What is a Business Case, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Business Case Development
A Business Case clearly outlines the fundamental reason for why an organization should engage in a particular project or task. They can either be formally or informally presented to top-level management or other relevant stakeholders. Generally, the team creating the business case for a project or task should aim to argue that whatever resources (e.g., money, time, talent, etc.) need to be expended for a project are being requested in order to fulfill a business necessity. Business Case Development typically includes gather a broad set information about what the project is, what benefits the project will bring to the organization, the advantages and disadvantages of going-forward with the project, how much the project will cost and potential risks associated with the project as well as those associated with not doing the project.
Description of Business Case Development
A superior Business Case clearly articulates the financial and non-financial benefits of the project. Business cases are usually created to obtain buy-in from top-level organizational members that the proposed project or task is advantageous to the company and provides value above that offered by other potential initiatives. Specifically, this value added from the project should be either positive behavioral changes in the organization or improved business performance.
The Business Case Development process is typically:
- Customized to the size and number of risks of the proposed project
- Applied consistently to every proposed project
- Focused on the added benefit brought to the business
- Comprehensive in that it addresses every potential concern of top-level management
- Clearly written and/or presented, relevant to the business or industry the organization is in and easy to judge
- Easy to measure the progress and/or success of if the project is brought to fruition
- Focused on ensuring the most important points are well-justified
- Centered around who will be responsible for delivering certain aspects of the project
The format of a Business Case often includes:
- The Executive Summary – a brief summary of the whole business that effectively communicates the most salient aspects of the project and the key takeaways of the case. It should be written after the entire case is complete.
- Project Definition – this should be the bulk of the business case. This section provides details on what the project is, why it needs to be enacted and how the innovation team plans to bring it about. In addition, it should address what environmental circumstances or opportunities created the need for the proposed project
- Finances – this section should be able to address what financial consequences are associated with the proposed project as well as whether the proposed projects fits within the organizations budget. Further, the financial section should include cash-flow projections and a comparison of project costs and benefits.
- Project Organization – this section details the plan for executing the project including who is responsible for each part, how decisions will be made, how often progress reports will be presented as well as how project success will be measured.
Tools & Templates
A Business Case is usually given in the form of a verbal presentation or a written document. As such, a business case requires document or presentation software. In order to identify the needs the proposed project or task will fulfill, consider conducting a gap analysis or SWOT analysis. A cost-benefit analysis is also recommended to identify potential risks and rewards of the proposed project.
upBOARD's Online Business Case Development Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Business Case Development techniques, upBOARD’s online Business Case Development collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s library of other innovation management online best practice tools and templates, including:
Agile Innovation Process, Business Case Development, Business Model Canvas, Concept Development, Concept Screening, Concept Testing, Customer Empathy Map, Customer Problem Statements, Design Thinking, Innovation Funnel Management Process, Innovation Horizons Model, Innovation Roadmap, Jobs to be Done, Lean Startup, Listening Hats, Open Innovation Process, Painstorming, Rapid Prototyping, SCAMPER, S-Curve Mapping, Stage Gate Process, Technology Life Cycle, Technology Scouting, and Teece’s Win-Lose Innovation Model.