From the clothes I put on in the morning, to why my sister hasn’t texted me back about an important question: I’m always asking myself “why.”
And as someone making the case for a project’s relevance, impact, and importance, you will have to constantly ask yourself “why” as well.
What is a business case analysis?
A business case analysis (BCA) is another way of referring to a business case, which we’ve discussed previously. To clarify: a business case and a business case analysis are two ways of referring to the same thing.
To recap: it is a type of documentation created at the beginning of a project life cycle. In a business case analysis, a project manager (PM) outlines various elements such as what business problem they are trying to solve, as well as cost, risk, benefits, and scope.
This document serves as both an introduction and an explanation. It is a stakeholder’s first time hearing about the project, but it should also provide strong enough reasoning to justify the resources that project will require.
What should a business case analysis do?
If you want to read what all is included in a business case, you can check out my original article above. In this reading, let’s chat a bit about what you want your business case analysis to accomplish.
1. Serve as a reference point
Project team members all benefit from having something to look back on and reference. If there’s any confusion as to what the project aims to accomplish, or which approach the team decided on, the business case analysis is a great reference point for all of that information.
2. Provide multiple approaches
Part of the purpose of submitting a business case is providing stakeholders with multiple solutions to one business problem. The business case should list more than one solution, but it should highlight which solution the project manager and/or decision-making team feels is best.
3. Justify the expense of resources
If a project has a million dollar price tag, you’re not likely to get that approved without a clear explanation as to what problem it will solve, or how it will increase profits. A business case is just that: your chance to make a case for a project that you believe will benefit the company more than it’ll cost.
You should have clear, concrete proof that your statements are true and that you’ve done the necessary research to arrive at your conclusion. A business case should only be full of bold statements if you can back them up with facts.
4. Act as a living, changing document
One good thing about a business case analysis is it can change over time. As an organization changes, so will certain project parameters, team structures, budgetary data, and more. To maintain this document as a point of reference, make sure you update it as time goes on.
Make sure you’re transparent about those changes with the rest of the company, or whoever is working on the project with you. It would be counter-intuitive to use the business case as a reference guide without informing your colleagues as to when it has been updated.
5. Help determine project success
A business case analysis is vital in determining project success, because it clearly outlines what a project set out to accomplish in the first place. If you’re trying to judge whether a project did what it was supposed to do, go back to the beginning.
Use your business case analysis to help determine if the project lived up to its expectations and requirements. In short: did you accomplish what you promised stakeholders you would accomplish with the time and budget you promised to do it with?
It’s important that a business case accomplishes all of the above, but chances are, you’re a skilled project manager who will include all of these things naturally. This guide is a helpful reminder that a good business case analysis is utilized far beyond the initial stages of a project.
Want to discover whether a certain project is a good idea right now? Learn how to conduct a feasibility study.
Grace Pinegar is a lifelong storyteller with an extensive background in various forms such as acting, journalism, improv, research, and content marketing. She was raised in Texas, educated in Missouri, worked in Chicago, and is now a proud New Yorker. (she/her/hers)