Managing project benefits

One of the key areas I’m trying to plan proactivly is the benefits management of the ERIS project. I’m looking into this particularly as the projects success factors are somewhat intangible. For example, the following are listed as outcomes of the project, and whilst some can be associated with direct measures of success, the benefits of others are more opaque.

Short-term: (ERIS in-project success factors)

(a) Improved facilities; researcher-friendly repositories supporting research pooling and other collaborative work and with added value to encourage deposit;

(b) Interoperability; Improved workflows and metadata exchange for seamless embedding of the repositories in the research and institutional processes;

(c) Improvements in education and training; enhanced knowledge and skills within institutions at all levels;

(d) Improved community collaboration; transferable best practices and service models;

Long-term: (post project factors)

(a) Improved rate of deposit; increased deposit rates leading to critical mass of research output available at both institutional and cross-repository levels.

(b) Development of trust; increased user confidence – amongst researchers and institutional managers – in the value and longevity of repositories;

(c) Demonstrated return on investment; increased confidence in the long-term ability of repositories to enhance visibility for Scottish research and, as a result, the practical and commercial exploitation of the Scottish research base

Projects don’t always give the same focus to the realisation of expected benefits as they do for ‘hard’ project measures, such as ‘on time’, ‘on budget’ and I wan’t to ensure that we don’t take this route on ERIS.

The delivery of intangible benefits (such as productivity gains, morale improvement, or increased customer satisfaction) are rarely analysed or measured. Project deliverables can be assessed as successful from an object perspective but the evaluation needs to go further than that.

The great value in taking a benefits realsiation approach is that we will be looking at evidence based measurements across the whole project, and whilst this is a significant increase in management overhead, it at least means we will be in line with JISC’s requirements and will be able to say , hand on heart, just how successful the project has been. James


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