A Systems Thinking Approach to Benefits Realization Planning

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Organizations almost invariably do a poor job with Benefits Realization.

The Sponsor fails to take accountability for benefits after the project delivers, there's a failure to effectively plan for and agree on measurements of success, or underinvestment in organizational change management to ensure successful transition into BAU.

Learn how to use Systems Thinking to overcome these common problems.


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A Systems Thinking Approach to Benefits Realization Planning

  1. 1. • Sponsor fails to take accountability for benefits after project delivers. • Failure to effectively plan for and agree on measurements of success. • Underestimation of organizational change management to ensure successful transition into BAU. Organizations almost invariably do a poor job with Benefits Realization Systems Thinking in IT
  2. 2. 1. How do the outcomes of the project interact with each other? 2. How do the outcomes of the project change over time? 3. What can be done to sustain the benefits after the project has delivered? What questions can be asked to obviate these common problems? 2
  3. 3. Systems Thinking provides a way to address these questions through modeling and simulation 3
  4. 4. Website and eServices resurrection project: A Case Study Context • A services company must uplift its website addressing: look and feel, navigation, information architecture and aging portfolio of eServices. • A website project is launched and objectives, scope and outcomes are defined. 4
  5. 5. Improve Website Look and-Feel Improve Information Architecture Offer new / Improved eServices Key program deliverables 5 The Website Project has 3 key deliverables 1 2 3
  6. 6. Reduce bounce rate / drop-offs Improve Website Look and-Feel Improve Information Architecture Offer new / Improved eServices Measurable primary outcomes Key program deliverables Reduce phone calls to Service Centre New Website / Services Reduce manual payments 6 Which deliver 4 primary outcomes 1 2 3 4
  7. 7. Reduce bounce rate / drop-offs Increase satisfaction / confidence levels Increase visitors / traffic new and existing Increase online payments Improve Website Look and-Feel Improve Information Architecture Offer new / Improved eServices Measurable primary outcomes Key program deliverables Reduce phone calls to Service Centre Measurable secondary outcomes New Website / Services Increase uptake of eServices Specific Business Cases (2,3,4)* Reduce manual payments 7 Which deliver 4 secondary outcomes 1 2 3 4
  8. 8. Reduce bounce rate / drop-offs Increase satisfaction / confidence levels Increase online payments Improve Website Look and-Feel Improve Information Architecture Offer new / Improved eServices Reduce phone calls to Service Centre + + + New Website / Services Increase uptake of eServices + + Reduce manual payments + + + 8 Which produce 5 virtuous loops + + Increase visitors / traffic new and existing 1 2 3 4 5 Measurable primary outcomes Key program deliverables Measurable secondary outcomes
  9. 9. + + Increase online payments Increase uptake of eServices 1 Increase Uptake of eServices has a positive effect on Increase Online Payments and vice versa 9
  10. 10. Increase Online Payments has a positive effect on Increase Visitors / Traffic and vice versa + + 2 Increase online payments Increase visitors / traffic new and existing 10
  11. 11. 11 Increase satisfaction / confidence levels Increase online payments + + 3 Increase Online Payments has a positive effect on Increase Satisfaction / Confidence Levels and vice versa
  12. 12. 12 Increase satisfaction / confidence levels + + Increase visitors / traffic new and existing 4 Increase Visitors / Traffic has a positive effect on Increase Satisfaction / Confidence Levels and vice versa
  13. 13. 13 Increase satisfaction / confidence levels + Increase uptake of eServices + 5 Increase Satisfaction / Confidence Levels has a positive effect on Increase Uptake of eServices and vice versa
  14. 14. 1. How do the outcomes of the project interact with each other? 2. How do the outcomes of the project change over time? 3. What can be done to sustain the benefits after the project has delivered? Using a Systems Thinking approach the first question was answered in a the primary to secondary relationship (or cause and effect) 14
  15. 15. Death Spiral How do the outcomes of the project change over time? The threat is Death Spiral it happens when the limit of benefit 1 or 2 is reached or exceeded. What starts out as a virtuous loop eventually kills the party. It’s just a question of time and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, the project will have delivered long ago (warning it’s a myopic view). But getting back to our opening challenges, we need a way to sustain the benefits… Benefit 2 Benefit 1 Limit 15
  16. 16. 1. How do the outcomes of your project interact with each other? 2. How do the outcomes of your project change over time? 3. What can be done to sustain the benefits after the project has delivered? Using a Systems Thinking approach the second question was answered in a primary to secondary relationship with a limit over a period of time 16
  17. 17. Manage bounce rate / drop-offs Increase satisfaction / confidence levels Increase online payments Maintain Website Look and-Feel Maintain Information Architecture Offer New / Improved eServices Reduce phone calls to Service Centre + + + Manage Website / Services Increase uptake of eServices + + Reduce manual payments + + + 17 Sustaining Benefits + + Increase visitors / traffic new and existing This model employs a strategy of maintaining and managing in overcoming death spirals and waning benefits over time
  18. 18. What are the implications of sustaining benefits? • The Project Manager must hand-over a long-term strategy or roadmap for business development of the asset. • The Sponsor of the project must accept the strategy and the accountability for overseeing its fulfilment. • Key Performance Indicators and measurements of future success must be applied in accordance with the strategy. • Continual improvement such Deming’s Plan, Do, Check, Act must be used to keep on top of the roadmap. • A thorough understanding of the website and eServices history should be acquired. 18
  19. 19. 1. How do the outcomes of your project interact with each other? 2. How do the outcomes of your project change over time? 3. What can be done to sustain the benefits after the project has delivered? Using a Systems Thinking approach we answered the third question with a strategy to maintain and manage the outcomes into BAU and beyond 19
  20. 20. 20 What changed? Instead of taking the myopic view of not seeing past the project closing report, a Systems Thinking approach was used to model and simulate the benefits well past service transition and into BAU.
  21. 21. 21 • The Sponsor would be more likely to take accountability for benefits after the project delivers. • More effective planning and modeling of measurements of success well into the future. • Facilitation of a smooth and successful transition into BAU. • No Ajax required  Conclusions Systems Thinking in IT Visit http://vanwood.net/blog

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