Variations on a Theme

Variations on a Theme

Goal Model, Benefits Dependency Network, Benefits Map - a picture paints a thousand words. We can all paint the same scene but each picture will tell a different story. Here's a gallery of works in a variety of styles.



Same scene, different style

Here's a silly example I use to define what I mean by 'benefit':

Feature - my car is painted 'Police Car' white

Outcome - people move over for me on the motorway so I get home for 6 pm

Benefit - I get to watch The Simpsons on TV which makes me happy


This is what it looks like as a basic BDN




The same diagram as a Goal Model.



Here the Solution and Driver sit separately from the connections in the diagram. The Solution is the sum of the Means so doesn't need a nest of connecting lines to them. The Drivers are not always directly connected to the Goals so stand aloof.

There's more emphasis on the 'Goals', often the strategic objectives, in this method than on Benefits. The intention being to encourage more up-front effort on choosing the right thing to do for the right reasons instead of remedial benefits realisation squeezing value out at the end of a project.


The same scenario as a John Thorp Results Chain


An initiative makes a contribution to an outcome. The outcome is dependent on certain assumptions. Outcomes can be end points or lead to further, consequential outcomes. The whole project or programme can then be modelled by building up and linking chains of initiatives, assumptions and outcomes. - The Information Paradox, John Thorp.


When I draw up a BDN, I'm keen to keep it as a picture of the end state situation. It's easy to let project activity slip into the model and that risks confusing people. Below is a way to make the BDN work in a programme context. Here it's mapped onto Managing Successful Programmes.




Model reality, don't squeeze reality into the model

The diagram is a model of your situation. The type of model will depend on the use you put it to. Architects' models, model aircraft, sand-castles are all very different models, all well suited to the job they have to do.

Further reading

I can't cover many of the alternative models in this short blog. Here is a presentation which has a few more.





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