Every project needs to realize benefits that further business goals. However, realizing benefits is typically a matter of ensuring that the project has produced new capabilities. In a post for the Association for Project Management, Ned Newton discusses the relationship between capabilities, benefits, and value.
Capable of More
Benefits are things that generate value, and value can come from a couple of perspectives. From an operational perspective, value is generated when project capabilities produced allow users to work more efficiently or effectively than they did before. From a strategic perspective, those productivity gains will generate a stronger bottom line. Thus, the more practical and useful capabilities that are created by a project, the more benefits that will inherently be realized. In turn, this makes measuring use and availability of capabilities to be more important than perhaps most managers realize. These are the measures that really determine how much value is being generated.
Newton goes on to explain that a capability may exist in multiple different states, such as these:
- Exists – means that the feature and fabric components exist somewhere, either procured or built.
- Available – means that the capability can be used, supported by its feature and fabric components. For every component, it’s a good exercise to list what available means. For a feature that might include the users having: knowledge of it, logical access, physical access, permission to use it, necessary training, and so on.
- Used – means that the capability is being used, supported by its feature and fabric components, and the function is being performed, leading to the benefits.
- Retired – means that the capability is no longer intended for use, and its components need no longer exist.
For an explanation of how you might physically diagram capabilities, you can view the original post here: https://www.apm.org.uk/blog/look-after-the-capabilities-and-the-benefits-will-look-after-themselves/