Benefits Maps You Can Count On

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!

If you measure it wrong, you can’t control it!


Applying Earned Benefit Management


By Crispin (“Kik”) Piney, PgMP, PfMP

South of France


Introduction: The Limitations of Current Benefits Maps

Whereas, for projects, you need to be able to specify precisely what you want to create, for programs as well as for portfolios, the objective is different. The question to be answered in this case is “how can I achieve a specific business or strategic benefit?” The approach for building the solution is to create a benefits map. There are four principal models for this (Fujitsu’s/Thorp’s ‘Results Chain’ [2007]; Cranfield’s ‘Benefits Dependency Network’ [Peppard et al. 2007]; MSP’s ‘Benefits Map’ [Office of Government Commerce 2011]; and Bradley’s ‘Benefits Dependency Map’ [Bradley 2010]) and they all work on similar principles [White 2015, Jenner 2013, and Jenner 2014]. The output of the mapping exercise is a logical network that can be read in two directions as explained next.

The map illustrates how to make the benefits happen. Once the required benefits have been defined by the strategic sponsor, the following steps allow you to build the map. You need to determine, in order: the changes to the environment that are required in order allow the benefit to occur (“outcomes”); what we need to be able to do if we want to change the environment in this way (“capabilities”); what tools we need in order to create these capabilities (“deliverables”); and, finally, what we need to do to create the tools (“component projects”).

This chain can be read in the reverse direction to explain why each step is necessary: from project to deliverables, to the capabilities of these deliverables, to the outcomes of applying the capabilities, to the benefits associated with the outcomes.

The diagrams associated with the development of the case study explained below provide examples of benefits maps (figures 1 to 5).

In the same way that the London Underground map gives no indication of cost or distance, current benefits maps do not provide a complete set of numbers to allow you to plan every aspect of your journey. I have found some tools that go part of the way to quantifying the map – such as P3M [P3M] and the tool from Amplify [Amplify]. However, even these tools do not provide a credible view of the allocations and contributions for every node in the map.

Without these numbers, business justification and modelling are incomplete. The same holds for performance planning, optimization, tracking, and review with respect to the required benefits.

This article explains how to fill this gap and evaluate some of the missing numbers. It is explained based on the following case study.


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Editor’s note: This series is by Crispin “Kik” Piney, author of the book Earned Benefit Program Management, Aligning, Realizing and Sustaining Strategy, published by CRC Press in 2018. Merging treatment of program management, benefits realization management and earned value management, Kik’s book breaks important new ground in the program/project management field. In this series of articles, Kik introduces some earned benefit management concepts in simple and practical terms.

About the Author

Crispin (Kik) Piney

Author, Business Advisor
South of France



After many years managing international IT projects within large corporations, Crispin (“Kik”) Piney, B.Sc., PgMP is now a freelance project management consultant based in the South of France. At present, his main areas of focus are risk management, integrated Portfolio, Program and Project management, scope management and organizational maturity, as well as time and cost control. He has developed advanced training courses on these topics, which he delivers in English and in French to international audiences from various industries. In the consultancy area, he has developed and delivered a practical project management maturity analysis and action-planning consultancy package.

Kik has carried out work for PMI on the first Edition of the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3™) as well as participating actively in fourth edition of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge and was also vice-chairman of the Translation Verification Committee for the Third Edition. He was a significant contributor to the second edition of both PMI’s Standard for Program Management as well as the Standard for Portfolio Management. In 2008, he was the first person in France to receive PMI’s PgMP® credential; he was also the first recipient in France of the PfMP® credential. He is co-author of PMI’s Practice Standard for Risk Management. He collaborates with David Hillson (the “Risk Doctor”) by translating his monthly risk briefings into French. He has presented at a number of recent PMI conferences and published formal papers.

Kik Piney is the author of the book Earned Benefit Program Management, Aligning, Realizing and Sustaining Strategy, published by CRC Press in 2018

Kik Piney can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Kik Piney, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/crispin-kik-piney/