A Guide To Benefits Mapping For Your Business

Have you ever been so engrossed in a project that you start wondering why exactly you are doing it? Unclear project goals can prevent project teams from being entirely certain about the purpose of a project.

Benefits mapping, also known as success mapping, brings clarity to your projects. It’s a fantastic way to visually represent your project goals in an easy-to-understand manner. This will enable your project teams to effortlessly track your progress, as the project moves along. This technique visually depicts the correlation between the project deliverables and the overall business objectives.

There are a variety of benefit mapping styles that project teams can choose to use. Many opt to draw up a customized graphical representation suited to their unique needs.

It must be noted that the visual representation of a benefits map is vital. The process of collecting the right information and people in order to reach the project’s goal is of equal importance.

In an ideal world, benefits mapping should take place prior to starting a project, specifically in the project conception and initiation phases. Benefits mapping is also very useful when a complicated project encounters some difficulties. This is more relevant when attempting to successfully implement changes to an organization that is resistant.

Why is Benefits Mapping Important?

Benefits mapping assists with linking projects, programs, and portfolios to the strategic objectives of an organization. It also helps to achieve the expected return on investment from each project. The visual element of benefits mapping displays the connection between project deliverables; new capabilities delivered by the current project; process changes that could potentially occur; and business outcomes.  

The beauty of benefits mapping is that it explores all enablers that lead to a project’s objective. It also shows both pros and cons of the project. This provides an accurate indication of the relative value of the project enablers.

Benefits mapping is important because it allows knowledge to be shared amongst management and project teams. It is easily understood due to the visual element, making it quick and easy to get authorization or approval for projects and tasks. It can also be effortlessly shared with the entire organization including all internal stakeholders.

Benefits mapping, enables project and program managers to highlight how and where their projects are delivering business benefits.

Advantages of Using Benefits Mapping

Benefits mapping accurately describes the goals of the project together with how those goals will be achieved. There are various advantages of this approach, mainly assisting with benefits planning and realization. It provides a deep understanding of what, how, and when business changes are expected to deliver business benefits.

This approach offers highly-effective project management analysis, creating a common understanding across different facets of the project. It also acts as a project blueprint that can be used as the foundation for creating a project plan. 

The mapping defines the criteria for ascertaining if a project is successful or not. In addition, it can be used throughout the lifecycle of the project to determine if the project team is fulfilling its objectives. In cases where the project is veering off course, the project team can refer to the benefits map to realign to the project’s initial vision.

Let’s touch on some key benefits of this useful approach:

Improved Communication

For larger projects, it can be difficult to understand why various tasks and deliverables are important. This approach helps you understand and communicate a project’s impact from different perspectives. 

Additionally, stakeholders may find it difficult to understand why certain activities are deemed important. This process lends valuable support by enabling stakeholders to understand the bigger picture by allowing:

  • Your project delivery team to understand how their contribution impacts the delivery of benefits.
  • The stakeholders to understand the benefits of change
  • Managers to understand the link between project activities and strategic objectives.

Quantifying Project Risks

Benefits mapping can be used as an effective tool for quantifying project risks as it creates a clear link between project activities and benefits. In essence, benefits maps assess risks, linked to the delivery of project activities, to be quantified by the benefits that they impact. 

This approach assesses the impact of changes on the project’s budget, scope, and timeline. It supports the assessment of changes to that project, related to the benefits that are delivered.

Planning Project Activities

Benefits maps are a great method for planning project activities. Benefits maps are able to deconstruct what activities need to be done to achieve a business benefit. Benefits mapping differs from Product Breakdown Structures (PBS) by focusing on the business change and benefits, as opposed to just the deliverable. 

Benefits mapping is a more effective technique when compared to PBS when considering project feasibility and initiation. By linking business benefits to project activities, organizations can justify project work and cost estimates. Moreover, benefits maps can help build a business case narrative detailing how a project correlates to an organization’s strategic objectives. 

Final Thoughts

It is clear that benefits mapping offers a dynamic analysis that supports project management. This approach provides a common reference point when prioritizing the activities of a project. It also quantifies the risks of a project, enabling efficient communication with stakeholders.  

When using this approach it’s important that the benefits must be mapped out early in the process. They should also be referenced regularly, to ensure that projects run smoothly. This will ensure efficient delivery of benefits. 

With state-of-the-art software that operationalizes your business strategy, QVISTORP will effortlessly enable agile project portfolio prioritization throughout the entire lifecycle of the project. 

Get in touch today and take your project management process to the next level.

Krzysztof Janusz

+48 502 732 605