4 Steps To Creating Project Business Case As Project Manager

Sunday, July 14, 2013, AM | Leave Comment

You may have worked as project manager on many projects where you were responsible for delivering the project on time, within budget and to the satisfaction of your customer. The project was given to you to deliver it.

However, you may not realize it, but to be a successful Project Manager, in every sense of the word, you need to be able to do more than be a “delivery person.”

That means:

  • You also need to create the understanding of business benefits expected by the customer and your project sponsor.

  • Essentially you have to act like a marketing manager to create a sense of why the organization needs to develop and deliver your project.

  • You ought to present the purpose of a Business Case and to justify the project expenditure by identifying the business benefits you’re going to deliver.

  • You ought to recognize your responsibility as business manager in addition to the usual project management.

  • A Business Case assists project stakeholders in making decisions regarding the viability of a proposed investment/project.

Creating Business Case

Here’s how to create a Business Case in 4 simple steps:

  1. Identify the Business Problem

    With or without the help of your marketing friends in the organization, you must present your business case to the senior managers.

    You saw a void – an empty space, a business problem, in the vast landscape of your organization, and you want to develop and deliver the project to fill the void.

    So you need to investigate it as an opportunity and describe completely what it is, how it’s come about, why the organization needs it, and the time-frames in which it needs to be addressed.

    In doing your research, you’ll not only gain knowledge yourself, but you’ll also make it a point to “educate” your customer and your sponsor.

    Without this research and knowledge, it’s like building a house without a solid foundation.

  2. Identify the Alternative Solutions

    By doing research in Step# 1, you should completely understand the business problems and opportunity in depth, it’s time for you to identify a solution to address it.

    Every project manager may have his/her own approach to solve the facing problem, but there are certain “generic” solutions to any problem.

    There may be many solutions to the problem at hand. You should analyze each for your project – especially the feasibility and the ease of it.

    To ensure that you choose the right solution that would work, take these steps:

    • Identify the alternative solutions
      You should look for alternative solutions that, most of all, do not require additional capital investment, pushing the deadline, or compromise quality.

      However, sometimes this is hard to achieve. It is of utmost importance that you avoid personal biases and preferences in identifying and evaluating alternative solutions.

      Research suggests the best practice is to identify at least three alternative solutions that will meet the requirements to solve the problem.

    • Quantify the benefits of implementing each solution
      First off, you should assess the costs and benefits of each solution for delivering the project. As importantly, you must analyze the limitations of each solution.

    • Forecast the costs of implementing each solution
      There may occur a difference between the original cost and process planning and the actual project. You should have a plan envisaged and documented in case that happens.

    • Assess the feasibility of implementing each solution
      Every solution may not be feasible for your project. Pick the ones that are doable.

    • Identify the risks and issues associated with each solution
      You should analyze the risks and important issues that might arise sometimes in implementing the solution. You should have a well-thought out plan in doing so.

    • Document all of this, in your Business Case
      Many folks have a misconception that documentation is not important. In most projects, it has turned out to be no less important than the project itself.

  3. Recommend a Preferred Solution

    Of the multiple solutions you may have, set out the criteria for ranking them and choose a scoring mechanism as well before you rank the solutions.

    For instance, you may decide to:

    • score each solution from 1-10, based on their costs and benefits
    • weight each based on criteria which are important to you
    • use a more complicated scoring mechanism

    Then go ahead and score your solutions to identify the best solution. Make sure you document the entire process in your Business Case.

  4. Describe the Implementation Approach

    By now, you have selected a solution and you have confirmed its benefits and costs. The next step is to convince your Project Sponsors that you have thought through the approach for implementing it.

    So document (extremely important) the steps you’re going to take to build the solution for your client.

In a Nutshell
Documenting the Business Case is one of the most critical steps in the Project Life Cycle. You would need templates to help you do this as well as all of the other steps in the Project Life Cycle.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to www.Method123.com and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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