Ironic that news of a refurbishment project for Big Ben arrives on the day that I attend a webinar on benefits management!
A 3 year project starting in 2017 will perform essential maintenance on the mechanism, and on the tower (renamed in 2012 to The Elizabeth Tower) and is required after nearly 157 years of successful operation. Other sources indicate that this is conservation work – which gives a whole new view on the project. Digging deeper, I notice that “the works will increase energy efficiency to reduce the Tower’s environmental impact”. So all three of these reasons are being used as justification (a business case) for spending £29 million of public money.
Interesting to note that the news article I read suggests that a change of colour could be involved for the clock-face – indicating that the actual details of the work are finalised as yet.
Benefit Management Types
So how does benefits management fit into this story? A project can be delivered – however that does not mean that the organisation has received any benefit – that might be the last job of the project manager, or the role for a business manager. Benefits can come in 4 different types.
- Projects that have direct cash benefits to an organisations bottom line. e.g. A project that saves production costs.
- Projects that have a cash benefit – but not immediately visible to the bottom line. e.g. A project that saves employees time to do other things.
- Projects that have benefits that can be counted, but cannot have a value put onto them. e.g. A project to increase a network bandwidth/capacity.
- Projects where benefits cannot either be counted or valued. (Why are we doing these projects?)
I would suggest that this Big Ben project comes into category 3, as there are sustainability benefits as well as long term tourism benefits. Regardless, who is going to mange the benefits realisation once the work is completed?
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