It’s all about impact: accelerated benefits from focussing on the change required
If you’ve delivered your project to scope, time, cost and quality, then it’s been a resounding success, right?
How often have you been on a project where the expectation was that by delivering some new system, methodology or process, great benefits would materialise?
Maybe it was a new performance management process that would improve employee performance? Or a new CRM system that was bound to drive sales?
Chances are, your experience says that the products or outputs of the project alone don’t trigger the desired benefits.
So, what’s missing?
From our perspective at Curium Solutions, something simple: impacts. Impacts are the changes, typically in behaviour, that need to be created to deliver benefits. As this diagram shows:
They’re the difference between delivering an output; and delivering an output that is used effectively by your intended audience.
So, how do you create impacts?
As you would, and likely do, for your projects outputs and benefits – plan them.
As part of your initiation and business impact assessment, exercises include the impacts as a key component of your workshops.
One of the key questions we ask our project teams is: “What do we need our audience to see, hear and feel when the output is delivered?”
In understanding what we require our audience to take away from our delivery, we can then actively work towards that being the case. This, alongside the hard tangibles, will significantly increase the chances of our benefits being delivered.
Here’s an example…
Our sponsor would like to reduce their costs by focusing on performance. They have asked the project team to deliver a performance management system.
|o Reduce costs||o Performance Management System|
If we didn’t focus on impacts the project might deliver a top of the range PMS to the organisation but could we be sure that it would reduce costs?
If it was replacing an old costly system, then perhaps. However, if the sponsor wanted to improve the performance of their staff, it is unlikely that it will.
So, in our sessions we ask the question? What would we see, hear and feel that will ultimately mean our audience will act differently? And based on that, what do we need to add to our scope to deliver them?
|o Reduce costs||o Better conversations (hear)
o Increased visibility of performance (see)
o Supported in my development (feel)
|o Performance Management System
o Difficult conversation training
o Framework for performance management that links with development activities
The above is a very basic BIO and it demonstrates that in most instances the scope of your project will grow as you focus on the impacts. However, with it your certainty regarding the benefit delivery will increase; something that your sponsor should treat like gold dust.
So, next time you’re setting up a project, remember that if you think about delivering a change rather than a product, you are more likely to deliver the benefits you and your sponsor are looking for.
Author: Rob McCracken