Writing an Effective Business Case

Writing an Effective Business Case

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A business case capture is an important component of project management and one that is often overlooked. A business case is simply a description of the project, its objective, and the activities that need to be undertaken in order to meet that objective. It may be presented as a concise written document, or can also be presented in the more traditional form of an oral presentation or discussion. Either way, a business case is an extremely valuable tool for any business manager or executive because it provides not only a high level overview of the project, but also the reasons for undertaking it.

A good business case has several components. The first is the executive summary, which includes the mission, purpose, and identified risks. This section should be a clear and concise statement of the key facts that make up the project. Other sections included in an executive summary are: a detailed list of all stakeholders, the schedule of activities, the budget, and other important information.

Another element of a business case is the benefits analysis. This section lists the anticipated benefits that will arise from the proposed actions. These benefits should be carefully analyzed to ensure that they provide a good return on investment. A good business case will also address any known threats or obstacles that may impact the success of the project.

The sensitivity analysis is typically included after the benefits analysis. In this section, the project sponsor will need to identify and note the stakeholders that are most affected by the project. Identifying these individuals ensures that the project definition will be consistent with their needs and the needs of their organization.

Finally, the long-term and short-term activities required by the project are listed. The purpose of this section is to identify the desired outcomes, as well as the time lines for reaching them. For example, a business case will address how long it will take to complete a specific action, whether it will involve an incremental cost or savings, and if there will be an effect on a long-term business structure. This section is useful because it can guide decision makers in determining what actions to take and when to take them. However, it should be noted that this section must be coupled with the above-mentioned section on the business case to make sure that all stakeholders are being addressed and that all necessary risk assessments have been made.

The final section of an effective business case addresses the identified risks. In this section, you will need to identify the key stakeholders, identify the expected impacts, and identify the mitigation strategies that should be put in place to manage these risks. The best business case will contain both an executive summary and a body assessment to discuss issues that can be resolved with the help of appropriate mitigation strategies. The summary will serve as a call for action and is the first step in any formal documentation and will be reviewed by key stakeholders. The body assessment will verify that the business case has captured all key stakeholders’ needs, and is able to provide a detailed assessment of the mitigation strategy. Both assessments will be used to determine if the business case is still relevant at a certain point in the future.

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