1.5.1 Development of a Business Case

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Once a business need or problem or opportunity has been identified then a Business Case should be developed. A Business Case is a document which outlines the justification for the start-up of a project. The Business Case is an essential document for the project success since it sets the basis for managing the delivery of the project on time, within the budget and to agreed quality standards. Additionally, well-defined business cases assist organisations to:

make the right investment decisions
achieve whole-life value for money from investments
respond to the effects of change on an investment decision.

More specifically, the Business Case includes:

A detailed definition of the problem or opportunity, as well as of the project objectives.
An analysis of the potential options available for delivering a solution to the problem, with emphasis on the alternative ways of funding the investment/ project (refer to subchapter 1.5.1.1). For each option the potential costs/ benefits (refer to subchapter 1.5.1.2 and Annex 1-3), risks and assumptions are documented. In case that the feasibility of a particular solution/ option is not clear or straightforward, a formal feasibility study may be conducted (refer to subchapter 1.5.1.3).
A preferred/ recommended solution for approval and a generic implementation plan for this solution.

The Business Case is prepared by the project design team (staffed from the Project Owner) and presented to high level decision makers of the Project Owner for approval. It is the first document used in the Project Lifecycle and, once approved, allows the project to be formally defined.

Do not view the business case as just a means to obtain funding. Projects where this view prevails may suffer in the short term from a lack of focus on benefits and in the longer term from a lack of successful delivery and non-realisation of benefits.

A template with necessary guidance which can be used from the project designers in order to prepare the Business Case document can be found in the Annex 1-2 “Business Case Template”.

The next stage following approval of the Business Case is the appointment of the Executive and the Project Manager (refer to subchapters 1.5.2).


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