What is Benefit-Led Decision Making

Benefit-led Decision Making.

Successful organisations make effective, timely decisions.

Really successful organisations achieve that by providing decision-makers with quality information in the context of the benefits sought, instead of only focusing on the delivery of capability.

This means gathering good information at the beginning, to give a series of start points; managing and collating information in the context of a framework that flexes as the programme or strategy develops, so that the relevant stakeholders have a clear idea of progress; and presenting this information effectively, ensuring that senior management can make well-informed decisions, and justify them to investors, business partners, government agencies and the public.

Consistency across the information provided to decision makers is essential whether the approach is agile/lean or a more formal portfolio/programme.

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What we do

Cambiel have specialised in embedding Benefits Management for over 10 years.

We have worked with a diverse range of private and public sector clients to create momentum for Benefits Management at the same time as transferring skills. In this way we establish best practice examples within an organisation and ensure that the focus on Benefits is sustainable. We are successful because we focus on the use as well as the quality of the Benefits information — Benefit-led decisions made by well informed leaders of change

Business Case to Benefits Definition

The strategic business case has captured hearts and minds – and secured funding in principle.  Now you need to clearly articulate and quantify benefits – both financial and non-financial.  We use Benefits Mapping to analyse the benefits information you already have.   We lead workshops to engage stakeholders with the mapping process, so that Benefit Plans can be properly designed, easily understood, and shared rather than imposed; and we provide a gap analysis and action plan for your next steps.

Our people have many years of hands-on management experience as well as in-depth Benefits Management expertise.  This makes our analysis robust, our interactions with senior stakeholders professional and credible, and our action plans realistic and deliverable.

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Benefits Profiling Service

We help you to select, design and fill in the detailed profiles which provide a complete picture of the benefits that your project is intended to deliver. Typical headings include Description, Beneficiaries, Risks and Issues, Decisions, Measures, Metrics, Targets and Benefit Delivery Confidence. These profiles are inegrated into reporting.

This is a specialist short -term exercise, best resourced by an independent team. We can harness the knowledge and expertise of your internal subject matter experts, and use our expertise to interrogate systems and develop models to fill the gaps.

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Benefits-Focused Interim Managers

We supply experienced Portfolio, Programme, Project & Change and Performance Managers with expertise in Benefits Management to lead or assure a high-profile initiative within your organisation.

The initiative itself will be more effective by being benefits-led. At the same time, your organisation will have an internal example of best-practice benefits management to learn from.

Our Managers have gravitas, credibility, flexibility and a strong sense of the ridiculous. All qualities which help to craft practical and sustainable solutions. We are committed to the transfer of skills for Benefits Management as well as to rapid integration of benefits information and processes.

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Who we’ve worked with

We are proud to say that most of our business comes from client recommendation.  We believe that’s because our people and our services make a significant and sustainable difference.

Examples of our interventions with clients:

HS2 Ltd
Benefit Profiling and assurance services to create an initial baseline from a list of outline benefit titles.

Royal National Institute of  Blind People
Change Management lead, planning, support processes and skills transfer.

Benefit-led interim programme/project management and assurance.

Balfour Beatty
Refresh of benefits profiling for a much delayed strategic programme.

Office for National Statistics
Benefits Mapping for strategic programmes, initiation of Benefits Management Processes and transfer of skills.

Transfer of skills for Benefits Management

British Council
Benefits Mapping for strategic programmes, initiation of Benefits Management Processes and transfer of skills.

National Police Improvement Agency
Benefit Profiling for the Mobile Information Programme across the UK ; transfer of skills.

National Audit Office
Designing of audit for strategic cost reductions across all government departments – focus on delivery of benefits linked to personal and organizational performance.

Who we are

Cambiel was founded in 2005 as a virtual organisation. We are a team of independent practitioners, with experience across a broad range of industries and government agencies.

Our associates keep coming back to join our engagements, enabling both consistency of teams and breadth of experience.  Our associates return because the work is interesting and adds significant value; we are committed to sharing learning; we are transparent and honest with associates, clients and business partners; and we have fun.

Daniel Fisher

(written by Julia Wall)
Articulate; credible; father of Harry (2years old); self-contained; renovation of 15th century manor house with his family; detailed planner; structured trainer; thorough; cynical sense of humour; quietly dignified leader; trustworthy; bell ringer; fell walker.

