Using the Template as Part of Your Approach
First, you may want to download the free Benefit Profile Template available in the media gallery.
I’ve used a template like this for several major clients here in Australia. Most of it is fairly intuitive I think, so I’ll concentrate on explaining the less intuitive things and why they’re important:
Benefit ID: Benefits should have unique identifiers within the organization. Typically a project acronym and a two digit serial number work well to define the benefit uniquely. Say, PSP-03 for the third benefit of the Personnel System Project for example.
Benefit Name: It helps to have a short name for the benefit. This is what I call an "elevator benefit descriptor" – for the two or three words you use to explain your project when cornered by the Chief Financial Officer in the elevator, something like … “um … ‘reduced maintenance costs’"!
Benefit description: This should be precise and specific, and is your chance to explain what exactly the benefit is (and what it isn’t). You may also show what characteristics deliver that benefit. For example, "reduced cost of callouts to technicians from unscheduled maintenance will be driven by a more reliable hardware base."
Benefit probability: Not all benefits will be absolutely certain. For example, in a marketing project there is no guarantee that sales will actually increase as a result of new messaging. This is your chance to temper the expectations of executives. Additionally let’s remember that the probability of some benefits will change as the project progresses.
Strategy Contribution: All successful organizations will have some form of strategic direction. The components of the strategy, and how well they’re spelled out, will vary from organization to organization. I’ve included a few examples in the drop down box. You can edit these by editing the list contents that start at cell N22 and the data validation list for the entry cell.
Tangible and Cashable: A tangible benefit is one that can be clearly observed and is directly relevant and measurable for the receiving organization. "Cashable" goes one step further and asks whether we can expect to see an actual dollar impact from this that is either bankable or will directly and measurably reduce costs.
Benefit Owner and Benefit Recipient: The benefit owner is the person who is accountable for implementing the changes in the receiving organization so that the benefit can be delivered. The benefit recipient is the person who most stands to gain from the benefit. These are sometimes the same person, but sometimes they are not.
Realization Start and Finish Dates: It is important to set these dates so that we can know when we should be measuring benefits.