Ben is the owner of Action Agile. He has been practicing agile methods since 2001 and has run his own consultancy since 2008.
A good business case focuses on business value
A good business case should be the foundation on which all subsequent work is built. Often business cases are written in a way to acquire funding, as opposed to demonstrating value to the business for the change. A good business case should include the following:
1. Business value – This phrase is often bandied around organizations without any real understanding of what business value
is. Given that a business is a commercial structure, it’s useful to state business value in commercial terms. Business Value = Revenue Increased + Revenue Protected + Cost Reduced + Cost Avoided.
2. Feedback – The business case must contain some mechanism by which we can provide feedback on the progress and success of the
project. Often projects are given budgets and allowed to disappear into the black hole of delivery, without any real feedback occurring.
The business case should contain the mechanism by which the project will feed back to the business on progress so that the business can regularly decide if the project or change is a wise investment.
3. Mechanism for prioritization – The business case should contain some means by which prioritization can be done between projects or
discrete pieces of work. A common way to do this is by using ‘Cost of Delay’ divided by ‘Duration’, which is a variation of the weighted ‘shortest job fi rst’ scheduling policy. This takes business value into consideration and allows for prioritization regardless of the nature of the changes or the projects being prioritized.
4. Finally, a business case should be short and accessible, with a clearly defi ned goal. Often business cases are tomes of complex
financials and completely inaccessible (in terms of a physical and an academic nature). Business cases should be easy to share and to
communicate. – Ben Hughes, Owner of Action Agile – Innovative Agile Coaching