Friday, 31 July 2009

Developing a strategic business case

Challenge questions:

  1. Overall – how can you evidence that the investment in development, establishing and running of the change you wish to see is worth it? In other words how (much) will the benefits (all the benefits) accruing from this change outweigh – to a substantial and measurable level – the costs (all the costs) involved in getting there?
  2. Why this business case – what matters have prompted it to be investigated?
  3. Why is now a good time to be doing this?
  4. Why is the status quo (existing arrangement) no longer acceptable or viable?
  5. How would you describe the vision of the business case in less than 40 words?
  6. What is inside and what is outside the scope of the business case?
  7. What is the value of the proposal to which stakeholders?
  8. How will the time taken to get to the change affect the perceived value of it?
  9. How does this business case fit with the emerging strategy & direction of the overall organisation – and the individual strategies and directions of the various directorates & divisions?
  10. How will this business case be ‘future proofed’ – in other words how does this business case match against various future scenarios?
  11. What are the range of factors / risks / issues that may help or hinder the path towards establishing this change – and how will these be harnessed, prevented or tackled?
  12. What options were examined and what criteria were used to choose the recommended option?
  13. Who are all the stakeholders and how have they been involved the development of the business case? What reasons are there for not involving some of them?
  14. How have you ensured that you have considered all the options – using creativity, challenge (especially customer / user / citizen challenge) and benchmarking?
  15. How have matters relating to legal / governance / finance / procurement / HR / ICT (etc) been addressed early on in the process to develop the business case?
  16. If any of these matters (above) were not addressed at the outset, what are the reasons why?
  17. How will this business case impact upon other projects and programmes – including collaborative ones?
  18. How will the benefits of the eventual arrangement be realised – that is made to be real?
  19. How will these benefits be distributed – and how will this relate to the investments made?
  20. When will the path (to the change that you are planning) come back ‘above the line’ and begin to show a return on the investment (however each of those is measured)?
  21. How will the process of the development on past the acceptance of the business case be managed and scrutinised / governed?
  22. How will changes to the plan of action be regulated and incorporated?
  23. What is the communication strategy underpinning the development of this business case?

(Many of these points are based upon the book ‘Managing Successful Programmes’ published by TSO and compiled by the OGC. Copies of the full book can be ordered from the OGC website:

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