Tips On Communicating Your Business Case (Part One)

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Sections of this topic

    What is a business case?

    A business case is a document that describes the reason why something has to be done. It will describe the usefulness of the project and the consequences if the project is not approved. Because it is a document that defines the project and its purpose, it can almost be compared and structured similarly to a Requirements Document which provides the desired details of a project and what its goals, resources, funding, and technology are. It shows what is needed to accomplish a task. The difference though, is that the business case will justify the value of a project. For example, it will show prove how a new product or application will benefit the intended audience. It details all the reasons for wanting a project to be done.

    Why use a business case

    We use a business case to show the worth and importance of a project. It will detail how the task will be accomplished. It will include items, i.e., a migration being involved, purchasing new equipment, or hiring consultants. Most importantly, it also specifies time and expenses, and the benefits and risks involved.

    Once the document is completed, it is sent to all parties involved as well as to the client and respective project managers for verification and approval (if needed).

    Creating your business case

    The business case is usually written using a logical format and is written for those authorized to make a decision, so be logical when creating the business case. Structure it by presenting an introduction to the, e.g., product. – Let users know what the product is. Use simple terms to describe it and if there is a prototype, display it. If the document is of considerable length, indicate what sections should be read by which party.

    A business case helps to define a possible solution to a problem, so include facts and details, such as the core requirements, i.e., Introduction, Research, Problems, Resolution, Recommendation, Strategy and Risks, Costs, Benefits, and Time. Also:

    • Break it up into logical sections that fit your case. Explain the logistics. For example, if it’s for new equipment, denote the equipment required and the reason why that particular equipment is required, e.g., providing more storage, easier use of software and maintenance for database access such as accessibility to files for specific tasks, i.e., system enhancements, documentation, testing, etc.
    • Include items such as dates for priorities, milestones, and deadlines.
    • For denoting security, list for example, the types of maintenance and issues that will be planned out and taken care of, such as protocols, archives, contingency plans, etc.
    • Also, denote resources required–e.g., who will be involved- Developers, DBAs, Testers, Lead Project Manager, Sub-Contractors, etc. This will ensure you have the right amount of personnel to perform the job as well as the right people.

    As always, write for the intended audience to prove your case and to get it approved. If you have previously written business cases, please add to this content. Thank you.