What is "benefits realisation"?

benefits change leadership change management organisational change project management project success readiness Sep 06, 2022
Lata sitting at desk smiling; text: what is benefits realisation?

Contrary to popular opinion, Change Management is not fluff and fun.

I define Change Management really simply as: "Moving people from one way of thinking/feeling/doing to a new way of thinking/feeling/doing". But it's not just for the sake of "moving" people or making sure they feel supported and happy (we do that, too).


We invest so much time, effort and energy into Change because we want to realise the business benefits.


But "realising business benefits" is not a phrase you probably hear every day, so let's find out what it actually means.


Defining benefits realisation

Benefits realisation pretty much means: "Achieving the results in the short- and the long-term that you said that you would."

So both the short-term results – i.e. at launch or directly after launch.

But then the long-term results as well - the objectives in the business case that were the reason you originally wanted to do this change. And with these results, it's usually about tracking these benefits over time.


And that's where Change can really support a project and add something that usually gets missed. 

It's where we can add a lot of value...


How Change drives benefits realisation

Change often ends up holding the torch for benefits realisation because projects have a very strong reputation of:

  • launching and leaving
  • setting and forgetting
  • delivering and disappearing.

In other words, getting the "thing" (be it a new system, process, product, service, etc) out the door, into the business, and then walking away to start new projects.


I've worked on projects where I've literally left the project two weeks after we launched.

I know of projects where some of the project team were moving to new projects before their current one even launched!


Project delivery isn't how we measure success in Change Management. We're actually trying to get that valuable business outcome off the back of the "thing" that what was delivered.

The challenge is: the project often doesn’t hang around long enough to do that.


So it's up to Change to think about the benefits realisation approach (the ongoing activities and practices the business will need to do post-launch) to keep tracking whether they are receiving the short-term and long-term results they said they would.

And who knows - you might even have a Benefits Realisation Manager or Lead on your project or transformation whose sole focus is this. 

Because benefits realisation is a skill set in and of itself.

It's both a part of Change and can standalone to Change. 


But regardless whether it's being led by a Change specialist or a Benefits Realisation specialist - it's one of the most powerful ways to make the value of a project a reality.



How to measure change success is a question I get asked ALL. THE. TIME. That's why I spend a whole module of my Leading Successful Change program on it (FYI - it's Module 5: Measuring Success and Embed). If you want to learn how maximise benefits realisation in Change, come join us in LSC:


CLICK HERE to find out more about Leading Successful Change



Lata xx


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