Tips on Building a Business Case

Tips on Building a Business Case

CCM’s ATLAS manuals provide guidance for portfolio, programme, project and PMO managers.

The following tips are taken from the ATLAS process – Building the Business Case:

  • The business case is the primary document that leads and directs the project. Without it senior management will need to invest more time involved in decision making and direction. It is the contract between the management board (who commit the funding and resourcing) and the sponsor. The business case provides justification for undertaking the project, by evaluating the benefit, cost and risk of alternative options and providing the rationale for the preferred solution.
  • Development of the business case falls to different people in different organisations, but the project manager will necessarily be involved in defining the content and will often be the person responsible for its development. The following provides some tips for project managers in the creation of a business case document:
  • Remember that the business case sets out the scope and objectives for the project as well as the initial time, cost and quality constraints against which the project manager must deliver.
  • The document contains early planning considerations. Concerns and comments associated with the business case should be discussed with the sponsor and, if appropriate, recorded in the risk log.
  • Clearly show the return on investment (ROI) if there is one, this should take into account both cost savings and cost avoidance and for IT projects is usually shown over three or five years depending on the expected life cycle of the solution. Risk mitigation and new functionality projects may not have a financial return.
  • Research and review lessons learned from previous related projects. If necessary go outside the organisation for any industry best practice or learning.
  • Resource management is always key. Try to secure the right resources for the right durations and bake agreements with resource managers into the business case approval.
  • Set out and agree clear roles and responsibilities at this early stage.
  • The business case should establish the governance model for the project. Think about the right model for getting decisions made efficiently and what the project would need to manage third parties and to manage risks and issues.

The business case is a report reflecting the progress in early planning with all of the above and additionally in the following areas:

  • Timeline planning
  • Risk management
  • Budgeting and cost management
  • Scope management
  • Quality management
  • Deliverables and benefits

If you would like to learn more about creating a business case or the ATLAS manuals please get in touch

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