The world of mergers, acquisitions and other large-scale change projects is littered with examples of when the predicted benefits simply failed to materialise. Initial, lofty aspirations are perfectly nice but it is the delivery of real, tangible benefits – to customers, employees, investors and communities – that really matters.

Sadly, all too often, those benefits are not realised – and all because there is a lack of focus on them throughout the project.

The desired benefits may be poorly scoped out at the start of a project, for example, or insufficient thought given as to how to deliver them. The accompanying changes needed in people, processes and technology can be overlooked. And insufficient thought might be given to how the benefits can be tracked and evaluated, especially when the benefits are intangible, such as changes in culture or behaviour.

In our benefit realisation work, we ascribe to a simple four-step process of identify; plan; execute; and review. Only by maintaining a relentless focus on the desired benefits across all four of these stages can a project stand a realistic chance of banking all the benefits it set out to.