BA Eng. Lit; MSP; Prince2; Management of Value; Management of Benefits

Julia Wall

(written by Daniel Fisher)
Energetic and driven, creates momentum, creative problem solver and highly resilient – yet also increasingly relaxed and given to reflection as she gets older and truly begins to live the portfolio lifestyle she’s always aspired to! Mother of 3 giant boys and erstwhile renovator of a Normandy countryside idyll – loves the finer things in life (theatre, wine and good food), but also roaming the autoroutes on a motorbike! Well respected by clients as a safe pair of hands – lots of knowledge, lots of impact and also lots of fun!


Bsc hons; MSP; Prince2

Answers to the questions

Non-financial benefits often suffer from loose definition, scope creep, misplaced optimism, erratic senior commitment etc.

Benefit Profiling helps you to be very clear upfront what you really mean by each benefit, how it contributes to the success of the organisation, who is responsible for delivering the benefit……..and therefore how it will be measured.

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Spending money on a programme without clearly defining successful outcomes (benefits) is like starting a journey to St Ives when one of you means Cambridgeshire, and the other Cornwall.

Effective Benefits Definition is iterative – start early and use as a basis for Business Case and beyond.

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The road to ruin is paved with good intentions; in our world aka unfinished business cases.  The void does not remain unfilled – out of necessity senior stakeholders will each then develop their own version of the truth with the resultant delivery mismatch.  Usually the reason for unfinished business cases is simple – the people who have the credibility and the skills have heavy leadership demands; the task gets delegated to administrators who do not have the weight to get input from the right stakeholders.

Make best use of your time – let us produce your Business Case and supporting Benefits Profiles.

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Leaders of change need timely, concise information about a full range of financial and non-financial benefits to make the best decisions.

Robust, user-friendly Benefit Profiles provide the basis for effective reporting to leaders of change.

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Unless the end point is well defined it is difficult to tell which aspirations are on the critical path.  Often this means significant misplaced spend.

Defining Benefits early and well provides clarity on where to spend resource for best effect.

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Chinese Whispers…… with the best will in the world, without a clearly articulated mapping of the aspirations, information distorts as it cascades.

Benefits mapping provides the guidance to help keep communication cohesive – one version of the truth – one banner leading the charge into the future.

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Senior Managers often feel that the Business Case has been imposed on them – it’s ponderous, difficult to relate to and restrictive.

Benefits Mapping and Matrices provides visibility for the essential elements of a Business Case. Challenge and robust development within structured processes gives airing to difficult issues and substantially increases commitment to the route forwards.

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Change Programmes are dynamic – ‘a plan never survives first contact with the enemy’. In support the Business Case needs to be constructed in a flexible manner that maintains integrity.

Embedding Benefit Mapping across Business Case and supporting Benefit Profiles makes links to reporting and therefore decision-making live and relevant.

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The design of a reporting system should be driven by the decisions required, not the data which happens to be available.  Decision makers should be fed with information not data.  Both obvious statements – so why are do so many reports require hard thinking to extrapolate the messages?

Benefit Profiling based on benefit mapping provides the discipline to turn data into information. Clarity of benefits creates focus on benefit-led decisions supported by effective reporting.

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We are regularly assigned to review progress on benefits for programmes which are already mid-way through delivery. Without fail significant elements of the issues being experienced were predicted at the outset by change managers and then proposed solutions not implemented. Usually the cost would have been minimal if the proposed solutions had been implemented at the outset. Fixing the problem causes delays and significantly more cost.

Benefits Profiling provides the rigour to identify a full range of business changes as well as enablers, plus a structured rationale to encourage budget holders to commit to early implementation of, and support for, priority business changes.

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Relax – you are in no way unique with this problem.  The good news is that you are probably doing a lot of the things that you should do to achieve benefits.  The bad news is that you can’t prove it – or even get your Senior Team to agree on exactly what success looks like.

We can start our Benefits Profiling work by reviewing existing Programme Documentation, and talking to a few key stakeholders.  From this we create a ‘straw man’ Benefits Map supported by a Gap Analysis.  Essentially that will tell you the benefits that you have already committed to (often the same benefits worded in different ways across multiple documents); and start to pin down those that are being chatted around but change every time you hear about them. Then we action plan with you and move into Benefit Profiling…

Words are powerful tools. Without a structured approach to benefit definition, Leaders of Change tend to re-word benefit word to fit their own viewpoint. The result, despite the best of intentions, is ineffective activity and wasted resource.

