Project Governance Sounds Important – But What Does It Actually Look Like?

Governance is a buzzword that naturally sounds like something pretty relevant, maybe because it reminds us of government or of the verb to govern. However, many people would find it difficult to explain what governance is in practical terms. On an organisational level, most of us may see governance as a board of directors making difficult and strategic decisions aiming to make the business successful.

That is not wrong, but governance also involves processes and controls to ensure that the appropriate group of people have the level of authority and the information needed to make the right decisions to benefit the organisation’s stakeholders—with focus on the shareholders’ interests. But how is the governance cascaded down to the non-C-level layers of the organisation?

Project Governance
Project Governance Main Areas

The Promise of Governance

More than 10 years ago, I was leading a team of project managers, business analysts, and software developers when a group of consultants gave us a presentation about IT governance—more specifically about the COBIT framework (2012). It was full of meaningful and inspiring ideas. That framework would provide us with a set of good practices to help us in linking business goals to IT goals. It would include ways to control our work and to assess and improve our maturity. It would even define responsibilities for process owners within both IT and the business. They had a perfect sales pitch! Nevertheless, after we signed the check, it took us a while to learn how much time, focus, effort, and executive support those beautiful ideas would require from us before becoming something operational.

A couple of years later, I was working more focused on project portfolio management and project governance. I noticed that both project governance and IT governance have similar objectives in terms of making IT and project management serve the business in a more strategic and effective way. Therefore, the importance of project governance to make project, program, and portfolio management successful became gradually clearer to me.

The Connection between Governance and Effectiveness

I started to find links between the ineffectiveness of governance and the widely known issue of projects failing in large numbers across multiple market sectors. Everywhere, we could hear about deliverables being rejected by clients, milestones being missed, project outputs being never used by the business, budgets being suddenly cut down, project managers not being involved at all with benefit realisation, etc. At that time, business managers did not care too much about ROI or benefit realisation, and we could see project management executives just wanting their clients to request more and more projects, so that their teams would have work to do.

Fortunately, over the last decade, the project management profession has been changing quickly towards making project, program, and portfolio management more effective in delivering strategic value to organisations. It happened mainly because organisations need project portfolios to be more effective in creating strategic value to thrive in a very competitive market. Evidence of benefits realisation management and project governance improving the probability of strategic project success has been found by my academic research (Serra, 2012) and by a few other non-anecdotal publications that are based on reliable research. In such an environment, professional associations such as PMI (PMI, 2016) and the British APM (APM, 2014) have been investing heavy efforts in the development, improvement, and dissemination of good practices related to governance and also to benefits management. Therefore, this change of scenario has gradually made clearer to practitioners that the link between business goals and project goals is a critical success factor (CSF) for projects, programs, and portfolios, and is consequently a CSF for strategy execution.

Project and IT Governance Together

As happens with IT governance, the successful implementation of project governance requires a lot of time, focus, effort, and executive support too, and it is surrounded by dos and don’ts. In this scenario, project portfolio management and benefits realisation management are toolsets that support effective governance. Therefore, both sets of practices are significantly important to ensure that portfolios of projects and programs are successful in the creation of meaningful and strategically aligned value to the organisations.

If you want to hear more about project governance and learn some practical aspects and critical success factors for its implementation, join us in the ITMPI webinar Project Portfolio Governance: Providing steer for the creation of strategic value to the business on September 28, 2017.


Serra, C. E. (2012). The influence of Benefits Realisation Management on the success of projects in Brazil, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. London: Association for Project Management. Available on September 3rd 2017 from

PMI (2016). Governance of Portfolios, Programs, and Projects: A Practice Guide. Project Management Institute. Available on September 3rd 2017 from

APM (2014). Directing Change – a guide to governance of project management. London: Association for Project Management. Available on September 3rd 2017 from

ISACA (2012).COBIT 5: A Business Framework for the Governance and Management of Enterprise IT. Rolling Meadows, IL: Information Systems Audit and Control Association. Available on September 3rd 2017 from


This article was first published at the IT Governance Journal website and at the Accelerating IT Success website, on 19th September 2017.

More on project governance, benefits realisation and project portfolio management is available in the book ‘Benefits Realization Management: Strategic Value from Portfolios, Programs and Projects‘ from my authorship and published by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group) in September 2016.

How Can I Realize Benefits If I Don’t Manage Change?

