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Who Really Benefits?
Value is in the eye of the stakeholder!

Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.
Albert Einstein

Keywords: Benefits realization, Value, Governance. 

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Who Really Benefits?  Value is in the eye of the stakeholder!   [P169]

The only purpose of undertaking any business activity is to create value! But the realisation of any value proposition is ‘in the eye of the stakeholder’ and effective benefits management requires a clear understanding of what is valuable to the organisation and its stakeholders. Some projects generate significant intangible benefits such as reduced risk, enhanced prestige or in the case of regulatory requirements, the simple ability to keep trading; others are focused on generating a positive financial return, most generate a combination of financial and intangible returns. These outcomes are rarely constrained by either time or cost, although both can be a factor.

Benefits realisation and value creation are directly linked to organisational governance, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance 2004 define governance as: ‘involving a set of relationships between a company’s management, its board, its shareholders and other stakeholders. Corporate governance also provides the structure through which the objectives of the company are set, and the means of attaining those objectives and monitoring performance are determined’.  Sir Adrian Cadbury summarised the aim of governance as: 'to align as
nearly as possible the interests of individuals, organisations and society'.

Within this framework 'value' has a wide range of definitions and because the value proposition is ‘in the eye of the stakeholder’ different stakeholders will value different aspects of the same project.  Effective value management requires an understanding of what is valuable to the organisation and its key stakeholders and then managing the overall 'value chain' to successfully deliver these values.

Generating sustainable value for an organisation’s stakeholders firstly requires the right projects to be done for the right reasons; and yes, they also need to be done right! Then the organisational change management processes need to ensure the deliverables are used in the right way to create the intended benefits and generate the expected value. Doing the wrong projects right helps no-one.

The management requirements to achieve these objectives are a value focused strategic plan linked to a sensible portfolio management process, supported by a practical 'project/value delivery capability'. However, the challenge at all stages of the value chain from the strategic planning phase through to realising the benefits from a specific project or program is knowing who is important at this point in time and what constitutes 'value' from their perspective -
value may be ‘in the eye of the stakeholder’ but you need to be sure you are listening to the right stakeholders and balancing their competing requirements effectively.

This paper focuses on techniques to understand which stakeholders really matter and discovering what is really important to them.  From this basis, a realistic and achievable benefits management plan can be crafted and monitored.

Author:  Patrick Weaver 

Presented at:

The Menzies, Sydney
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