6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Project Management Benefits Plan


I am starting a project of going through the 6th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide and blogging about its contents.    The 6th Edition was released on September 22nd by the Project Management Institute, and the first chapter is a general introduction to the framework in which project management exists, starting with section 1.2 Foundation Elements (section 1.1 describes the purpose of the Guide).

The section I am going over in this blog post is section 1.2.6 Project Management Business Documents.   These are two documents which are inputs into the first project management process 4.1 Project Charter.   If these are inputs into the first project management process that are created even before the project is initiated, then where do they come from?   They are actually outputs of Business Analysis, and so they are essentially the intersection between Business Analysis and Project Management.

The two project management business documents are:

  • Project business case–this is an economic feasibility study which demonstrates the benefits or business value to be created as a result of the project
  • Project benefits management plan–describes how the benefits created as a result of the project will be maintained after the project is done

In the last post, I discussed the project business case, which is a document that has been recommended by PMI before in previous editions of the Guide.   The new document for the 6th Edition is the project benefits management plan.    What is this document for?   What elements should be in it?   This post will answer those questions.

What is this document for?

The project business case is a document which demonstrates the benefits or business value that the project is designed to create.    The word “benefits” is a good one, but it may confuse people, because it sounds like the project management benefits plan is something that has to do with HR, like “how many days of sick leave do I get when I’m on the project?”

The project management benefits plan takes those benefits or business value that the project is designed to create and shows how it will be maintained after the project is done and the results of the project become part of the organization’s ongoing operations.  In other words, it is designed to make sure that the benefits of the project are made permanent, even though the project itself is a temporary one.

Here are the elements PMI proposes should be in the project management benefits plan:

  • Target benefits–what is the expected tangible and intangible value of the benefits
  • Strategic alignment–how do the benefits align with the business strategies of the organization
  • Timeframe for realizing benefits–short-term, long-term, ongoing, etc.
  • Benefits owner–who is assigned to monitor the realized benefits throughout the timeframe
  • Metrics–direct and indirect measures to show benefits realized
  • Assumptions–factors expected to be in place in order for benefits to be realized
  • Risks–what are the risks to the realization of benefits

Now, these documents which are created through the process of business analysis are then passed on to the project as inputs to the first project management process Develop Project Charter.

The last topic in this section on foundational elements of project management is that of project success measures, and that is the topic of the next post.

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