Whenever we talk about benefits realization, we start from the idea that (we) project managers are always managing part of an organizational change. Such changes are expected to enable our organization to achieve at least a business objective that generates value. This whole process of getting from the current situation to the future improved or optimized situation is what we call a benefits realization lifecycle.

However, now and then people come to me in events and conferences saying, “But I don’t manage change at all. I just manage the production of deliverables that are requested and specified by other organizations. My projects deliver outputs to other entities (person, organization, etc.), and I am not aware of any benefits that may be expected from the utilization of those project outputs,” and then they usually ask, “So, how can I have any influence or participation in the management of benefits realization?”

That is when such generalization that has been created to make things simpler actually makes things more complicated to be understood by some people. At this point we may have project managers asking themselves if benefits realization really applies to each and every project, or even if by not managing change they can really consider themselves to be project managers.

The answers are yes, benefits realization does apply to each and every project, and yes—believe it or not—all project managers are managing part of a change process. Even when delivering products or services to an external client, the organization will be able to realize some measurable benefits such as increased market share, customer retention, and increased employee utilization, among others. In the same way, the projects are very likely to be helping the client to implement changes to their organization and then consequently realize benefits. The clients are expecting the investment made to generate some kind of benefit in return, although the project manager may not know what exactly they are expecting and the payment for the service might be the only benefit expected from the perspective of the organization that is delivering the project.

Let us go through an example. If the project is delivering software and the project team knows what benefit is expected from the utilization of the software that they are developing, it is much more likely that the team will work toward delivering a piece of software that can really enable the realization of such benefits. The team may even go further and build mechanisms into the system that will enable later tracking the benefits realization. The project team should be able to work with the client organization in some benefits realization management activities that are part of their benefits realization plan.

This approach is also very important in projects that are not delivering products, but rather services. Fields like consultancy, engineering, event management, research and development, and marketing usually have projects delivering services according to requirements. However, if the expected benefits are known by the project team, it is much more likely that the service provided will enable the realization of such benefits.

Therefore, firstly, managing projects is all about managing part of a change process, even if the change applies to an external client only. Secondly, even if a project delivers a product to another organization or person, the project team being aware of the desired benefits and being involved in the benefits realization process will make the project much more likely to succeed in enabling the realization of expected benefits and to be seen by the client as a success.


Carlos Serra will be presenting a free webinar with ITMPI on May 24! Sign up here: Benefits Identification and Tracking



This article was originally published at the website Accelerating IT Success, on 17th May 2017.

More on this topic is available in the book ‘Benefits Realization Management: Strategic Value from Portfolios, Programs and Projects‘ from my authorship and published by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group) in September 2016.


New Book | Benefits Realisation Management: Strategic Value from Portfolios, Programs, and Projects

My book has finally been released. That is quite exciting! Benefits Realization Management: Strategic Value from Portfolios, Programs, and Projects is the result of around five years of work. It started as part of my award winning research on the subject at the University of Warwick. After the conclusion of my research, it has gradually evolved to become a comprehensive collection of best practices compiled in 276 pages. More than only theory, it includes an easy-to-use set of templates, an illustrative case study and more.

I had the honour to have the book revised and edited by John Wyzalek and Dr Ginger Levin, and then published by CRC Press as part of the series Best Practices and Advances in Program Management.

The Subject

As the title clearly states, the book is about Benefits Realization Management (BRM), which is a key part of governance. BRM is a set of processes, tools and techniques. It supports the strategic creation of value for organisations. It provides also the correct level of prioritisation and executive support to ensure the success of the correct set of investment initiatives. Because of its relevance to the governance process, research identified BRM practices having a strong influence over project success. It has been also identified as a link between strategic planning and strategy execution.

The value for practitioners

This book guides portfolio, program, and project managers through the process of benefits realisation management so they can maximize the creation of value to the business. It discusses why and how programs and projects are expected to enable value creation, and it explains the role of BRM in value creation. The book provides a flexible framework for:

  • Translating business strategy drivers into expected benefits;
  • Composing a program and project portfolio that can realise expected benefits;
  • Planning the benefits realisation expected from programs and projects and then making it happen;
  • Keeping programs and projects on track, so that they enable the realisation of the expected benefits;
  • Reviewing and evaluating the benefits achieved or expected against the original baselines and the current expectations.

