It is extremely likely that this activity is pre-sales and executed prior to the engagement. However, a business case to support the project should have been developed and signed-off. The business case need to re-visit to make sure that the proposed work aligned to both the business case and its benefits.
Define solid business case
A business case captures the reasoning for initiating a project or task. It is often presented in a well-structured written document, but may also sometimes come in the form of a short verbal argument or presentation. The logic of the business case is that, whenever resources such as money or effort consumed, it should be in support of a specific business need. A compelling business case adequately captures both the quantifiable and non-quantifiable characteristics of a proposed project.
Information included in a formal business case could be the background of the project, the expected business benefits, the options considered, the expected costs of the project, a gap analysis and the expected risks. Consideration should also be given to the option of doing nothing including the costs and risks of inactivity. From this information, the justification for the project derive. Note that it is not the job of the project manager to build the business case; this task is usually the responsibility of stakeholders and sponsors.
Key elements of the business case report
A good business case report, which brings confidence and accountability into the field of making investment decisions, is a compilation of all information collected during analysis and the business case process. The key purpose is to provide evidence and justification for continuing with the investment proposition. Here is a recommended structure:
- Table of contents
- Management summary
- Summary of results
- Decision to be taken
- Business drivers
- Financial metrics
- Strategic options
- Opportunity costs
- Conclusion, recommendation, and next steps
Review and approval
At various stages in the project, the business case is there to ensure that:
- The justification is still valid,
- The project will deliver the solution to the business need.
The result of a review may be the termination or amendment of the project. The business case may also be subject to amendment if the review concludes that the business need has abated or changed, this will have a knock on effect on the project.
- Verify existing business case and create if required.
Hints and tips
- Confirm business case.
- Review and confirm business case expectations, costs and savings.
- Resolve or escalate inconsistencies where appropriate.
- Re-evaluate timescales and ensure they are realistic.
- Understand business drivers
- Verify appropriate level of project leadership and funding is in place.