A business case is a document that helps to determine the feasibility of a project before a decision is made to embark on the project. The ultimate objective of a business case is to provide a recommendation that compels the reader to make an informed decision on whether a project should be initiated or not. It is usually the responsibility of the business analyst to document the business case and then present the findings and recommendation to the stakeholders.
The business analyst has to apply a well-structured approach to writing the business case and ensure it is compelling enough to enable the project sponsor to decide based on the recommended course of action.
To write a good business case report, the business analyst must analyse all aspects of a project in order to convey the best solutions. A good business case will help the project stakeholders, particularly the sponsor to make a better investment decision as it brings confidence and accountability.
There are many ways to ensure the business case conveys the intended message to the audience, but here are 7 tips that a business analyst can consider when writing a compelling business case:
Ensure your business case follows a systematic structure because it will help with ease of reading and aid understanding. The audience will find it easy to follow and digest the content if it's structured. Use short paragraphs, use headings, keep it brief and highlight important points.
Keep the business case simple, punchy and straight to the point because it will help the reader understand the points conveyed without loss of meaning.
3. Risk Identification:
Highlight risks so that the audience can quickly make an informed decision based on their risk appetite, investment benchmarks and other resource allocation.
4. Strategic Alignment:
Make sure the business case aligns with the organisation’s strategic intents. Discuss the vision, mission and goals of the organisation and revisit the business case to ensure alignment.
5. Problem Identification:
Ensure the business case clearly state the problems your organisation is trying to address. Some typical problems could include, cost reduction, reducing inefficiencies in the process, wrong technology or systems, misaligned culture and many more.
6. Market Demand:
Ensure you are able to demonstrate an understanding of the market demand; you also need to identify what drives the demand and the impact of the market demand on the business.
Ensure your projections rely on real data, such as accurate revenue numbers and forecasts should be based on realistic assumptions. The accuracy of data used to compile any forecast or make a recommendation will significantly affect the level of confidence the project sponsors will have on the business case.
When all is said and done, the business analyst must ensure they validate any assumptions made in the business case. The BA should aim to sit with the different stakeholders who have contributed in some shape or form to the document and run all relevant scenarios with them. The business analyst will also need to ensure the storyline is clear and compelling and the message is unambiguous to a third-party audience. Finally, the business analyst should spell-check the business case document before presenting it to the senior stakeholders and project sponsor.
To learn all about the tips and tricks on how to write compelling business cases that will get your stakeholders to say “yes” all the time, I have created an online course titled “The Business Analyst’s Playbook”. The course aims to help you hit the ground running on any project as a business analyst, with a proven process that hundreds of my students and I have used to successfully deliver multi-million pounds projects in some of the top organisations in the UK.