Building your technology business case

FinanceOne of the most important tasks of any project is building and maintaining your business case. Unfortunately the business case is so often a single document not covering full life cycle costs and produced to obtain funding approval and never looked at again!

Bad!

In fact your business case needs to document the full cost of the business change you are creating and be monitored for viability on a regular basis.

A business case has many components and will usual vary by organisation and it’s own requirements. However in general a “good” (I use the term to define the scope of a business case not the output) business case will include information on:

  • Background reasons
  • Expected Benefits
  • Anticipated Costs
  • Known Risks
  • Timelines
  • Investment Appraisal and Evaluation

This content will help your organisation ensure that the business cast is justified and that the reason for your project to continue is aligned with overall corporate strategy.

The business case is also a living document. As such you should review and update the contents at regular/various stages in your project, at least when ever something significant happens within or to the project. The project board or steering committee should be reviewing the ongoing viability of the project and if the business case is not longer valid the project should be stopped. Stopping a project is always a political issue however if the benefits no longer outweigh the costs (sunk and future) then it should be stopped.

Best in class organisations also conduct post project reviews including benefit realisation assessments to ensure that the project achieved the expected outcomes.

So does your current technology project have a valid business case?

(Photo Flickr User: alancleaver_2000)

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