Before going into how to write a business case, it is important to understand why it is needed. You write it when you want to convince the key decision-makers regarding merits of particular action course. So, it becomes a crucial part of project documentation.
- Project Brief shows what you need to do
- Project Plan will express how
- Business Case explains why
What constitutes an effective business case? It will explain problems, identify possible options to address and help decision makers to determine the action course. This is it also allows changes to timescale or scope of project assessed against original purpose.
It leads readers through a problem, considers the probable solutions before finally deciding on an option. So you require clear structure containing well-defined subheadings and headings that guides readers effectively. Many times the organizations tend to have specific template related to this that sets out required format and structure.
Preparation before Writing
Before actually going on and putting, everything down it is important to determine the feasibility of a project. Early evaluations are important because it saves you a lot of time. Understand the problem and articulate it besides considering the requirements. These can be human resources, time factor, or ROI deadlines. Also it is important to identify data sources for supporting your business case, project phases, or project. It includes various financial sources, case studies, industry forecasts, analysis, demographic studies, historical data, or similar project case studies.
After you collect information, make a preliminary plan and take inputs from people who are involved in the project. Based on this you can determine its chances of success and then go on to write your document.
Important Sections in Business Case
a. Executive Summary:
This is the high-level view of the document that explains the problem in plain language and condensed form. Besides this, it also enumerates resources required, major considerations, desired outcomes, consideration of Return of Investment, and timeline projection for ROI. Stakeholders may also read these documents so make sure to include information essential for decision-making. It works similar to abstract in academic articles and presented first but is written after you complete the rest of your document.
b. Problem Statement:
This article is the problem in a straightforward manner and identifies areas to address. This may include inefficiencies, unfavorable response of consumers towards your services products, missed opportunities, market unacceptable performances and more.
c. Situation Analysis:
It details out the situation in the background of a problem and seeks to find how particular situation happened. Besides there is through rate you will also get general projections for potential events in case the situation remains the same. Analysis conclusions lead to next sections naturally.
d. Various Solution Options:
It is important to discuss following identification of potential issues regarding the course of action that includes doing nothing as well. It requires discussion regarding,
- Associated benefits-why doing it is a good idea. How far will it go in addressing the issues at hand?
- Costs- what is the resource requirement? Using graphs and figures proves to be helpful.
- Likely project timescale- it is related to ROI with associated reasons.
- Risks involved- this includes issues that may crop up while doing the project as well as factors that may hinder its successful implementation.
e. Project Description:
It describes the overall project including resources, budget, and timelines including the assumptions and dependencies as well. This includes other project completion along with key individual availability. This is going to be a detailed section that describes and identifies all stages including post-project reviews. It is important to include various measurable criteria that determine its success.
f. Analysis of Cost-Benefit:
What are the benefits and costs associated with the various options including the solutions proposed as well as the likely alternators? This also includes doing nothing. Illustrate the case with graphs and data from similar projects when it is feasible to make a strong case. Graphs help to illustrate points, which are difficult to extrapolate from available text-based data. It also includes prediction of financial benefits for the company along when expected payoff predictions.
It includes all the project recommendations as well as its process of conduction. Implementation recommendation involves cost-benefit analysis restatement in brief, along when you find a statement regarding why should this project happen as planned. Articulate circumstances for undertaking this including key actions and individuals. Make schedules to re-examine project status. Clarify availability related to key resources and wherever required refer relevant graphical representations and document sections to your readers.
h. Chosen Option Detailing:
Based upon organization preference, project requirement, and nature of business case you may include additional detailing for your chosen option at this stage. Or you may include this detailed analysis in appendix that includes all the supporting data as well as consider writing a report that includes all project details. The aim is to show your confidence regarding the project as well as show the fact that you have done a detailed analysis of the same.
Conclude your business case by reminding everybody concerned why addressing the problem is important besides outlining the actions that you want your readers to undertake. This can be agreeing towards the action course or approve additional work as required. It is important to clarify how this proposal addresses the problem best.
Considerations Before You Submit
Check out the following before you submit your business case:
- Problem statement should naturally follow from situation analysis
- Problem statement should clearly indicate actions to take
- Adequate listing of probable solutions
- Presence of detailed project description
- Accuracy of calculations and data in budget section
As you can clearly understand from the above, your business case is a document, a written formal argument with the intended purpose of convincing the decision-makers to approve certain action. Naturally, it needs to be well-crafted exploring myriad feasible approaches related to the given problem. It should enable the business owner select options best serving the organization.