The value for business managers

The book is not only designed to help project, program, and portfolio managers on their BRM journey, but also to support business managers in successfully executing business strategies. It explains the links built by the BRM techniques between business strategy and project, programme and portfolio management that enable more efficient and effective strategy execution.

In order to support the development of an organisational structure that supports an effective BRM process, the book identifies key organisational responsibilities and roles involved in BRM practices, and it provides a simple reference that can be mapped against any organisational structure.

How-to guide with examples and templates

A detailed and comprehensive case study illustrates each phase of the BRM framework as it links business strategy to project work, benefits, and business value. It makes easier to both students and practitioners to understand how the techniques that are mentioned in the book can be applied in an organisational environment.

Each chapter ends with a series of questions that provide a BRM self-assessment. The book also recommends additional bibliography to support further learning about each chapter. The book concludes with a set of 19 templates and detailed instructions to ensure successful deployment of the BRM tools and techniques.

Experience of research?

Interestingly, a couple of weeks ago, as soon as I started spreading the news about the publication, a friend asked me if the book was result of experience or fully based on research. That is a very relevant question that I answer in the preface. Briefly speaking, the book is a result of over 16 years’ experience as a practitioner combined with several years of academic research.

Although the book focuses on explaining how to implement and how to utilise good practices that have been developed and employed by practitioners all around the world, an academic component comes into place to provide the background, rationale and sometimes evidence of the effectiveness of such practices. Since several academics around the world have been developing new techniques and studying the application of good practices, it is important to take their findings into consideration when assessing the relevance and effectiveness of each practice. This approach reassures the value of practices described in the book.

Therefore, the practices and templates mentioned in the book are the result of a combination of a lot experience with a lot of research.

Where to find the book?

The book has been published by CRC Press (a member of the Taylor & Francis Group) and has been distributed worldwide. The CRC Press online store ships the book to any country for free. You can also find the book in several other stores (e.g. The electronic version is going to be released soon, so watch this space.

Now, why don’t you find out more about the book by following one of these this links to the CRC Press Online Store or to the Amazon online store? I hope you enjoy it.


This same post is available on LinkedIn pulse: New Book | Benefits Realisation Management: Strategic Value from Portfolios, Programs, and Projects

Benefits realisation management and strategy execution

Introduction – context for benefits realisation

Over the last few decades, organisations have gradually developed a general understanding that all projects are investments (mainly in organisational change) and consequently the potential realisation of expected/desired benefits have been increasingly recognised as the main driver for organisations in making their investment decisions.

Therefore, from an investment perspective, we clearly see the relationship between project success and benefits realisation. In other words, a project succeeds when the benefits expected from the investment made are realised. That makes a lot of sense in a world that is mainly profit oriented, where the goals are to maximise efficiency, effectiveness and therefore return on investment.

In the past, projects had their success directly related to the delivery of outputs, which do not guarantee any return on investment and consequently may not link back to the benefits case (which, in the early days of the project lifecycle, had supported the investment decision). It is encouraging to see that organisations are becoming more mature in making investment decisions. However, the revolution needs support.

Researchers and practitioners have been employing a number of techniques –old and new– to manage the journey from the business case to the full realisation of the expected benefits. The management of such journey has been found to be a strong driver for project success from a strategic perspective (Serra & Kunc, 2015). Contributions has been developed around benefits realisation management – that is also called benefits management– which is a relatively new area of knowledge directly linked to project management but it has its roots into operations management and business strategic management.

Programme and project success leads to business success

Although there are contributions towards being more successful in managing programmes and projects, not so much progress has been made in linking these benefits realisation management practices to the execution of business strategies and, in consequence, to the success of the organisation in achieving its goals. If we consider programmes and projects to be investments, the success of an organisation depends on how well their programmes and projects will enable the realisation of any expected benefits, because this is going to tell us if the investment was worth or not.

Thus, benefits realisation management can be applied not only to ensure that individual programmes and projects deliver the enablers for the realisation of desired benefits, but on a more strategic level to ensure that the organisation generates the value that has been planned as its main strategic goal.

Benefits realisation management supporting business success

Based on the above ideas, we believe benefits realisation management can be employed to support the strategy execution and ensure the achievement of strategic goals. To do so, as a starting point, a number of organisations have developed and implemented an enterprise level benefits realisation framework that standardises the processes, tools and approach for benefits realisation. The framework enables the organisation to manage the variety of benefits that are expected to be enabled by all its programmes and projects in a standard and centralised way. The framework enables organisations also to produce an enterprise level benefits realisation strategy, which guides the selection and prioritisation of programmes and project according with the overall business strategy.

