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A cross-national comparison of public project benefits management practices – The effectiveness of benefits management frameworks in application

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

Authors

Hang Vo

Mike Bourne

Pippa Bourne

Terry Cooke- Davies

Richard Kirkham

Gordon Masterton

Paolo Quattrone

Jason Valette



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.

Journal Article Type Article
Print ISSN 0953-7287
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Williams, T., Vo, H., Bourne, M., Bourne, P., Cooke- Davies, T., Kirkham, R., …Valette, J. (in press). A cross-national comparison of public project benefits management practices – The effectiveness of benefits management frameworks in application. Production planning & control,
Keywords Project benefits; Project outcomes; Benefits management; Benefits realisation; Public projects