The Business Case is the responsibility of the Executive who must make sure that it contains all of the information necessary to support a decision. It must be aligned to any existing business strategy or programme objectives.
The Business Case may be delegated to the Project Manager but this does not remove the accountability of the Executive to make sure that it is a sound document. The number of people completing this document will depend on the size of the project. Larger projects may require a dedicated team of experts and a smaller one just one person.
Not all projects are stand alone. If they form the input of another project in a programme the Business Case should reflect this.
In this case, documentation at the programme level may provide a lot of the necessary information. A lot of the information should be in the Project Mandate.
Detailed information on risk will be kept in the Risk Log. The Business Case will be reviewed continually and refined as and when details are available. Once the Project Plan is complete many costs and risks should be known with greater accuracy. The investment benefits are constantly reviewed through the Business Case.
The Executive must approve the Business Case before it will engender support from the Project Board.
This approval process is part of ‘Initiating a Project'.
The Business Case will be reviewed at the end of each stage to make sure it is still valid and the progress of the project remains on track. This will require implementation of configuration management to control changes correctly and approved before the Business Case is reviewed. The Business Case is a ‘living’ document against which all decisions are made.
The Business Case is not just for use within a narrow group in the project.
It must be communicated to the Stakeholders who must have an opportunity to give comment and feedback.
This should be outlined in the Communication Plan.
The Business Case should confirm that all benefits have been realised in a reasonable time frame at the closure of a project.
It will also support the Post-Project Review Plan which in turn will consider whether the project has been successful based upon the Business Case.
If a feasibility study has been carried out the Business Case should support the chosen option.
Much of the information should be n the Project Mandate but if this is lacking you may need to go through the process of ‘Preparing a Project Brief’ to add weigh to the Business Case. This will lead to the process of ‘Authorising Initiation’ (DP1) by the Project Board.
The Business Case is part of the Project Initiation Document (PID) and will form part of the process ‘Refining the Business Case and Risks’ (IP3).
It will contain the latest information form the Project Plan. This will lead to the process of ‘Authorising a Project’ (DP2) by the Project Board.
At each end stage, the Business Case is updated using information from the outgoing stage and plans for the next.
This process is covered by ‘Updating a Project Business Case’ (SB3). This information is critical for the Project Board when ‘Authorising a Stage or Exception Plan’.
Also, each Project Issue is reviewed as part of the process ‘Examining Project Issues’ (CS4) for the impact on the Business Case.
The Business Case provides much of the input for the process ‘Identifying Follow-on Actions’ (CP2).
It is a good idea to speak to the Stakeholders to get their input for the Business Case with comments on any business objectives and the potential impact the project may have.