More than that, by having such type of frameworks and strategies in place, organisations can more easily integrate the management of their investments in organisational change – projects and programmes – to the management of their operations – or business as usual. This creates strong and clear links that enable full control over the process of delivering change as part of programme and projects, and then later realising benefits as part of day-to-day business operations.

By having such processes in place, organisations can also be able to use sophisticated decision making support systems (based on proven decision analytics tools) to provide better options regarding the portfolio of in-flight investments. The logic for the decision making support systems can be easily derived from the benefits realisation strategy. With this kind of tool in place, decisions to stop a project or to change the delivery approach (prioritisation) in order to maximise the benefits to be achieved can be made more easily once it is supported by structured information and timely warnings.


The old focus about delivering projects on time and budget as the main success criteria for investments in projects has to change to a focus of realising benefits that justify the investment on the project. This approach is supported by a series of frameworks, tools and techniques that enable organisations to manage benefits realisation at programme and project level. We expect the approach to keep evolving into an even more strategic focus on managing the creation of value to the organisation through comprehensive project management, which integrates portfolio management, programme management and project management with operations in order to ensure success in the execution of business strategies.

Authors: Carlos Eduardo Martins Serra, MSc, PMP; Martin Kunc, PhD

Post 8 - PMI UKImportant note: This article was originally published by PMI UK at the June 2016 edition of its newsletter and has been republished here in full with authorisation from the PMI UK Communications Director.


Carlos SerraCarlos Serra is a certified PMP (PMI), APMP (APM) and Prince2 Practitioner, holding an MSc degree in programme and project management (University of Warwick) and a BSc degree in production engineering (CEFET-RJ/Brazil). Since 1999, he has been working in project management across a variety of market sectors, countries and roles. On the academic side, he has designed and delivered project management lectures and presentations for MBA programmes, conferences and training courses, written articles, won academic and professional awards and worked as a journal reviewer. His book about Organizational Benefits Realisation Management will be launched in the next few months by CRC Press.


Martin KuncDr Martin Kunc is Associate Professor in Management Science at Warwick Business School and has a PhD in Decision Science from London Business School. His research interests are in the area of strategic planning, systems modelling and managerial decision making. He has published more than 25 articles in diverse journals such as Strategic Management Journal and Management Decision. He has performed consulting projects in diverse industries in strategic management issues.


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Enterprise Benefits Realization Strategy: laying the foundations to maximize return on investment

When in high school I first heard about a cost-benefit analysis, it made a lot of sense to me that every investment (i.e. cost) made by a person or organization is expected to generate some type of return (i.e. benefit). That was probably the first time when I understood benefits in a logical and mathematical sense rather than in a generic and intangible way.

Later on, as a project planner, I developed an even better understanding that a project is an investment that is usually subject to some type of feasibility assessment, where the benefit-cost ratio is expected to be as greater than 1 as possible. This means the project is being expected to generate financial benefits that are as much greater than the costs as possible. The result of this type of analysis along with an assessment of the strategic alignment of the initiative is what drives organizations to make investment decisions.

Nevertheless, later working as a project manager, I learnt that a lot of the logical rationale that sponsors and business analysts develop to support the business case (or benefits case) in driving the investment decision might not be exactly what we are going to experience in reality. From a project manager’s perspective, this could be (erroneously) considered something acceptable that does not require any further actions by having in mind that project managers are unlikely to be around when benefits are realized, since project products have already been delivered and then the responsibility to make benefits happen has been passed across to someone else who is outside of the project organization. Although it doesn’t sound fair, in reality project managers are most times not responsible for realizing any benefits, which makes sense since benefits are realized mostly after project closure.

Therefore, we have gotten to a challenging scenario where project managers deliver products while organizations are actually expecting benefits to be realized, whereas investors are expecting organizations to generate profit. In this scenario, who tracks the benefits all across the entire lifecycle of the project products to make sure they really happen as planned?

Years later, by leading a business processes and business performance management team, I realized how important it is for an organization to have someone monitoring the performance of their key value-adding processes and also tracking the real impacts (benefits) of any investment initiatives (projects) on the performance baselines. This is really crucial and can be done by a number of organizational roles, for example by a business process owner, by a project-sponsoring function, or by a (sometimes independent and cross-functional) business process management or business performance management department.

