Delivering on Projects: Producing a Good Business Case

Too often projects don’t deliver the set out objectives. Often because they have not been planned realistically and with a clear focus.

A well planned business case provides decision makers, stakeholders and the public with a management tool for evidence based and transparent decision making. It is a framework for delivery and performance monitoring of the policy, strategy or project to follow thereafter. A good business case is crucial in delivering on objectives.

What is a business case?

A business case gives the reason behind a project or task and can help you influence decision makers, drive organisational performance and gain funds for projects. In fact, business cases are created for decision-makers to ensure that a proposal clearly states its value, priority and expected benefits. The information included in a business case usually includes the background of the project, benefits, options, budget, analysis and risks; similarly, to a SMART analysis.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Nowadays, public sector projects are required to justify their needs through a business case. In fact, it would take into consideration the social and environmental benefits to give a better understanding on the impact of the economy.

The outline is simple: why, what, who and how. These are the necessary tools to decide if it is vital to continue a certain project. This is different compared to a ‘project proposal’ which outlines the business’s vision, needs, expected benefits, strategies, products and impact. A business case, however, has more details on the project, sponsors and key stakeholders before it can be accepted, declined or reviewed.

Before you create a business case, you need to ask yourself whether the project is worth it. Normally projects are a problem solver because in a way or another, you did not meet your objectives. Therefore, you need to deal with the situation: when do I use a business case? Once the resources and expenses of a project have been justified and approved, by sponsors, management or other stakeholders who are involved, you can move forward with your business case.

Business cases are a means of communication and need to be written for the relevant audience and should only state information to influence decision-makers.

There are 4 simple steps to producing a good business case:

  • Identify the problem
  • Identify the solutions
  • Recommend the preferred solution
  • Describe how to implement the approach

It is difficult to know whether there is a ‘right’ solution, but you can narrow down your ideas. Remember, for every problem there is a solution; that will benefit you and the organisation. However, writing convincing business cases can be a complex and time-consuming task for any professional.

In order to avoid consuming too much time, you should examine the various stages of writing a business case and the requirements of each of the sections, from executive summary to option appraisals. By the time you have created a business case, you would know how to translate policy and project documents for technical and non-technical readers: summarising pages of prose into persuasive points, how anecdotes, fact and opinion can work together to deliver compelling cases. These are invaluable skills in making a good business case and understanding the best way to establish and drive change within your organisation; avoiding your business case being read like an introduction or abstract.

Since there is no guarantee that a business case would be accepted, you need to ensure that it is convincing enough. How? Acquire a practical framework for a comprehensive persuasive business case and realism within the means of your organisation. This also involves effective strategic planning; objectives and other actions. You need to reveal why something may have changed or needs changing; the best way forward for your organisation.

Take ownership of your business case and influence decision makers, drive organisational performance and gain funds for projects.

View the upcoming dates for our ‘Producing a Good Business Case‘ training course.

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