How Benefits Logic Mapping informs government decisions

By TBH Associate, Grant Standen and Director Travis Harvey

We live in interesting times. Eastern Australia burnt with ferocious intensity from Christmas 2019 to Easter 2020. It was a traumatic climax to a decade of drought.

When the flames died, governments assessed the damage and struggled to make choices. How much money do we spend? How do we raise it? Who should receive it? How do we dispense it?

Then COVID-19 rocked the world. Almost overnight, the certainties of work and home life, and of government commitments to enhance both, were lost.

Who do we help first? Should we focus on immediate needs or building for the future? Should we spend now, what we had saved for another day?

In a world of uncertainty, Benefits Logic Mapping enables difficult decisions about what we do today and how we shape tomorrow.

Benefits Logic Mapping facilitates objective prioritisation of measurable outcomes. It eases the struggle to balance risk and reward.

Reorder Outcomes – Realign Investment – Regain Control

Governments create certainty. They lead the way. They can’t always defend community wellbeing, or business confidence, so they must have ways to rebuild them.

In challenging times, Government’s task is clear. Make some trade-offs, then face the fact – not everyone wants to trade.

It’s an intense and often conflicted process, with contradictions everywhere – and Governments can struggle to absorb the necessary data.

Benefits Logic Mapping can help ease the struggle. It provides a framework to guide these choices. It presents objective analysis, enabling Governments to make informed decisions and set priorities.

Benefits Logic Mapping can also be used to re-evaluate the performance of “in-flight” Government portfolios.

Through the use of Benefits Logic Mapping and “What-If” analysis, it’s possible to see how changes to timeframes, budgets, scope, and priorities can create opportunity.

Benefits Logic Mapping can also help remove blockers and recognise gains. It does this by defining and then modelling the design and delivery options for prioritised initiatives.

The Power of Benefits Logic Mapping

Off the back of recent volatility, TBH was asked to help an Australian government agency (the Client) to make informed decisions and organise, deliver, track, and control its projects.

Our Portfolio, Program and Project Management (P3M) team conducted a benefit-led prioritisation and planning exercise. This involved reviewing existing documentation and liaising with the various stakeholders through a number of workshops and discussions.

Our P3M team analysed the business cases and their intended benefits, potential interdependencies, preferred sequencing, and potential planning options.

The outputs included:

  • A report outlining the analysis process and recommendations;
  • A master programme including two possible delivery scenarios, and;
  • A proposed governance and delivery structure for ongoing management.

These outputs enabled the Client to prioritise and plan in the most effective way, to ensure successful delivery and alignment to the strategy.

Adapt – Stay in Control

TBH’s Benefits Logic Mapping approach became invaluable in the Autumn of 2020, when many Government programmes were re-assessed as part of the COVID-19 response.

The pandemic cast doubt over the Client’s strategic decisions and shifted their focus to high value, “shovel ready” initiatives.

Through this lens, TBH reassessed the feasibility of planned and in-flight works. We modelled the impact of change on interdependent projects. We set new prioritisation options, and developed ways to manage – and sometimes gain – from their flow-on effects.

With decision support from TBH, the Client reviewed its options, made informed choices, altered course and stayed in control. 

As a result, pre-COVID assumptions were overturned, higher value was squeezed from lower budgets and the flow-on effects became visible.

TBH and the Client put COVID factors into the decision-making process, creating different paths to opportunity and sustainability. And through this, the Client created certainty. It led the way.

We’re living in challenging times. TBH will stay the course – offering Governments innovative ways to solve the problems of our time.

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