If we understand the business strategy as a plan that drives the changes to the existing organizational environment towards the achievement of business process performance targets by creating new capabilities or by improving existing ones, we easily identify the need for a strong alignment between project delivery and business-as-usual (BAU) operations in order to be successful in implementing the business strategies.

Over the last decade, while working with a number of portfolio level PMOs, it has become even clearer to me how valuable for an organization it can be to have in place strategic or tactical PMOs. Such PMOs provide support to the project portfolio on the alignment between BAU, strategy, and project delivery in realizing benefits during the program/project lifecycles and consequently in handing over this responsibility to another organizational role that will track business process performance and benefits in BAU. I also realized how challenging this task can be if not well framed by an overall strategy that guides the straight alignment between the roles and processes mentioned here.

Based on the scenario described above, we can highlight three key groups of roles that are expected to work together in order to maximize return on investment. These are related to: ( 1) benefits realization governance, (2) program and project delivery, and (3) benefits ownership.

Key roles
Key groups of roles for Enterprise Benefits Realization Management

That is where an Enterprise Benefits Realization Strategy comes into place. In addition to clarifying the set of processes and tools to be employed for benefits realization management, it provides a clear pathway for the organization to get from the design of a variety of strategic initiatives to the actual achievement of strategic goals. It translates the value of each initiative into tangible and measurable indicators that enable PMOs and business process management departments or business performance management departments to work in alignment to support projects and regular operations (BAU) in executing the business strategy, and then in delivering value to shareholders and any other key stakeholders.



This article was originally published at the website Accelerating IT Success, on 27th May 2016.

Learn more about this topic by watching the webinar Implementing an Enterprise Benefits Realization Management Strategy, to be released on 2nd June 2016.

More on this topic will be also available in a book from the same author to be released in the third quarter of 2016.

Benefits Realisation Management explained in simple terms

I recently experienced an award-winning project manager summarising my presentation about Benefits Realisation Management and Project Success at the PMI Global Congress EMEA (May/2015) in a way that is probably better than I would do. Elizabeth Harrin has cleverly split the first half of my presentation into 4 parts, which in my view has made it quite an easy and enjoyable reading. Although I saw the posts only after they went live at PMI’s networking website/community, I felt very glad and really liked her initiative.

My presentation was a revised version of the webinar Benefits Realization Management and Project Success (originally presented to the PMI Organisation Project Management Community of Practice), which I expanded with additional information from recent research findings. Its first half, summarised in the four posts, gives a brief overview of Benefits Realisation Management.

The first part is an introduction to benefits management (Benefits Realisation: The Basics Explained, @The Money Files), where she explains that benefits are generated from change that takes place to move the business from a current state to a future desired state – or ‘Vision’. She presents a nice handmade drawing that is her redraw of a picture from one of my research articles published by the International Journal of Project Management (Filling the value gap, adapted from Serra & Kunc, 2015).


Filling the value gap
Filling the value gap

Then, the post explains the meaning of ‘to realise’, as ‘causing something to happen’, ‘making people aware of that’ and ‘making money from that’. It also notes the translation issues that may happen when the term is used in other languages. It also presents my explanation that in simple terms “Benefits realisation is a process to make benefits happen and also to make people fully aware of them throughout the entire process.”

Note that ‘Benefits management: Lost or found in translation’, which is a comprehensive analysis of the spread of benefits management around the world and across different languages, was recently published by Richard Breese, Steve Jenner, John Thorp and me (Breese et al., 2015).

The post concludes by explaining benefits realisation management as a process that involves several different roles in an organisation and that starts before the beginning of a project lifecycle and goes well beyond its end.

The second post presents tools and roles for benefits realisation management (Tools and Roles for Benefits Realisation Management, @The Money Files). It notes the complexity that exists around benefits realisation management (BRM) – that’s maybe why organisations are increasingly hiring specialist in this area. Then, a list of BRM tools is presented and each tool is briefly described. I really liked the way she added her views on top of a summary of my comments about each tool. After that, she presents the three main groups of roles that I employed to classify the different perspectives involved in the benefits realisation process – which is aligned to the brilliant model proposed by Zwikael and Smyrk (2011).

