Business justification in practice

Before the implementation of changes or the implementation of the new IT system, was the work on the business case completed?
If not, then our future actions will certainly be at risk of failure. If so, it is worth to reach out to them and study carefully before drawing up the project plan. Why?

Well, because in the business case, we find information whether the undertaking is beneficial for the organization and whether it will remain beneficial in the entire project. The justification must contain information about the conditions that change in time.
We develop business case after identifying an idea for a new venture and before commencing works aimed at its implementation. Its main goal is – of course – to assess whether the new venture is and will be profitable.

How to do it and what tools should I use? In the first place, we will probably reach Prince 2. But there are also other tools. It may be helpful to BABOK (A Guide to the Business Analysis of Body of Knowledge), which is a collection of good practices (collected for over 10 years) in the field of business analysis. This study was created in IIBA (International Institute of Business Analyst) – an international organization gathering professionals and, above all, analysts.

One of the parts of good practice is the list of 50 items on techniques used in business analysis. I do not think that most companies can afford such a detailed study, so it is worth (as usual in nature) to choose those that are important to our needs. Here is an attempt to limit the process of preparing a business case, in which I think we need the following information:

• List of assumptions and limitations,
• List of business needs,
• Specification of the scope of the solution,
• List of threats, black scenarios and stakeholder concerns.

Applying good BABOK practices, we can apply commonly known techniques, useful in the process of preparing business justification:
• Estimating the solution,
• Metrics – is an absolute numerical measurement that contains pieces of data in relation to one or several dimensions. We usually build a metric from metrics and indicators,
• KPI (key performance indicator) is an indicator related to the goal. Performance means measuring our performance and determining the degree of achievement of the goal, Key, while it means that it is the most important of all other indicators,
• Risk analysis – nobody likes it, but a well-prepared risk analysis, containing not only a description of risk, but above all a corrective action plan – it can prove invaluable,
• And, of course, SWOT analysis is not missing.
• As well as the evaluation of the solution provider, implementation provider.

After developing the justification, we will use it at all stages of the project, ranging from specification of requirements, prioritizing individual requirements, verifying them, validating – in a word, the entire project management process.
But it is also important that, as part of productivity, do not spend too much time on ideas, initiatives that will never see the light of day. That is why it is worth to stage this work by building – first an outline, and then (if preliminary estimates show justification for undertaking efforts in a new project), expanding it and refining it. Thanks to this we can get accurate and reliable results.

We know nothing is certain, but change is always certain. In the course of implementation, we receive new information and should be considered and verified in terms of profitability. That is why in large projects this process was usually carried out in weekly intervals.
When our business justification (ideally containing at least two or three options for an IT solution) one should make a decision with full awareness of profitability, which we read from the financial analysis – a significant component of the entire change process.

3 Comments

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