Recently I was chatting with a PMO professional about reviewing business cases. One of their comments remained in my mind:
“Why is it so hard for people to write decent business cases? We continually end up saying ‘No’ because there is no real rational or analysis included. Then by the third or fourth attempt we may get something almost reasonable to review”.
So here’s a quick checklist to ensure that your Business Case meets the mark:
- Does the business case present evidence and facts
- Is the strategic contribution of the project clearly identified? (What strategic objective(s) does it relate to?)
- Are the costs clearly stated? (as appropriate, include an investment appraisal)
- Are all stated benefits measurable and are those measures included? Remember that both financial and non-financial benefits can be included in a business case and should be quantified and measured.
- Have major risks to achieving the business case been called out?
- Are any assumptions (both for costs and benefits) distinctly articulated?
- Have clear timelines been outlined – if there are any deadlines (e.g. compliance projects) are they clearly identified?
- Have you addressed the ‘DO NOTHING’ option? Document succinctly what the consequences of not investing are (i.e. if we don’t do the project…)
- Is there clear articulation of and justification for the recommended option?
- Are all parts of the recommended solution necessary to deliver the benefits?
And remember that an effective business case is not only a vehicle to obtain initial funding, but a dynamic management tool to achieve desired business results.
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