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25/11/2021

Business Case Development Checklist

A great idea deserves effective development, and you’ll need buy-in from stakeholders to move ahead with your plans. That’s where a business case comes in. It shows key individuals exactly how you’ll execute your idea. And since it’s a formal document, everyone involved will have all the information necessary to understand the concept and make critical decisions.

Because the business case is so integral, it requires special care and attention. With this business case development checklist, you can create a solid document to help your team and stakeholders get onboard with the vision.

Your business case should include several components, depending on the nature of the project.

Business Case Checklist

While you may not need all of these components, they provide the backbone of a solid business case.

An Executive Summary

To showcase your idea’s big picture, you need to include an executive summary. This section is a concise overview of the project’s goals and definitions. This is also a good place to describe the problem you plan to solve and why its solution is essential.

The Problem Statement

Compelling ideas solve problems. So you should start your business case by describing the issue at hand. Who is affected by the problem? What harm does it cause? How could life be different if the problem were solved?

Although you briefly addressed the problem in your executive summary, this is the place to dive deeper. Include relevant research, and frame the issue as a story. Additionally, it helps to connect the problem to your organisation’s mission or goals. 

Data-Driven Analysis

A story humanises the problem, and a connection to the company helps stakeholders recognise their ability to make a difference. But decision-makers need hard data for making decisions, and that’s where your analysis comes in.

Relevant research provides a solid frame for your problem’s story. Select surveys and research that are recent and credible, and present your findings in a clear, easy-to-understand format. This is also an excellent place to bring in information about team members with critical skills for accomplishing the work. 

A Projection of Financial Needs

To make informed decisions, stakeholders need numbers. Specifically, they need to know how much money you need for developing the idea and how you’ll use project resources. Instead of just lumping everything together, break up your data into categories:

  • Project management = $30,000
  • Software team of four for 3 months = $120,000
  • IVR software = $35,000

Total = $185,000

A Persuasive Proposal

This section explains the project you’ve chosen and why it’s the best solution to the described problem. But remember that you also need to address the risks for your recommendation.

Discussion of Alternatives

Offer multiple solutions to the problem. The stakeholders will use the data you provided to determine the best course of action.

Environment Analysis

Your company’s business environment may be a determining factor in whether or not you choose a particular project. 

Return on Investment

What kind of ROI will your project bring to the organisation? Do your best to calculate return on investment and break your figures down into time periods. For example, your estimates might look like this:

Year 1 = $0
Year 2 = $80,000
Year 3 = $200,000

Again, when you provide detailed financial projections, stakeholders have more confidence in their decisions, reducing potential risks for the business.

Timescales

Another critical component of a compelling business case is the anticipated timescale. Although you may not have all pertinent information at the time, include as much as possible, factoring in the availability of key personnel, equipment and supplies.

Making the Case

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, and you may have received the impression that a business case is an extensive, unwieldy document. But that’s not the case.

A professional business case is concise. It gets to the point and contains relevant information but no fluff. For small projects, it should be a few pages. Larger projects and complicated business change endeavours require longer documents.

That’s why it’s essential to keep the intended audience in mind as you create each section. If you feel the need to include more information, consider adding an appendix. For example, you might want to have an appraisal section for a business case that involves acquiring new property for the organisation. 

 

To sum up, the purpose of a business case is to outline the business rationale for undertaking a project. Stakeholders use this document to provide the means for the project and evaluate its progress. 

There’s a lot at stake with business case development. We can help you put together a business case that covers all the bases and provides stakeholders with everything they need to catch your vision and understand how it fits their mission.

To consult with us about your business case, schedule a meeting today! We look forward to helping you develop a business case that achieves your goals and moves your company forward. 

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