Benefits Realisation Management FAQs

Benefits Realisation Management (BRM) Frequently Asked Questions


This page is aimed at providing basic information on Benefits Realisation Management and its contribution to an organisation’s change management capability.

What is Benefits Realisation Management?

Sometimes referred to as Benefit Management (BM), Benefits Realisation Management (BRM) is a methodology that works to provide assurance that an organisation’s investment in change is aligned with its strategic objectives and the changes it makes are focussed on the realisation of the ‘agreed’ benefits i.e. changes are only made to achieve the desired benefits. 

The method both enables, and is dependent upon, considerable stakeholder engagement and many of the related activities are focussed upon the people side of change and as such BRM is a must for organisations that value their workforce.   

Note: The author’s preference for the term ‘Benefits Realisation Management’ is based upon an appreciation of the pro-active engagement required across the change lifecycle. ‘Realisation’ correctly implies a focus on doing what is required to be done, within the prescribed method, to achieve the desired outcomes. 

BRM enables the following questions to be answered:

Are our change projects aligned with the organisation’s vision and development strategy?

What benefits are associated with each of our change projects?

Are we making all of the changes our strategy requires us to make?

Do our people understand our business?

Do our people understand the need for change?

Are we making changes that add little or no value to the organisation?


The following definitions have been produced by the United Kingdom Cabinet Office:.

Benefit A benefit is the measurable improvement resulting from an outcome perceived as an advantage by one or more stakeholders, which contributes towards one or more organizational objective(s).

Benefits Management – the identification, definition, tracking, realisation and optimisation of benefits.


What are the key benefits to be gained through adopting a BRM approach to change?

There are many benefits but the key ones are:

  • only changes that realise business benefits are undertaken
  • the benefits identification process helps to ensure that an organisation’s investment in change is fully aligned with its vision and strategy
  • accurate data that enables the selection and prioritisation of projects/programmes is produced as a product of the BRM processes
  • the real value of a change initiative is understood by the business and its stakeholders prior to the investment in change being made
  • stakeholders (people) associated with the changes are implicated in the change process and are able to ‘buy-in’ to the changes
  • stakeholder commitment and accountability (at all levels) is established and maintained
  • the resources to track and ensure the ultimate realisation of benefits are identified early in the change lifecycle
  • the impact of changes in the operating environment on the organisation’s change programmes can be readily assessed
  • when introduced after a change initiative has begun, BRM data can be used to decide on the relative value and worth of planned change projects – this information not only enables prioritisation it also helps identify those projects that should be stopped
  • the benefits method enables and supports continuous transformational change

 How long will it take for my organisation to benefit from using BRM?

The beneficial effects of BRM can be experienced as soon as it becomes common knowledge that the approach is to be adopted. The inclusive nature of BRM starts to work immediately by drawing an organisation’s stakeholders in to the change process.

Can any business implement BRM?

Yes, any business can adopt a BRM approach to change although the degree of tailoring and implementation effort that is required depends greatly on the maturity of its management capabilities. Capability assessments that look at the organisation’s preparedness for BRM and other management disciplines are an effective way of baseling the organisation’s maturity. This enables an organisation to objectively asses and deciding, what if anything, would need to be done to enable effective BRM.

How long does it take to implement a BRM capability?

A full implementation would take at least as long as the change life-cycle of an organisation’s shortest change initiative? The longer the capability is in place the more effective it becomes, due in the main to increasing stakeholder confidence and the use of continuous improvement methods.

Are there any organisations that would not benefit from BRM?

In the author’s opinion, all organisations with a need to respond to changes in their operating environment would benefit from BRM. 

Why should a business adopt a BRM approach to change?

There are many reasons why a BRM approach might be adopted but the main ones are business continuity, effective and efficient investment in change and improved stakeholder management. There is evidence to suggest that changes that have been developed and implemented collaboratively are more likely to be sustainable in the long term.

Are all benefits measureable?

The short answer is yes, but some are more challenging than others. A rule of thumb is that if it is possible to set a ‘target’ it is possible to measure.

What are the common pitfalls that may be encountered when implementing BRM?

In the author’s opinion and experience the following are pitfalls to avoid:

  • where BRM is being introduced with poor executive management sponsorship and support progress will be difficult and gains will be difficult to sustain. The buy-in of all stakeholders, at all levels, is important but the buy-in of those with significant influence in the organisation is essential
  • poor or no executive sponsorship – BRM needs a board (or equivalent) sponsor
  • an underestimation of other dependant management disciplines e.g. project, programme, change
  • a shortage of key management skills can impact the BRM processes such as measurement, data management and reporting
  • where ownership and responsibility for the business impacts of change is not assigned change can be ‘pushed’ on to a unwelcoming or unprepared workforce

How must does it cost to implement BRM?

Figures provided by Gerald Bradley, author of Benefits Realisation Management, suggest 4% to 6% of total initiative costs

What is the ROI from a BRM capability?

Calculating the ROI of BRM is heavily dependent of the effectiveness of the implementation and the fact that not all benefits are financial in nature. The main return comes in the shape of delivery assurance of expected business benefits – reinforced as part the OGC Gateway Process Gate 5 where benefits realisation activities and plans are reviewed.

What types of change does BRM support?

BRM is aimed at supporting incremental (step-wise) or transformational change (radical) i.e. changes that are oriented towards achieving challenging business goals and that require new thinking and solutions. Another identifying factor is where ‘new finance’ is needed to meet business goals.

What knowledge is needed to make BRM work most effectively?

To make BRM work effectively knowledge in the following areas is needed:

  • Benefits Management
  • Project Management
  • Programme Management
  • Portfolio Management
  • Change Management

 Who already uses BRM?

There are many organisations using BRM. An Association for Project Management (APM) Benefits Management Specific Interest Group report recorded the sector usage of BRM as shown below:

who uses BRMAre there any tools available to support BRM implementation?

A number of tools to support some of the key BRM processes are available. These include benefits mapping tools and tools for the measurement and tracking of benefits. Basic support can also be provided by Microsoft Excel and Visio. The use of post-it notes also has its place where the identification and mapping of benefits is undertaken.

Are there any special skills needed to make BRM work?

This is a difficult question to answer. BRM processes are fairly well defined but a degree of tailoring is needed to ensure a fit within the organisation’s extant methods and capabilities. Of particular note though is the need, on the part of those responsible for its implementation, for diplomacy and the ability to negotiate and lead others.

How does BRM fit with other approaches to change such as ‘Agile’ and ‘LEAN’?

LEAN being a continuous improvement method is not normally associated with BRM. However, BRM could be used in an organisation embarking on a LEAN implementation to assure its benefit by ‘aligning stakeholder thinking’ and to track the overall benefits realised through its introduction.

Agile is well supported by BRM. BRM processes help to ‘steer’ an organisation towards developing solutions that are aimed at realising benefits. By analysing and prioritising benefits the organisation can decide on which changes to focus on.  Guidance on the setting, measuring and achieving of change objectives from Tom Gilb

Does BRM accommodate the changes in attitude towards accommodation of the ‘social agenda’?

One of the strengths of BRM is its respect and positioning of change initiative’s stakeholders. Also, the effectiveness of the process relies on the contribution and pro-activity on the part of all stakeholders.

Where can I learn more about BRM?

The following are good sources of reference material recommended by the author of this site:

Benefits Management – Gerald Bradley

APMG Managing Benefits – Steve Jenner

Author’s website –

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