We can start our Benefits Profiling work by reviewing existing Programme Documentation, and talking to a few key stakeholders. From this we create a ‘straw man’ Benefits Map supported by a Gap Analysis. Essentially that will tell you the benefits that you have already committed to (often the same benefits worded in different ways across multiple documents); and start to pin down those that are being chatted around but change every time you hear about them. Then we action plan with you and move into Benefit Profiling…

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Many organisations talk about partnership arrangements with suppliers and associate organisations – but fail to provide full information on their aspirations from the relationship. For example, a contract for IT services will specify functionality, but not explain fully the benefits which are needed. The change activity needed to deliver the benefits is seen as completely separate from the activities of the IT supplier. ‘The business didn’t know what it wanted until it didn’t get it’

The process of profiling benefits provides the measurable clarity for financial and non-financial benefits for inclusion in contracts and partnership arrangements. Clarity as the details are formalized improves costings, commitment levels and mutual delivery of results. Our profiling teams work with your internal contract experts to word and negotiate workable solutions.

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Senior leaders are usually powerful, time poor, and very confident in their views. So when you are putting together an initiative it can be extremely difficult to convince a senior leader that a ‘pet project’ just doesn’t fit within your brief or your resources. If you don’t succeed in convincing them you are saddled at best with a distraction and at worst with a career-threatening failure.

A well-drawn benefits map is an effective tool in having those difficult conversations. The discipline of benefits mapping takes the emotion out of the discussion. In the majority of cases the advocate of the ‘pet project’ will see the problem for themselves and help to resolve the dilemma (changed brief, different resources, pet project housed elsewhere …… or even not at all)

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Organisations which are growing rapidly or shape-shifting significantly can get very focused on the delivery of capability. Every time you try to get focused on clarifying benefits, another crisis/opportunity takes precedence – and becoming benefit-led seems like a huge struggle.

Our approach to benefit definition is very flexible and scalable. A single workshop will provide a stable base from which to plan. A 2 hr session with our maturity model will give you a gap analysis to work from. Improvements are immediate – and we transfer skills as we create momentum so that the work is sustainable.

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Organisations can be very successful by being in right place at the right time led by a team with tremendous energy and commitment. Usually to be scalable they reach a stage where process needs to support, if not replace ‘Just do it’ as a management stance. What you don’t want is a process that strangles the energy and innovation which has created success.

Benefit Mapping is flexible and scaleable. It works as well with strategic planning, as it does in an agile workshop or project definition session. Benefit mapping adds the ‘why?’ to Just do it! – and makes sure that everyone has heard the same version of ‘Just do it’ – more effective and much more satisfying as a working model.

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Change management, project management, agile, lean, value management, programme management, thriving on chaos, continuous improvement, quality circles, six sigma, Kaizen………..How do they all fit together? – are you in danger of confusing teams with overlapping approaches with no cohesion?

A Benefits Map provides the thread that pulls all other approaches together. If any piece of  information is not consistent with the benefits map and supporting profiles then the conflict needs to be resolved. Multiple initiatives all working from one guiding piece of information

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You really can’t do everything. You know that. You know that if you try to do everything you will do some if not most things badly. Getting agreement on which things have to wait and possibly not get done at all is a challenge. Making sure that when the situation changes again you know why you prioritised as you did so that you can make the next re-alignments is even more of a challenge.

Identifying priority routes through a Benefits Map allows you to harness not only the facts but also the knowledge and intellect of your change leaders. The best prioritization, well documented for current and future planning.

Our downloads

Benefits Management In context

Benefits Management In context

The body of tools and disciplines available to support change initiatives continues to grow and improve...

Business Case to Benefits Definition

Business Case to Benefits Definition

The Strategic Business Case has captured hearts and minds - secured funding in principle...

Benefits Profiling Service

Benefits Profiling Service

Benefit Profiling helps you to be very clear upfront what you really mean by each benefit, how it contributes to the success of the organisation...

Interim Managers

Interim Managers

Cambiel supply experienced Portfolio, Programme, Project, Change and Performance Managers with expertise in Benefits Management...

Contact us

Contact us for a bespoke solution or just for a chat and some advice


Address: Fasbourn Hall, Buxhall, Suffolk, IP14 3EB
Phone: 01449 737867
Email: jayne.stanwick@cambiel.co.uk
Web: www.cambiel.co.uk