Writing a Business Case with Project Management Templates
We all know that successful Project Management is about delivering projects on time, within budget and to specification. But what many forget is that it’s also important to deliver the business benefits to the customer. If your projects do not result in the stated business benefits, then your customer will not gain the return on investment expected, thereby affecting the level of success of your project. So how do you ensure that your projects consistently deliver the stated business benefits to your customer? You can do this, by creating a “Business Case” using online project management
templates for each project. Its purpose is to justify the initiation of the project and to clearly specify upfront, the business benefits to be delivered. In this newsletter, we’ll explain how to: Create a Business Case using Project Management Templates
in 4 easy steps... The first step when creating a Business Case using project management templates is to identify the business problem (or opportunity) that results in the need for a new project. Alternative solutions are then identified and based on each solution's individual merits, a preferred solution is recommended. The last step taken when creating a Business Case is to define a plan for the implementation of the recommended solution. The following sections explain each step in more detail... Step 1: Identify the Business Problem Projects are typically undertaken to solve a particular business problem (or “opportunity”). It’s therefore imperative that you spend the time upfront to investigate that business problem before you attempt to find a solution to it. First, you need to determine the root cause of the problem with project management templates by analyzing the environment within which it has arisen. For instance, the root cause of a problem may be related to:
- Changes to the business vision, strategy or objectives
- Newly identified competing products or processes
- Opportunities resulting from newly introduced technologies
- Commercial trends that are driving business changes
- Changes to legislative or other environmental factors
Once identified, you need to describe the problem by listing the reasons why it has arisen, the impact it is having on the business and the timeframes within which it must be resolved. Step 2: Identify the Alternative Solutions Now that you have a detailed understanding of the business problem, it is time to identify a preferred solution. For every business problem identified, there will likely be a range of alternative solutions available for implementation. Choosing the right solution is always a challenge. To ensure that you select the best solution available, complete the following steps using your project management templates.
- Identify the alternative solutions available
- Quantify the benefits of implementing each solution
- Forecast the costs of implementing each solution
- Assess the feasibility of implementing each solution
- Identify the risks and issues associated with each solution
Step 3: Recommend a Preferred Solution With a range of alternative solutions identified, the next step when creating a Business Case is to select a preferred solution for recommendation. To select a preferred solution, you will need to define a set of criteria upon which each solution will be assessed. For instance, the criteria may be related to the solution; benefits, costs, feasibility and risk level. You then need to identify a mechanism for scoring each alternative solution. For instance, you may decide to simply score each solution from 1-10, or you might choose a more complicated mechanism whereby you assign a certain weight depending on which criteria are more important to you. After defining your assessment criteria and scoring mechanism, simply take each alternative solution and assign it a score based on its ability in your project management templates to meet the criteria set. Then summarize the scores across all criteria, to identify the Total Score for each alternative solution. The solution with the highest Total Score should become your preferred solution for implementation. Step 4: Describe the Implementation Approach By now, you have selected a preferred solution and you have quantified the benefits to be gained from its implementation. The final step when creating a Business Case is to convince the Project Sponsors that you have thought through the plan for implementation of that solution. You can do this by describing in detail in your project management templates how the project will be initiated, planned, executed and closed effectively.
Initiation: List the steps involved in initiating the project, such as defining the Terms of Reference, recruiting the team and establishing a Project Office.
Planning: Describe the steps you will take to plan the project in detail. This not only addresses the creation of a Project Plan, but it also lists the plans required to monitor and control project resources, finances, quality, risks, suppliers and communications.
Execution: Outline the approach to be taken to build the physical project deliverables and gain the customer's acceptance for each deliverable produced
Closure: Identify the activities required to hand over the final solution to the customer, release staff, close the Project Office and perform a Post Implementation Review of the project
And that’s it. If you complete each of the steps above, then you will create a solid Business Case for each project, helping you to consistently deliver the business benefits to your customer. If you need more help, why not download a Business Case template