Oftentimes, IT feels as though they need to prove their value or justify their cost to benefit ratio to upper management and that can be a source or pain for the department. With proper visibility and transparency into the projects that IT is working on, the business can begin prioritizing demand and aligning resources to those of your organization.
When evaluating artifacts like Demands, Projects, or Epics within the Strategic Portfolio Workspace, the most common question leadership always asks is, “what is the benefit to the organization by doing this work effort?” Adding a non-monetary benefit plan for Demand to your current scope of work might be something to consider if you need help building effective business cases, inclusive to monetary/non-monetary.
A Singular Type of Benefit Plans Can’t Paint the Whole Picture
In the past, we’ve only been able to leverage a singular type of Benefit Plan to show a monetary benefit of completing the Demand or Project. This has always been an important metric to show the cost savings of doing the work and helping leadership determine the best returns on investment (ROI). The one caveat to only working with monetary benefits is that not every work effort has a Cost Savings or Revenue Generating benefit behind it, so organizations should consider creating a non-monetary benefit plan for Demand.
Working with SLED and Federal customers, there are a number of work efforts that should be done or have to be done but, we can’t always track a monetary benefit to the project. The inclusion of non-monetary benefit plans helps us track those things that may be non-tangible or not on the balance sheet at the end of the fiscal year.
5 Examples of A Non-Monetary Benefit Plan for Demand
1. Project Renovations
One area we see this is looking at the bigger project of a building renovation and each of the different monetary and non-monetary benefits that can be seen. Think about a library or student union space, and the different parts and pieces that go into a project of this size. We all know that by replacing HVAC systems, we can reduce energy costs.
We also are aware that newer networking devices can reduce our energy costs. However, those newer networking devices can likely handle more and faster network traffic. Allowing for more people to use the spaces available and maybe allow for additional walk-up stations for quick internet access.
2. Network Changes
Breaking those network changes into Monetary and Non-Monetary Benefit Plans, we can show the cost savings of more efficient network hardware but, we can also show the “common good” benefits. It can show that students are able to get more work done in a common space and are “happier customers” of the institution because they’re able to work together with others.
3. Software Development Lifecycle
Another area where we can see the expansion of benefit plans is in the Software Development Lifecycle. We’re now able to attach both types of Benefit Plans to Agile Epics and SAFe Epics. These can help us determine the value of completing the work that’s been defined in those catalogs of work.
When we look at software, we always look at fixing the defects or adding the enhancements but, we don’t always track why we’re doing those things. Sometimes, it’s because we know we have to do Process Improvements, or a Customer has noticed an issue.
In Higher-Ed, we always have conversations around Section 508 compliance and making sure our software is accessible to all. With that in mind, we may have an entire development epic devoted to updating and testing to verify that we meet the needs of our entire student body. In cases like this, there isn’t a direct monetary benefit but there are non-monetary benefits around customer satisfaction, ease of use and increased productivity.
5. Software Licensing
It can even be seen in something as simple as a software license contract renewal. When we look at license spend across an organization, sometimes it can get out of hand. This is where we have the conversations around site or enterprise licenses.
We may see if we spend an extra $50,000/year on a license we can make sure everyone has access to it and we’re also not at risk of being in trouble for under-licensing. There may not be an actual monetary benefit to doing this but there are a number of non-monetary benefits that keep the users happy and keeps the IT organization out of managing who has it and who doesn’t.
Adding Non-Monetary Benefit Plans to the Ecosystem
With the addition of a non-monetary benefit plan for Demand to the ecosystem, you’re able to get a better understanding of why you may need to do work efforts that support the “common good” and show back to your constituents why specific work items have been done. Cask can help you build effective business cases, inclusive to monetary/non-monetary.
Organizations often don’t document the value coming out of the backend or from your projects and need help installing the process to realize and maximize that value. When looking to improve your ROI, it’s recommended to have a tool, and an expert, to help avert project failure.