Benefit Realization Practices and Project Success in Information Technology Projects
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Hyötyjen toteuttamisen käytännöt ja projektien onnistuminen IT-projekteissa
The traditional iron triangle project management success measurements: schedule, budget, and scope, are combined with benefit realization approach. A benefit is a desired outcome of a change, such as increased profit or competitive advantage. Benefits fulfill the understanding of project success by taking into account stakeholders and long-term aspects. A benefit realization management process is created to ensure the realization of desired benefits. A project can be successful even though it exceeded its schedule, budget or scope if it realizes the desired benefits. This study is executed for the need of an IT company that strives to improve its project success and to fulfill the current understanding of benefit realization practices. The objective of this study is to understand how and when the business benefits are realized in an IT customer delivery project and what the crucial practices are for benefit realization. This study follows a constructive research approach. First, a theoretical framework was developed to guide the empirical study. After that, a case study of nine IT customer delivery projects was implemented by interviewing the central stakeholders of the projects. This study creates a new understanding of desired benefits and benefit realization practices. The results revealed that there are common benefits for all stakeholders and role specific benefits for suppliers and customers. Benefit realization practices vary; generally, benefit realization can take place before, during and after a project. However, most benefits are achieved over a longer period of time and after several projects. Some benefits are crucial for the realization of another benefit. For each benefit realization practice, one role is responsible; thus, several roles are responsible for realizing project benefits. The empirical study discovers four crucial factors for benefit realization: the sales phase, the project roles and model, change management, and continuity. These factors ensure most of the benefits in IT customer delivery projects.