I’m no lawyer, but I understand the importance of making a tight case when something matters to you.
A business case is your chance to present persuasive documentation to your managers or investors convincing them to support your idea or project.
Business cases are a common aspect of project management. When done correctly, they adequately advocate for a plan or solution to help overcome a business problem.
If you’re wondering what you should include in this documentation, be sure to do some prep work by reading "How to Create and Write a Business Case." Additionally, it is helpful for those in the project management (PM) role to look at successful versions of what they’re trying to do.
The following examples are of documentation that you can use to strengthen your own processes, whether that means planning a successful project, or simply getting the project plan approved in the first place.
Business case examples
As a PM, you’re well aware that you could be contracted for a project in any industry. Or if you’re an internal PM who stays with one company, you could be asked to work with any department.
Throughout their career, one PM could go from drafting the schedule for construction of a new park to figuring out the budget for an enterprise company’s new communication strategy.
For this reason, it’s imperative for project management professionals — especially those who are at the start of their career — to look at a variety of business case examples. In this article, I’ll try my best to run the gamut of possibilities so any buddings PMs can be ready for anything.
This first business case is brought to us by the Wiley Online Library. The document takes a completely hypothetical project and fleshes it out piece by piece.
As you can see from the table of contents displayed below, this particular example has everything: a preface, introduction, executive summary, and analysis.
The hypothetical presenter of this business case has performed a risk analysis and provides their professional recommendation. They’ve thoroughly gone through the benefits and constraints.
It could be useful to put this sample next to your own document and work on yours with this as a reference. While you don’t have to include everything they’ve included, this example is a great way to ensure you’ve checked all of your boxes.
Business case examples by industry
If you work in a particular industry, it’s possible you probably want a specific example regarding your line of work. While I can’t promise to cover every industry, here are a few of the big ones.
This business case from State University of West Georgia was written to “Maximize the Return on Investment for Distance Education Offerings.” It includes an introduction, strategies for maximizing ROI, and a conclusion.
The figure below is an example of an image used in this business case which further displays the business strategy.
Those PMs who work in an environmentally-focused environment may want to consider The Business Case for Environmental & Sustainability Employee Education. This downloadable white paper comes to you from NEEF USA, or the National Environmental Education Foundation.
I can’t say anything for this business case that it hasn’t said for itself. It’s incredibly thorough and, even if the environment isn’t your niche, the information included in this download could certainly teach you a thing or two about how to format and design a beautiful business case.
The following business case is lengthy, as most situations involving human health are concerned. Coming to us from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, this case entitled Cost-Benefit Analysis of Providing Non-Emergency Medical Transportation is a 208-page document.
While I don’t suggest reading the full thing word for word, project managers in the healthcare field would benefit from learning how to speak to other professionals in this environment and how to format their business case persuasively.
Public transportation planning is so important, as it affects the way societies around the world function 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Consider this business case entitled Business Case for the Next Generation Air Transport System, created by NextGen.
This case is a mere 28 pages and manages to get through the following list of figures and list of tables. This case serves as a reminder that business cases do not have to be long to be thorough.
If you want to see how the government does paperwork, check out this business case published by the National Academies Press. Entitled Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense, this case’s statement of task alone is a lot to take in.
Consider point 1.: “Through briefings, site visits, and committee deliberations, the study committee will:Evaluate legislative requirements for acquisition and T&E and the current DOD acquisition process (as defined in the “DOD 5000 series”) to determine whether the law and the defined processes permit enough flexibility to rapidly bring capabilities to users;”
If you’re planning on writing a business case for the government, the above is a good example.
As you can see, there is no 100 percent right way to write a business case. It all depends on your industry, what you’re trying to accomplish, etc. Your tone and the specific elements you include will vary.
If you want to focus more on pitching your business as a whole, learn about the elements of a business plan.