There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ business case, but you can create a ‘strong’ one. Sometimes too many projects do not deliver the objectives even though the best management practices were used. There can be several reasons: lack of project planning or a weak business case. Poor planning can have a negative effect on a business, so you need to make sure that planning is effective and successful.
So, what is a business case?
Definition: business case is a written or verbal value proposition that is intended to educate a decision maker and convince them to act. When written, the document is sometimes referred to as a business case – WhatIs.com
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.
Quick reminder of SMART:
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 produce a good business case:
- Identify the problem [within the business]
- 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.
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