The third post (How can benefits realisation be managed?, @The Money Files) talks about the journey from the delivery of project outputs to the achievement of organisational strategic objectives. The relationship between the steps of this process is illustrated by another very nice handmade drawing that redraws another picture from my research article (Benefits Dependency Network, adapted from Serra & Kunc, 2015). She explains that the groups of processes to manage such journey can be split into planning benefits, reviewing and measuring benefits and then realising benefits, all these aligned by an organisational benefits realisation management strategy.

Benefits Dependency Network
Benefits Dependency Network

The fourth and last post of the series, focus on the effective utilisation of benefits realisation management by an organisation (5 Barriers to Effective Benefits Realisation Management?, @The Money Files). It explains the 5 key points found by my research, which are:

  • Levels of organisational competence in the technical skills required by benefits realisation management.
  • Organisational culture around project success and strategic management.
  • Integration between business processes and departments and/or functions.
  • Specific processes for benefits realisation management, especially when projects deliver to customers that are external to the organisation.
  • Benefits realisation strategies on corporate level covering the entire benefits realisation lifecycle.

These five are published in several places and I repeated a number of times in interviews and presentations. But, a couple of weeks ago, colleague asked my opinion about the really key tips for an organisation to success in benefits realisation management – it had to be something new, from my experience. After a minute of reflection, I shared my view of two very important aspects to ensure not only success in benefits realisation management, but business success:

  • Manage your business as a business has to be managed: have a clearly defined business strategy and manage the execution of your strategy. Know the objectives that each of your initiatives (investments) aim to support the achievement.
  • Know your processes and control your performance: have a clearly defined business model (and if possible a value chain) so that you know which processes generate value to your business and then you can manage their performance. Only by managing the performance of your processes you can really enhance it.

These two sound much more as a recommendation to business leaders than to project managers. That is maybe because much more than influencing project success, benefits realisation management influences strategic project success and the creation of value to the business (Serra & Kunc, 2013; Serra & Kunc, 2015).

I hope you like this post. If you have further interest in this subject, I recommend you to have a read at Elizabeth Harrin’s posts – they are very good.

Stakeholders Analysis: Power/Influence-Interest Matrix

A colleague of mine recently commented to me about the challenge of creating a management plan for a large group of stakeholders. I found this a very interesting situation, so I decided to share my suggestion here on this blog, because others may have the same question in mind.

A stakeholder management plan combines various elements, among them the definition, identification and analysis of the project or programme stakeholders as well as a plan of actions to managing them. Some plans are limited to identifying individuals, we can not call this document as a plan without having any actions defined but, I think.

Basically, with a large number of stakeholders, the analysis is somewhat scary, in the first instance. Then you need to somehow group these stakeholders and also combine the actions associated with their management by types. The standardization of actions will reduce the effort required to manage a very large group of individuals.

There are some models to help on this, but I’ll focus on a simple one and in some further developments made over its basic idea.

A widely used model (which is perhaps the most famous one) is the analysis of power and interest (Mendelow’s matrix). The analysis of power and Interest divides your stakeholders into four groups. The model recommends a specific type of treatment for each of these groups.

After having classified the stakeholders and populated the matrix, you will define in your stakeholder management plan as a series of actions that will materialize the type of treatment recommended for the group. Most of these actions you will be later better described or broken down in your communication plan.

Similar to this model, there is the model of Power and Influence, which basically works the same way, but replaces Interest with Influence.

There is also another model that combines Power and Influence in the same column and analyzes Interest separately (Eden and Ackermann, 1998).

Stakeholders Analysys

Starting from these models, you can add other intra-group prioritization criteria, if it seem appropriate. The most important thing is that depending on the analysis criteria, as suggested by the models above, you use 4, 6 or any other number of standard treatment types to define in general terms how you intend to deal with each group of individuals. The important thing is to adopt a model and use a standard set of criteria to classify stakeholders.

The next step will be describing the actions proposed for the management of each group in the document management plan stakeholders. And the last, and perhaps most important, step is to add these actions to the communications plan and consequently the project schedule (because that’s where they will end up being tracked in practice).

Benefits Realisation Management and project success: new research article (International Journal of Project Management)

Benefits Realisation Management (also known as Project Benefits Management or Benefits Management) has been under the spotlights in the Project Management community in these last years. The ‘new’ discipline has been increasingly studied and employed by organisations and practitioners as a set of processes which can ensure the execution of business strategies and creation of value, through the delivery and embedment of programme and project requirements into the day-to-day business.

