The Benefits Canvas is a visual tool that enables benefits expected from change to be collectively drafted as the starting point for mapping.
The Benefits Canvas is a simple template that can be used in many different ways such as for strategy, change plans, business cases, project and programme assurance, sales proposals, product and service design.
If you already know that you need to focus more on benefits to improve the value from everything that you do a Benefits Canvas is a great place to start.
This is a collaboration tool that works just as well for virtual discussions.
Identify who the key people are and groups who will provide information on the canvas.
Identify who will benefit from the benefits.
Engaging them will help you understand the scope and scale of information needed for the canvas.
Work with the stakeholders and use existing documentation to identify the objectives, key benefits and their supporting outcomes. The objectives are what is driving the need for change, the strategic aims of the organisation.
The key benefits will help you understand what the stars of the canvas need to be, what is critical to decision-makers and what might be measured.
And the supporting outcomes are often least developed and where getting shared understanding can really have an impact on the value you will deliver.
These should all be worded as if they have been achieved already. For example, things that are created, reduced, increased, maintained or eliminated.
Initiatives and work
The necessary work to deliver the benefits can be captured here too in summary.
This should be done with key stakeholders and subject matter experts, people expert in creating plans, solutions and delivering work. Then we will know what needs to be done to achieve success.
During this step, we will also be making sure key assumptions and risks are captured around Work, but also around the supporting and key benefits.
The Canvas should go through a process of agreement, evolving to make sure that it is complete and contains only the essentials. Then, when a change has been delivered, it can be used for reflecting shifts in scope to maintain focus on the achievement of benefits.
These are suggested steps and, you may want to complete the whole canvas as a small team and then take it out for review and discussion with other stakeholders. Use a Canvas for existing projects and programmes, or where extra clarity on benefits will be valuable.