Project benefits and impacts measurement

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  • 1. Project benefits / impacts and their measurement Paul Mayes 16 th April 2010 http:// betterprojects.jiscinvolve.org /
  • 2.
    • Working definition is that a benefit is a positive type of impact
    • There can be negative impacts from a project, some predicted in a risk analysis (but offset against greater positive impacts) but some unexpected
  • 3.
    • What types of benefit are there?
    • ‘ Hard’ benefits:
    • H1 Production of material, software, services, processes, etc
    • H2 Improved collaboration
    • H3 Improved awareness of the ideas, concepts, materials, etc within the institution, the sector and other wider areas eg government or the general public
    • H4 Improved skills and attitudes of users, project team, institution staff, stakeholders and staff in sector
  • 4.
    • ‘ Soft’ / indirect benefits:
    • S1 Catalyst for change both in institution and wider
    • S2 Impact on professional or governmental views, actions or policies
    • S3 Improvement of image, standing or effectiveness of the funding body of the project
    • S4 Improvement of image, standing or effectiveness of the institution
    • S5 Improvement of image, standing or effectiveness of the project team
  • 5.
    • This approach assumes a large commitment by the project team to benefits / impact and their measurement
    • This will also be over a long period of time:
    • When a project idea originally occurs (this of course assumes that the project bid is not a kneejerk response to a funding call)
    • During the bid writing process
    • During the project implementation itself
    • For at least 5 years after the project finishes
  • 6.
    • Why are benefits (and their tracking or measurement) important?
    • In advance of the project:
    • List of possible benefits strengthens first draft of user engagement plan and helps form an evaluation/measurement approach
    • List of possible benefits strengthens the bid document by giving the funding body more assurance about the value to them of the project
    • List of possible benefits may strengthen buy-in within institution and encourage more/ better cooperation with partners/stakeholders outside the institution
    • During the project:
    • Part of good project management practice to achieve targets, milestones, etc
    • At end of project:
    • Clear approach to benefits/impacts strengthens final report (being slightly cynical here) Underpins better identification / ‘measurement of value’ as a framework for further areas of research and development
    • Provides a long-term and binding structure for sustaining the project outcomes
    • Will help develop an understanding of how the balance of investment can be adjusted to improve impact
  • 7.
    • Some practical steps for ‘benefits realisation’
    • Ensure that the project team is really aware of the commitment that will be needed before, during and after the project
    • Develop a community of practice inside and outside of the institution
    • Foster a climate of sustainability of the project outcomes
    • Really adopt a user engagement approach
  • 8.
    • Some examples of methods & tools for tracking or measurement
    • For
    • H1 User satisfaction measures
    • Usage data
    • H2 Before and after focus groups or other user engagement tools
    • H3 Awareness surveys
    • Tracking the use of project outcomes or mention of the project in conventional media (eg journals, newspapers), newer media (eg Twitter, blogs), conference mentions, etc
    • H4 Skills and attitude audits of users, staff, etc throughout the project and afterwards using a learning impact measurement framework such as that of Bersin & Associates (see article at http:// www.cedma - europe.org/newsletter%20articles/Clomedia/The%20Learning%20Impact%20M easurement%20Framework%20%28Nov%2006%29.pdf )
  • 9.
    • For
    • S1 A change assessment timeline started right from when the original idea of the for the project arose
    • S2 Tracking of evidence of awareness, use or mention of the project ideas
    • Soft surveying of professional or government staff
    • S3 Some quantitative data to give to funding body about the return on their investment in terms of mention of their name in the media, benefits to their other projects and evidence of change resulting from the project
    • S4 Some quantitative data to give to the institution in terms of enhancement of reputation, benefits to learning & teaching/research/BCE resulting from the project, etc
    • S5 Soft investigation of change of image / standing of project team
    • Hard measures such as increases in conference paper and publication acceptance, invitations of participate in activities or further funding obtained