Mapping can act as a touchstone of core information for every stage of Benefits Management.

It is fundamental to the initial stage of creating clarity around a portfolio and why work is being done.

Maps are a visual and data capture of the essentials of any benefits framework. They are important for engaging and informing others and then testing and reviewing at every stage to ensure alignment and delivery of the ultimate objectives.

There are three big questions that benefits management helps you to answer:

 1. Why is this change or investment important to us?

 2. What do we really want to achieve?

 3. What needs to be done to make this change or investment happen?

Without benefit realisation management, these questions often go unanswered, or at best, the answers are in a few people's heads but are not shared with the organisation. Not knowing the answers to these questions leads to uncertainty, confusion, and poor decisions, which ultimately reduces the chance of success.

How Wovex Mapping answers these questions

1. Why is this change and investment important to us? 

Just having a shared benefits map allows everyone to see and agree visually the link between activity and benefits. This results in greater clarity for individuals, stakeholders, the organisation, its partners and customers. 

Maps can also result in spotting gaps in programmes, where there is nothing to deliver benefits. 
What new things do we need to do? 

Maps can illustrate which programmes or portfolios are not really delivering the expected benefits. 
In what areas do we need to see improvement?

Maps can surface duplication of effort for no real gain. 
What types of activities do we need to stop doing? 

Considering and answering these questions will provide valuable information on what is most important to deliver and the potential scope of any improvement.

2. What do we want to achieve?  

The answers to the previous question will help you to develop your map. 
Make sure that it captures the change and new capabilities you need to see, hear, feel, and understand?
What will success will look like?

And beyond that, you have to understand what your priorities are? 
Identify the things that are of the highest importance to focus your communications and planning around.

Priorities must drive decisions. Therefore, the ideas and insights flowing from this discussion can be invaluable because they should drive any changes in scope as well as what is worth measuring. 

3. What needs to be done to make it real?

After the priorities have been established, it is necessary to explore the plans, changes, and capabilities that will make them real and the measures that will be tracked to know the benefit is being delivered. 
Some of the change in capabilities and the benefits will be worth tracking to be sure that the expectations are actually being met. If they aren't you need to adjust what you are investing in and review your benefits measures.

How much do we need to capture about how we need to achieve success?

Measure the effects and keep reviewing how robust the links from the causes really are.

Keep testing left to right on a map and right to left.

Mapping provides these critical abilities to help you gain greater value from the effort that you put into investments and change.

Oversight, clarity of purpose, the ability to spot gaps and avoid duplication of effort, a shared visual focus on success, understanding your priorities and the specifics that you will see when they are delivered, a practical tool to test your expectations and the ability to adjust to changing circumstances and be agile.