Doing the right things – prioritising using benefits management


Implementing BS202002: Benefits management on portfolios, programmes and projects



By Dr. Hugo Minney

United Kingdom

Benefits management is the process of: understanding what you are trying to achieve, focusing your efforts on achieving those objectives, and adjusting your approach as either the external circumstances change or the project hits obstacles, to optimise your benefits realization.

There are enormous advantages in applying benefits management to an existing requirement – putting together a business case; motivating the team and the stakeholders to remove obstacles and proceed at pace; and choosing the best option when faced with the decision.

However, the really big benefits come from not doing the wrong things, rather focusing your efforts on those most likely to help your organization succeed. This can be characterised as portfolio management.


Most organizations have at least one portfolio, even if they don’t call it a portfolio. The portfolio is the collection of projects, which together help the organization make progress towards its objectives. Typically, all the projects in a portfolio draw from the same pool of resources, whether investment funding, skilled staff, or other constrained resources. The portfolio has a set of objectives, which might change over time, and it is more important to reach a minimum acceptable level on all objectives than to over perform dramatically on one or two, leaving others neglected.

However, and it’s a big however, many of the projects within a portfolio contribute to only one or two of those objectives, so we need a combination of projects to realize all of them.

The challenge for any portfolio’s investment board (which could be the senior management team or executive board of the organization) is to resist the call for another highly successful project that contributes to an already over delivered objective, leaving shortfalls in the other objectives.

Benefits management across the portfolio

At their very simplest, realizing benefits can be considered as the quantifiable and progressive achievement of objectives. Since a portfolio has objectives, a portfolio also has benefits. These have amounts of benefits (for each stakeholder group): and we expect to realize each of the benefits at specific milestones. What’s probably missing in many portfolios are measures or forecasts about how well those portfolio-wide benefits are doing, based on the current mix of projects.

BS 202002: the British standard for benefits management across portfolios programmes and projects illustrates the process for benefits management across the portfolio (clause 7 of the standard).


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Editor’s note: The author Dr. Hugo Minney is a Fellow of APM (Association for Project Management), a Member of PMI and PMI UK, Co-Chair of APM’s Benefits and Value SIG, and committee member of PMI UK’s Sustainability Community of Action. For more, see his author profile at the end of this article.

How to cite this work: Minney, H. (2024). Doing the right things – prioritising using benefits management, Implementing BS202002: Benefits management on portfolios, programmes and projects, series article, PM World Journal, Volume XIII, Issue I, January.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/pmwj137-Jan2024-Minney-doing-the-right-things-implementing-BS202002-series-article-1-2.pdf

About the Author

Dr Hugo Minney

London, UK


 Dr. Hugo Minney is a Fellow of APM (Association for Project Management), a Member of PMI and PMI UK, Co-Chair of APM’s Benefits and Value SIG and committee member of PMI UK’s Sustainability Community of Action (none of which are paid). Minney was chair and MC of the conference described above and opened the conference, introduced speakers, closed the conference, and is authorised to describe the content.

Minney set out to become a farmer, working on farms throughout his youth and teens and studying agriculture at Oxford. In the end he was defeated by the capital requirements and the sheer bureaucracy, but by that point he’d led a team in ICI’s Milkchase competition to finish in the top quarter with a radical low-input low-output solution (the computer programme was biased for high input because the inputs would come from ICI!). Minney has worked in project management, and in particular benefits management, motivating team members by reporting what they are achieving together and changing the community and culture to want to achieve – together. At present he’s more involved on the governance side, accredited as a Social Value practitioner and Chartered Project Professional, and reviewing the balance of projects and contribution to objectives and benefits across portfolios.

Dr. Minney can be contacted at hugo.minney@thesocialreturnco.org