A Cross-national Comparison of Public Project Benefits Management Practices – The Effectiveness of Benefits Management Frameworks in Application

Terry Williams, Hang Vo, Mike Bourne, Pippa Bourne, Terry Cooke-Davies, Richard Kirkham, Gordon Masterton, Paolo Quattrone, Jason Valette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Benefits are the principal reason why an organisation may seek to enact change through programmes and projects. The discipline of identification, definition, planning, tracking and realisation of benefits is recognised to be instrumental in achieving organisational strategy. In this study, we describe the results of a cross-national comparison of public sector benefits management (BM) practices in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the USA. It explores ‘BM practices in action’, considering to what extent ‘espoused’ or ‘mandated’ frameworks are actually practised and perceived by their users. Employing qualitative analysis, semi-structured interview data were analysed from 46 participants with experience in sponsoring, managing and/or reviewing government projects. The results expose considerable variation in the adoption and standardisation of BM frameworks from inter and intragovernmental perspectives. We evidence a strong focus on benefits identification across the data set, specifically at the outset (the business case stage seeking project approval) and observe deterioration in focus as the project or programme progresses through the authorisation (or assurance) approval gates towards close-out and operations. The results further emphasise the prominence of political interest, leadership buy-in, a benefits-driven culture, and a transparent benefits reporting mechanism in the implementation of ‘effective’ BM frameworks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProduction Planning and Control
Early online date25 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Project benefits
  • project outcomes
  • benefits management
  • benefits realisation
  • public projects

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