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Monday, January 10, 2011

Do You Use Business Cases to Justify Your Projects?

Before a project is started, there should always be a business case. Without a business case that defines the problem(s) you are trying to solve and what success looks like, your project will start on very shaky ground.

Rule # 1 -  the business case is always written by the organization receiving the benefits.

A business case is nothing more than a story. As you begin to write your story one of the first things to define is the benefits (the value) the product(s) of the business case will bring. These value statements should be specific, brief, clear, and measurable.

Here are some basic questions that must always be answered when developing a business case. They are:

What is the problem you are trying to solve? What are the gaps between where you are and where you want to go? What are the assumptions? What will it cost?

What is the ROI (Return on Investment) and how long will it take to recoup the investment?

When did the problem first appear? How long has it been happening? What is it costing you?

Where is the problem occurring?

Who is impacted?

Why is there a problem? What is causing the problem and what is the effect? Why is a change needed now to address the problem? How big is the problem?

How will solving or minimizing the problem save money or add value? How will you measure the value?

Are the business case’s benefits worth it? Are they realistic?  Are there alternative solutions that would cost less?

There are many more questions to be answered when developing a business case, however answering the questions above will get you off to a good start.


James P. MacLennan said...

Nice tee-up and foundation for this topic. I've captured some thoughts on
hard vs. soft benefits

* said...

I can remember business cases. Now all I have is poverty to drive me.

Angela said...

I usually use business cases as a means of making other understand why certain ideas may work or how a situation ressembles another one.