Creating a benefits realisation culture

Nykredit and Implement Consulting Group

5 April 2018

Make benefits realisation the main focus of projects to realise the full potential

The benefits of Nykredit Retail’s project portfolio were uncertain. Top-line growth was driven by higher fees, while the projects that were to develop the company did not contribute. As a consequence of this, Nykredit Retail created a project culture with focus on value creation and doubled the realised benefits – with fewer project deliverables.

Uncertainty about benefits realisation

Nykredit Retail (Nykredit) was part of the vast majority of organisations that did not work with benefits realisation of projects in a structured manner. The actual benefits realised in Nykredit were uncertain, and thus the company became part of the statistics where no more than 25-40% of the benefits potential are realised – and in some cases, nothing at all*. The lack of structure was particularly evident as Nykredit only mapped the first and the final steps of the benefits realisation process. Everything in-between was a “black box”.

The "Black Box" of benefits realisation

The benefits realisation process sheds light on this “black box” by demonstrating the cause and effect relationship between deliverables, competence development, behavioural change, benefits realisation and the purpose of the project.

When Nykredit as well as many other organisations move directly from purpose to deliverables, it means that:

  • The benefits are rarely clearly defined, and it is therefore not possible to follow up on them.
  • It is unclear what change in behaviour is needed to realise the benefits.
  • Deliverables that do not contribute to the realisation of benefits are produced.

In Nykredit’s case, the dialogue in both projects and steering committees did not focus on benefits, but rather on deliverables and issue handling.

The benefits of our projects were unclear, because we went directly from purpose to deliverables.

Carsten Kruse, Director, Nykredit

A shared view on value creation

Nykredit took its first major step towards the realisation of project benefits by creating a shared view of the value creation. This was done by opening “the black box” and exposing the content of the benefits realisation process, which made it clear that it was the change in behaviour in the business and not in the deliverables that were the drivers of the projects’ benefits realisation.

The Benefits realisation process

This shared view on value creation provided the basis for the benefitsdriven business case, and at the same time it established the foundation of effective follow-up on benefits during and after the project.

To Nykredit, as well as to other organisations working with benefits realisation, it is first and foremost a change in mindset from production of deliverables to realisation of benefits. This is reflected, in particular, in the management of projects, where management is as least as focused on the realisation of new opportunities for realising benefits and of behavioural change as on classic delivery and supplier management.

The project benefits are realised and sometimes even more. Our benefits realisation has doubled.

Carsten Kruse, Director, Nykredit

Benefits realisation and implementation

Even though Nykredit succeeded in changing its mindset, it is important to stress that this does not mean that the existing project foundation should be discarded. Benefits realisation is based on classic project management (the upper part of the circle) and is a supplement to classic portfolio management governance and, not least, project culture.

We are much more clear about the content of our projects. The dialogue in the steering committee is now centred on benefits realisation.

Carsten Kruse, Director, Nykredit

Realisation of the benefits potential

Since the implementation of the benefits realisation process, Nykredit has doubled its benefits realisation. In addition, the method has created transparency and credibility in terms of realising the benefits on which the strategy is built, which has given the organisation a much clearer view of what is important and why.

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