An effective business case is important because it justifies the viability of a proposed project or business undertaking; ensuring that it is the right investment, affordable, achievable, within the risk tolerances, and it offers value for money to shareholders and customers. A good business case provides the evidence to support high-level decision-making and also assures and informs the stakeholders of the responsible action that will be undertaken by the company.
The business case process should include a multi-faceted in-depth analysis of the financial and strategic implications surrounding a proposed project. After all, ambition, if not accompanied by diligent financial management and applied governance can lead to ruin. A thorough business case creation process combined with rigorous assessment will ensure that the best solution will be chosen.
The reality is that a bad business case usually leads to an unsupported project, a real pity when that project is a vital contributor to strategic objectives. Also, expensive resources are wasted when a business case has not been developed through a proper methodology with applied governance. A business case is not simply a bureaucratic necessity in order to get the approval on a project, it is a document that facilitates evidence-based decision-making so as to make a successful argument for investment.
It goes without saying that anyone who is serious about their business would want to address these causes of failure to ensure that they are able to consistently deliver successful projects. This is where the Five Case Model to Better Business Cases comes in; it effectively addresses every one of the reasons for failure mentioned above.
Quite recently best practice has introduced us to a “Better Business Cases” framework for generating successful business cases. This Five Case Model addresses the key indicators or questions to ask of a successful business case. These are:
These questions are expressed in the Better Business Cases Five Case Model which covers the five key elements of best practice business cases as depicted below.
The Five Case Model provides the framework and tools to allow effective decision-making when scoping and planning budget proposals in a robust way and can be used at strategic programming and individual project levels. You should always use it in proportion to the level at which it is being applied as well as the cost and risk associated with the investment. Make sure that the BBC approach is integrated into your business change life cycle, from the start all the way through to the post project realization of benefits.
A business case is much more than a component or dimension of project management; it is the documented rationale for the investment of taxpayers’ and shareholders’ funds, and should be the overarching information that supports senior management to make the right decisions.
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