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Project Business Case 1/2

The project business case is usually the document which kicks off the project management life cycle. It is of absolutely vital importance to project managers, because if you live and breathe projects, you will quickly find that it’s virtually impossible to be given a project to manage without an approved business case. Bluntly speaking, no approved project business case equals no money or resources to get the work done!

Now in many big Organisations it is usually the role of a business analyst and project sponsor to write this up, which will often be based upon market research as well as focus groups. The reason for documenting this is to ensure that the proposed project get’s into a future pipeline of work which is agreed with all the various types of stakeholders including finance.

In a nutshell a business case should set out:

  • What the problem facing the business is
  • What the various solutions are
  • What solution is being proposed
The project business case should also contain detail surrounding the benefits and risks of each solution to ensure that the various project sponsors are fully briefed when they make a final decision. In theory this should manage their expectations of what the proposed project can actually deliver.

Project Business Case Example

Project Business Case, Example of the document which needs to be filled in to enable the project to move onto project initiation

So in more detail the kinds of things you would expect to see in a project business case are:

1.0 The Business Problem

There has to be a reason why the work is required, and the business case needs to articulate what the problem is. Now there could be a multitude of reasons from needing to fix an existing issue, to wanting to launch a new product.

Whatever it is, it needs to be presented in such a way that senior management also perceive it as either a problem which needs to be rectified, or an opportunity to be exploited.

2.0 The Proposed Work Required

This will detail what functionality is required at a high level. It will not go into the details of specific types of technology required. It should simply detail what is needed and by when with the reason why.

3.0 Potential Solutions

The project business case needs to state what the various solutions available are which will ensure that the proposed work required is delivered. These may range from doing nothing (and the consequences of doing so) to an all singing and dancing solution.

Either way these need to be set out in a clearly understandable way so that the solutions can be easily understood by project sponsors who are often not technical. This section should also contain the various benefits and risks of each option together with at the very least, high level costings.

After any decision made will be partly based upon project time and cost as well as risk.

Please click here to read Part 2 of Project Business Case

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