In the article that follows we are presenting a template for a Business Case Document. It is a document of high value created at the beginning of the project. Also, we provided two versions of this template: one in Excel, and one in Word. So, choose the one that best suits you, and start drafting your business case document.
The Importance of the Business Case Document
The Business Case Document is created during the early stage of the project. It is a formal document created with the intention to convince the decision maker to approve the action described in the document.
The goal of this document is to answer the questions why, what, how, and who.
The business case is used when an extra resource or expenditure on a project is needed. It explains the need, the expenses, the solution, and return on investments described in it. A well-written business case document lists all possible solutions to a given problem.
The formats and content of the business case differ from the needs of a project. This PMTips template outlines the basic one. The following sections are usually placed in this document:
- Project Basic Information
- Project Scope
- Cost Model
- ROI Summary
- Project Risks
- Comment Section
The most important part is the Cost Model section and Return on Investment – ROI. They should cover details on project and monthly executions, expenses, and revenue.
Things to Consider
If your customer is external, they may never see this or may never be involved with it. If your customer is internal, it's very possible that they'll not only see it, they'll be asked to help create it. The key is to try to justify the existence of the project and the work to be performed. The best way to do that is to show some cost/benefit analysis or return on investment (ROI).
The Business Case document doesn't have to be an extremely detailed document - leave that for the statement of work (SOW) and, of course, for requirements documents. It does, however, need to speak very well to executive management and the key decision makers if there is to be any hope of kicking the project off. Someone, somewhere, makes the final decision on whether or not to throw $$ and personnel resources at this effort and this document needs to convince them to approve that effort.
Our goal of the resources is providing our readers with some hopefully meaningful samples and templates of documents that may be needed on their projects. The Business Case Document can come in handy. It will give you a starting point when you are drafting yours.
So, feel free to download it, and if you have any notes and suggestions, post them in the comments section at the end. We are eager to know your opinion.