3. From project outputs to organisational outcomes and benefits


and the roles of user groups,

and of program/project management (PPM)


Series on project-related contributions to organisational objectives


By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia


This is the third and last of a series of three articles on some particular aspects of what I have described as project-related contributions to organisational strategic management, and to the achievement of organisational strategic objectives.

The first article (Stretton 2022a) gave some background to this series, which I have linked with a shift in focus in the 7th edition of PMI’s Standard for Project Management and a Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMI 2021) from direct governance and management of projects etc., to an enhanced concern with their broader contribution to advancing organisational strategy and the achievement of business objectives. The latter has also been the focus of many of my articles in this journal in the past few years, and I proposed a model which linked a linear organisational stategic management model I have been using for some time with a corresponding figure from PMI 2021. The article went on to look at some long-existing project-related supplier organisation services to owner organisations in the context of this linked basic strategic management model. It particularly focused on their contributions to the first two stages, which get little coverage in the mainstream project management literature.

The second article (Stretton 2022b) switched to internal arrangements within the owner organisation, and the contributions of portfolio, programs and projects to the context of this linked model. In particular, it focused on the variety of different meaning which are given to each of these three descriptors in the project management world, and suggested specifically augmented descriptors to better indicate where and how they contribute to organisational strategic and operational management processes.

This final article will be concerned with the roles and responsibilities of users, user groups, and program/project management (PPM), in converting project outputs to organisational outcomes and benefits. The role of users in this vitally important area receives scant attention in the project management literature, whilst the direct influence of program/project management tends to be exaggerated, particularly with regard to benefits realisation.

This somewhat exploratory working paper will focus more attention on users’ roles and responsibilities in these conversion processes, and on the scope and limitations of program/project management roles and responsibilities in these contexts.

We will first summarise some descriptors of program/project-related outputs, outcomes and organisational benefits, and give some examples from the literature of chains of progression through these stages, and their contribution to helping achieve strategic objectives. These chains do not include users who progress them. This leads to some discussion of the key role of users of outputs in achieving outcomes, and in realising benefits, followed by a very preliminary suggestion of how users might be broadly represented in the context of one of the exampled chains of progression.

However, there are many different types of contexts in which project output-outcomes-organisational-benefits progressions are undertaken. We will review two earlier representations I developed, one of which identified three broad types of strategic initiatives (which include projects), and the other three key types of outputs/assets. These correspond closely enough to suggest using a three-type framework for further discussions of what appear to be the most dominant types of relevant contexts. The following three mainstream headings will be used.

  • From project outputs to internal working efficiency outcomes, and roles of users, and program/project management
  • From project outputs to internal product/service outcomes to external operational outcomes and benefits, and roles of users, and program/project management
  • From project outputs to longer-term fixed asset outcomes and benefits, and roles of users, and program/project management

These three types of contexts were introduced in a rather basic way in Stretton 2021n, but this article will include much more detailed discussion about each context, the role of users in each, and contributions which program/project management makes (and/or does not make) towards achievement of outcomes by users, and realisation of benefits by the organisation.

It will also be seen that the examplar initiatives used for each of these three contexts can be associated with two different types of organisations that undertake projects, which I described in the first article of this series (Stretton 2022a) as follows.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Stretton, A. (2021). 3. From project outputs to organisational outcomes and benefits, and the roles of user groups, and of program/project management (PPM), Series on project-related contributions to organisational objectives; PM World Journal, Volume XI, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/pmwj115-Mar2022-Stretton-3-from-project-outputs-to-organisational-outcomes-and-benefits.pdf

About the Author

Alan Stretton, PhD     

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)



Alan Stretton is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published over 240 professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at alanailene@bigpond.com.au.

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/


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