software up and running by 31 December 202X

Project Benefits:

  • All employees can lodge FM service requests online for all buildings
  • Maintenance plans in place for all properties and buildings
  • No employees in buildings with outstanding level 1 health and safety alerts

ERP benefits for a Not for Profit


The not-for-profit owns and operates community facilities. The properties include halls, youth centres, social housing and community facilities. It uses spreadsheets, one old database and a small business accounting system. It wants to manage space utilisation better and to rent out some spaces commercially to help fund its activities.

Project Objectives:

To implement ERP ‘Z’ to manage its properties and integrate with a third-party space-booking system. To eliminate its old database and most spreadsheets.

Project Deliverables:

  • Data cleansed and migrated by 1 June 202X
  • Rentable spaces identified and added to booking systems
  • ERP modules 1 & 6 configured, tested, and live by 30 June 202X
  • Booking systems and Finance module in ERP ‘Z’ linked by API by 31 August 202X

Project Benefits:

  • Property team have dashboard and reporting for all property KPIs
  • Defined property data, financial data, and space utiilisation data are all linked
  • Employee system confidence at 80% or higher after 30 days
  • Revenue from commercial bookings increases by 100% 1 year after Go Live

How and when do I plan for Benefits Realisation?

Benefits realisation should be planned up front and documented in the project business case. If you don’t have a business case, then plan the project benefits and benefits realisation during project scoping and record them in the Project Charter or Project management Plan or other key project planning document. Projects are a vehicle for implementing strategy and a benefits realisation plan aligns your project to your organisation’s strategy.

Phil Guerin, Consultant/Director, Hague Consulting Ltd. © Hague Consulting Ltd 2023