About three years ago, I started a Masters in Programme and Project Management at the WMG – University of Warwick (UK) aiming to identify if Benefits Management could be a missing link between Project Management and Business Strategies. The impact of governance in project success was an issue that I had observed several times in the previous 12 years of my career in Project Management, but I had never had enough time to investigate the issue in more depth. Then, as part of my Masters research and having the support from several organisations and professionals, such as PMI and APM-UK, I gathered over 300 responses to my questionnaires. A set of statistical models helped me to identify the impact of these practices on different perspectives of project success. The results from my research are then an evidence of how much these practices can influence project success from a strategic perspective by ensuring that projects deliver the expected and strategically aligned value to the business.

In 2012, I produced a research paper, which was awarded with the Postgraduate Student Award 2012 by the Benefits Management SIG of the Association for Project Management (APM web page about the award). I also submitted my results to the Project Management Institute (PMI), as a participant of its survey programme.

After further refinement of the analysis, Dr Martin Kunc (Warwick Business School) and I worked on an academic research article which was peer reviewed and recently accepted for publication by the International Journal of Project Management. Although the article is still queuing for publication in paper, it is already available for download from the publisher’s website.

In case you have interest in this subject, the full research article is freely available for download from the links below:

Benefits Realisation Management and its influence on project success and on the execution of business strategies (download from Warwick University WRAP)

My previous outcomes of the same research are still freely available for download from the link below:

Benefits Realization Management and its influence on project success, project governance, and execution of business strategy – Analysis of Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America (download from PMI website)

The influence of Benefits Realisation Management on the success of projects in Brazil, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (download from APM website), winner of the Postgraduate Student Award 2012, from the Benefits Management SIG of the Association for Project Management.

Any comments or views are very welcome.

MSc in PPM at the University of Warwick

Several friends and colleagues ask me about my experience doing a Masters in Programme and Project Management at the University of Warwick, in the UK. They want to know about the university and the classes, but also about the routine, challenges, benefits and lots of other things.

It may be because in 2011, having around 12 years of work experience, I decided to leave Brazil and my job in the sunny and warm Rio de Janeiro to start “an adventure” in the cold and grey other side of the Atlantic in search of personal and professional development.

At the end of one year full of hard work, the “adventure” has proven to be actually an amazing multi-cultural learning experience. My MSc in PPM at the University of Warwick has certainly worth the investment and all the effort.Warwick 1

In order make my experience available to much more people, I have given a set of interviews to the Universia Blog, in 2012. They are still available online. So, in case you also want to know about my experience, please visit the links below:

Studying at the University of Warwick (UK) Part- 1 – Universia Blog

Studying at the University of Warwick (UK) Part- 2 – Universia Blog

Studying at the University of Warwick (UK) Part- 3 – Universia Blog

I have also given an interview about the same topic to the alumni profile section of the WMG website, which you can also have access by visiting the link below:

Carlos Serra – Alumni Profile – WMG Website

I hope you enjoy the reading and find the information useful. Who knows if it can perhaps motivate someone else to get into a similar “adventure”?


Some of our Project Management topics

As discussed in our previous post, projects and programmes have been employed for thousands of years to manage the execution of business strategies. More recently, perhaps in the last half century these have been increasingly recognised as the best way to do that. With greater relevance, new techniques are constantly being created and new areas of knowledge being discovered or better exploited in order to improve our capabilities to achieve success. The discussion of the following key Project Management subjects will help us to increasingly embark on this journey to a projectized world.

Benefits Realisation Management:

Benefits realisation management ensures projects and programmes delivering the outcomes required by the organisation’s business strategy. More than that, it also ensures the continuous control of these outcomes ensuring the embedment into the business routine.

Project Portfolio Management:

Project portfolio management ensures the strategic effectiveness of the organisation’s projects, by applying the best practices in areas such as project selection, evaluation, prioritisation and control.

Project and Programme Management Office:

Project and Programme Management Offices can be designed in different ways to ensure the successful execution of the organisation’s projects and programmes. They can vary from a repository of best practices and project knowledge to a centre of excellence, which creates methodologies and manages projects and programmes. The more suitable model depends on several factors such as the current business model and objectives.

Project and Programme Management:

Project and programme management are sets of techniques employed to ensure the delivery of non-routine business needs on a manageable and successful way. Allied to Business Performance Management, these techniques set the path for the effective execution of business strategies.

Project Management keywords