Four Steps to Building a Business Case

Sunday, May 29, 2016, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

All organizations have more project work than they have resources and capacity to execute.

Therefore it is important to compare the various projects to see which ones are of highest priority.

The Business Case document is used to compare projects to see which ones are best based on two factors – business value and alignment to the Strategic Plan.

There can be many components to a full Business Case.

Here are four common areas to cover.

Four Steps to Building a Business Case

  1. Identify the business problem

    Usually, projects are set up to solve a particular business problem or opportunity. You need to document the business problem or opportunity and describe what it is, how it’s come about and the time-frame in which it needs to be addressed. Without this knowledge, it’s like building a house without a solid foundation.

  2. Identify the alternative solutions

    Sometime there is one obvious solution to a problem or opportunity. However, in many cases, there are multiple alternative ways. You need to discuss these options to show that you performed a level of diligence, and then explain your preferred solution.

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

    • Identify the alternative solutions

    • Quantify the benefits of implementing each solution

    • Estimate the costs of implementing each solution

    • Determine each solution aligns to the Strategic Plan

    • Assess the feasibility of implementing each solution

    • Make a recommendation on which alternative to choose, and the reasons why.

  3. Identify risks, assumptions and constraints

    There is more to a Business Case than just the cost/benefit and alignment. Provide more business information in the form of risks, assumptions and constraints. It is especially important for managers to understand the risk associated with NOT performing the work.

  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 the management reviewers that you have thought through how you’re going to build and implement the solution. This is referred to as the project approach.

Remember, only with a clearly defined Business Case will you ensure you deliver the business benefits expected by your customer.

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

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