Benefits - Lessons Learned

Below is a list of lessons learned relating to Benefits, taken from a selection of recently completed programmes and projects across the NICS.

Issue 1 - Key stakeholder was unable to quantify the benefits of the new IT system and subsequently offered limited input to the Full Business Case.

Recommendation 1 - It is important that key stakeholders have a thorough understanding of the benefits of a project and have input where necessary. The project team should develop a benefits management plan to ensure benefits of investment are clearly understood and robust plans are in place to achieve them.

Issue 2 – Failure to include statistical features into any new service/system will result in difficulties measuring if the objectives set at project initiation have been met.

Recommendation 2 – Ensure any new system has the facility to collate and report accurate statistics and Key Performance Indicators.

Issue 3 – Objectives and benefits cannot be clearly linked to the investment. The objectives were too reliant on other external factors.

Recommendation 3 – Ensure objectives are linked directly to the investment so that benefits can be properly realised. Objectives should be measurable.

Issue 4 – Many benefits changed in the time between FBC and PPE, reflecting the changing landscape of the projects.

Recommendation 4 – Monitor relevance of project benefits that are included in the FBC and Funding Agreement. A potential mid-term review of benefits could be considered.

Issue 5 – The focus on benefits was not undertaken at an early enough stage in the project journey.

Recommendation 5 – It is imperative that there is an early consideration and identification of benefits to allow for these to be monitored and tracked throughout. All project managers should ensure that the relevant benefits documents including Benefit Realisation Plans and Benefit Maps are completed at an early stage and included in the project plan. These then need to be reviewed and revised throughout the lifetime of the project.

Issue 6 – Benefits realisation was difficult to measure because no baseline survey was carried out to gauge public perceptions before the project began.

Recommendation 6 – Undertake baseline and post-project surveys to better gauge public perceptions before and after the investment.

Issue 7 – While engagement with and feedback from end users has been very positive, not mandating the use of the system or new procedures has resulted in a number of users maintaining their old procedures.

Recommendation 7 – Consideration should be given to mandating the use of the new services. Consider continuous communication with end users to promote benefits.

Industry guidance/ further reading

PRINCE2, Managing successful projects with PRINCE2, 6th edition (2017), chapter 6, section 6.2.3 covers benefits realisation.

APM, APM Body of Knowledge, 7th edition (2019), sections 2.3.3. and 4.1.1.

Commercial Delivery Group’s Programme and Project Management hub: Benefits Management | Department of Finance (

Infrastructure and Projects Authority, Guide for Effective Benefits Management in Major Projects: Key benefits management principles and activities for major projects (October, 2017), found here: Guide for effective benefits management in major projects - GOV.UK (

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