The Importance of Benefits Realization
As a business analyst you are not done your job after the deployment of the solution. Although, having the solution up and running is a critical milestone it’s not time to party yet. It’s like medical surgery. Even though the surgery itself may be successful it is more than important the patients life to be improved and the expected benefits that are the answer to why this surgery should be done, to be realized after the surgery.
Monitoring the solution benefits and interpreting thoughtfully the feedback of the customers is crucial in order to be sure that the benefits of the solution are fully perceived and also that they are sustained. Benefit recipients should experience the stated benefits and also be ensured that those benefits will be sustained from the implemented change over the long-term. In many projects the effort that is done in the period after implementation activities is not enough to ensure the delivery of the claimed benefits as well as the maintenance of the benefits in the long term.
Below are some points that could help you navigate in the after-deployment period:
- Feel the pulse of the customer
Be open to feedback and try to listen to the voice of the customers. Do not underestimate the feedback from any source. Even an inexperienced user may reveal critical improvement issues for the benefits realization. Filter the feedback in order to find technical and non-technical groups of issues. For example, a repeated concern of the user may be due to the lack of training and proper user manual, due to a non-functional requirement that is not met or due to a bug existing in the functional area of the solution.
- Prioritize the actions
It is crucial to prioritize the improvement actions. Some bugs fixing may be in first priority as they have a detrimental effect in the overall experience. Or an updated user manual and video of navigating the users in using effectively the solution may be number one priority in order to full realization of benefits to take place. A specific prioritization approach may be existing and agreed up at the initiation of the project. However, as nothing is more stable than change you probably need to revisit and update frequently the approach to prioritization.
- Be ready for Organizational Change
A new solution that is deployed is a change. Appropriate change management is required to ensure the full exploitation of the solution. New processes and polices may need to be established in order to maximize the value. Changing the way of working that existed for years may be challenging. Many times, a new solution is a trigger for a culture shift in an organization. As a business analyst you need to be aware of such required changes and propose solutions that will contribute towards the
It is common for the delivery team to complete the implementation activities, deliver the initial benefits to the customer and just close down the project. This is not suggested. Benefits realization most of the time is not one and done process. There are always activities that need to be performed on an ongoing basis to ensure the solution developed stays in shape.