Business cases

How to Develop a Business Case

How to write a business case

Table of Contents

A business case is used to assess the value of potential projects and essentially sell them to key stakeholders within your organization. Writing a business case for the first time can be daunting, so we’ve created this blog to guide you through how to write a business case.

 

Why do you need a business case?

A business case is not to be confused with a business plan. It is used to provide justification for a project or task and evaluates the estimated costs, risks, benefits, and potential delays. It is a method for evaluating potential projects against the criteria that project managers need to execute against, such as benefit realization and time constraints.  

Creating a business case is essential for providing transparency around the resources needed and setting out clear goals. It also enables you to prioritize those potential projects that will provide the most value for your company – particularly useful if resources are stretched. Read below to learn how to develop a business case.

 

How to Develop a Business Case in 3 Steps

  1. Conduct Thorough Research Before Writing Your Business Case

Your business case is the foundation for your project’s approval, making it essential that your proposal is well-researched and aligns with your business strategy. Before drafting your business case, confirm that the idea you’re presenting is realistic and addresses a critical business need. If it doesn’t meet these criteria, it’s likely a non-starter. Conduct comprehensive research on your industry, your business, and any existing alternatives to your idea. Gather concrete data and statistics to support your case, and rigorously verify the logic and potential impact of your project.

  1. Develop a Detailed Implementation Strategy

Outline how your project will be executed, detailing the resources required—not just financially, but also in terms of time and personnel. Identify potential risks and establish mitigation strategies. Clearly define how your project will achieve its objectives and outline the key milestones. Assign responsibilities for each stage of the project, ensuring accountability and clarity in execution.

  1. Compile and Present Your Business Case

Once your research and planning are complete, compile your findings and recommendations into a formal business case document. Be prepared to present and defend your proposal, whether in person to a board or through business case software. Make sure your business case includes a comprehensive summary and attaches detailed documents for stakeholders who wish to delve deeper into the specifics.

By following these steps, you’ll be well-equipped to write a compelling business case that clearly communicates the value and feasibility of your project.

 

What Goes Into Writing a Business Case?

The elements you’re required to include in your business case may depend on your organization’s in-house processes, but most include the following: 

  • A brief overview of each area of your business case, known as an ‘executive summary’ 
  • The project objectives and how they fulfill a business need 
  • An outline of the project plan 
  • The project scope – all the tasks and deliverables that will be executed as part of the project 
  • The background information around the business case, including the problem it will solve and who the key stakeholders in the business are 
  • The projected benefits of the project (including non-monetary benefits) and its success criteria 
  • The cost and potential risks of completing the project, including how they will be mitigated 
  • The implementation strategy 

 

Summary: How to Write a Business Case

When you write a business case, take your time and ensure it aligns with real-world problems and business objectives. You’ll also need to make sure that you have a clear idea of the projected value, cost of risk of your idea (including those benefits that aren’t linked to monetary value). Plan out how you’ll put your plan in place and essentially create a guide for project managers to follow, then get your supporting documents written up and ready to go.  

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