“Here is my case for change!”
That something could be to either ‘run a project’ or ‘build a product’ or ‘improve a process’ or ‘renegotiate a contract.’ It could be other things also.
Business cases do two things;
- Describe an exploration of the costs and benefits of doing something, and
- Explain how you’ll measure when or whether you are ‘done’ at the end
- Doing something
- When you are done
Here is what I think you need to focus on to build up a business case. Regardless of what your template drives you towards, these are the things I think you need to focus on.
- What is the problem or opportunity you are addressing?
- What’s your vision for the solution?
- Check this vision off against the SMART objectives criteria – Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, Time based
- Are there multiple parts to your solution? If so, break them down (via a WBS or PBS) and set SMART goals for each solution component
- How capable are you of getting to these solutions?
- What are the costs? Effort & duration estimates – analogous at first, then more refined, Capital, Cost of organisational inefficiencies
- What are the risks? Cost your risk in terms of money and time
- What are the environmental constraints?
- What benefits will your organisation get from doing this?
- Use the balanced scorecard or a similar model to help ensure coverage of all key benefits areas. (Financial, customer/stakeholder, process control/quality and building in flexibility for the future)
- How will you measure your benefits? What is the baseline you are measuring against? How will you isolate this project’s benefits from other initiatives and environmental changes?
- How will you know when you project or product is complete?
- Completion criteria can be defined up-front
- Where agreement on completion criteria cannot be obtained, focus on a process to help define ‘done.’