A business case capture is an important component of project management. Essentially, it captures the rationale for starting a project or undertaking. It may be presented in a more structured written format, or may only be in the form of an oral presentation or semi-formal agreement. In either form, it serves as a detailed description of an action that leads up to a desired result, such as reaching a certain revenue target or achieving certain levels of customer satisfaction.
While every business need or desire is different, many questions and issues remain about how to capture and track a business case in order to successfully plan and deliver a new project. While some companies choose to work entirely in verbal terms, others prefer a more structured approach to information sharing. To meet both needs, a variety of business case types have evolved, each with its own set of benefits, limitations and responsibilities.
A comprehensive business case describes the steps that will be necessary to achieve a particular goal. By breaking down a large project into a series of specific activities and steps, a successful project management effort can be undertaken. In addition to providing details on each activity, the report includes a list of all stakeholders and the expected benefits from those activities, as well as an assessment of the overall effectiveness of the initiative. Each piece of information is necessary for a successful project to be carried out efficiently and profitably.
A concise business case can be a powerful tool for effectively outlining potential project risks. In addition to describing the nature of the project risks, it should provide a listing of all anticipated outcomes. This will enable managers to assess whether risks to the success of the new product are real and what the likely consequences of those risks could be. By detailing the potential risks and the potential outcomes, managers can make informed decisions regarding the actions necessary to mitigate those risks. Similarly, a business case can help potential project managers to establish the feasibility of any new product.
The report should include a summary of all considerations, as well as a detailed section detailing the estimated time period and cost over the course of the project. The business case is then divided into two main sections, one that details the identified risks and the other identifies the anticipated impacts on stakeholders when those risks are mitigated. The summary section should be subdivided into a number of more detailed sections, each describing in greater detail the identified risks, the anticipated impact on stakeholders, and the potential solutions to those risks.
The resulting executive summary is a critical component of the business case, as it provides a “de-risking” of the proposed project. Once the executives have reviewed the business case and compared it with their own needs and the existing market, they will have a better idea of how to best address the issues raised. The executive summary is typically prepared after the first step of the project, which is the identification of the most appropriate and feasible solution. From there, the developers can then work on identifying the possible disadvantages and the potential upside of their proposed solution. During this stage, they may consider whether their proposed solution will do more harm than good, or if it would be more appropriate in addressing the stakeholders’ needs. Finally, they can revise the executive summary to address the final risks and potential downside of their solution.