Editorial - "project benefit management"

Ofer Zwikael

Editorial - International journal of project management special issue on "project benefit management"

International Journal of Project Management

The project management literature and international standards have been preoccupied with delivering outputs (artifacts such as a bridge). Accordingly, project management methodologies and tools are focused on enhancing the efficiency of output delivery — on time, within budget and at specifications. While this approach is well-founded, a sole focus on efficient delivery of outputs does not support project effectiveness. Recently, a wider view of projects has emerged, which recognizes their role in the creation of strategic value (Shenhar and Dvir, 2007 and Zwikael and Smyrk, 2015). Such a view accepts that organizations invest in projects with the specific objective of realizing identified target benefits.

Project benefits are “the flows of value that arise from a project” (Zwikael and Smyrk 2012: 11). For example, a city council funds a project to reduce the number of accidents next to a school (through the construction of a bridge). The benefits associated with fewer accidents will flow into the future after completion of the bridge. Whereas numerous project management tools are available to the construction company in building the bridge, there is a gap in the literature regarding the role of the city council which (as the funding entity), is primarily concerned with ensuring that accident rates fall. To secure this result, the project scope may need to be expanded with additional activities such as road safety training for the kids and change of behavior monitoring.

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