A project business case is developed well before a project is given the go-ahead and its purpose is to convince senior management or a potential sponsor or customer of the potential worth and value of the proposed project.
It is used by senior management to assess the justification of a proposed project or as the basis for comparison of a number of projects competing for limited funds. It can also be used to assess the options for a project that has already received funding. If approved, it confirms senior management support and/or resourcing for the project as outlined in the project brief. Effectively it is a high-level map or outline of the proposed project that (when approved) guides the project sponsor and project manager.
Generally speaking, the project manager does not write the project business case. In fact, the project manager is appointed only when the business case has been approved and the project has been given the go ahead. However, once the project has been given the go ahead, it is the project manager who must use what's in the project business case to scope out the project and, during project initiation develop the project charter or Project Initiation Document (PID). To do this the project manager must refer back to what was outlined in the original business case so it's important that you are familiar with how a business case is written and also that you can analyse it quickly and identify its strengths and weaknesses.
Your first task for this program is to review a project business case. You can either:
1. Use a project business case from your own company or a project you are working on (or about to commence with) or,
2. You can use one of the project business case documents found in this unit.
The case studies provided in unit one are:
- The Wireless Hill Project Business Case,
- National Broad Band Project.
There are no right or wrong answers however, after listening to the tutorial on the business case you should have a good idea of what should be included in a business case.
In reviewing your business case, the following points might help you (although you do not have to address any/all of these points):
1. Organisational strategy
- Comment on whether you think the project goals link clearly to the organisational goals or strategies.
2. Establishing the case/argument
- Does the summary stat clearly the project is needed?
- Who are the users or the beneficiaries of this project?
- Has it clearly listed the deliverables and quality criteria?
- What is the rationale for the project?
- Is there a cost-benefit analysis? If so how compelling is it?
- Is there a timeframe and a preliminary schedule in place?
- Has the initial stakeholder analysis been conducted and how realistic do you think it is?
- Is there an outline of the communication plan or strategy and/or the reporting requirement.
- What does the risk analysis tell you? Do any risks identified have suitable mitigation strategies in place?
- What assumptions does the business case make?
- If you were scoring this business case out of 10 with one; terrible and 10; the best possible — what score would you give this business case and why?
To be a role model to others it is important for managers to be organised and have a personal work plan that identifies their goals, as well as the processes to achieve those goals and the mechanisms to monitor and adjust the plan.
This task can be completed in your own workplace using your own position description or via a simulation using the college case study (John Reads Bookshop).
1. Locate your position description (role statement, duty statement or performance plan) and the organisation's mission, vision, goals and objectives. If you are not currently at work or prefer to use the case study alternative, then download the position description along with details of the company's strategic directions etc. For this task, you will need to assume that you are the Manager in the case study scenario (and who's PD you have downloaded).
2. Using the position description and the strategic information on the organisation's plan, develop a Personal Work Plan (for you or the fictional management role) and the actions to achieve them. To do this you will need to:
a. Identify your personal work goals, plans, activities and career objectives,
b. Think about your roles, responsibilities and accountabilities,
c. Think about the goals and objectives in the organisation's plan.
3. Your plan will need to be in landscape and in a table format using either word or excel and should have the following headings:
a. Organisational goals and objectives (just select one or two key goals/objectives here) you will need to relate these to your performance requirements, responsibilities and accountabilities,
b. Personal work performance goals — your goals should match the organisational goals and objectives relating to your responsibility and accountability areas and address the goals/objectives identified in a. above,
c. Actions to achieve these goals — here you need to identify formal or informal learning, approval requirements, estimated costs etc.,
d. Timeframe to achieve goals.
4. Now that you have a personal work plan you need to establish a method to measure your success in achieving your work goals. Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) are measurable indicators that can track your progress as well as reveal areas where you need support/help.
a. Develop five (KPI's) that you could use as a target to measure your success in achieving the goals of your personal work plan,
b. For each KPI identify the evidence you would gather to measure it.
The project business case discloses the necessary information such as business requirements, cost-benefit analysis to determine whether expected result of the project justify the required investment or not. It is used for decision making as well as establishing project boundaries. The project manager ensures that the project effectively meets the organizational goals as well as requirements of a broad set of stakeholders, as defined in the business case (Jeston 2014). The review of the given case study on Wireless Hill project business case is as follows.
The project objectives form the basis of project scopes and results. The objectives of the Wireless Hill project can be summarised as follows:-
Stage-1:- Preparation of the Wireless Hill Centenary Celebration. The celebrations are to take place over the month following the opening ceremony.
Stage-2:- Realise and achieve the Wireless Hill Vision 2020. The objective guides about Wireless Hill’s future development and provides vision for the following key themes in which the objectives of Wireless Hill Vision 2020are stated.
- Celebrate the site’s European and Aboriginal heritage as well as determine the hidden value of Wireless Hill as a site for community benefit ;
- Recognise and development of the significance of cultural heritage for the wireless communications system as well as Indigenous history.
- Preserve, enhance the natural environment as well as park’s environmental values along with provision of ongoing rehabilitation;
- Effective management of the park for all environmental aspects by one authority.
- Enhance Wireless Hill’s educational value and interpretive knowledge with improved existing facilities for the local community and park visitors;
- Integrate the user groups’ activities within Wireless Hill and maintain the social amenity of Wireless Hill as a learning and recreational destination.
- Provide and ensure safe community access with major focus on universal access for all transport modes;
- Manage and control ready access for vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other park users, particularly in evenings for anti-social behaviour and vandalism prevention.
- Determine the commercial opportunities and external funding sources to ensure the viability of Wireless Hill in the long term as well as to find other funding opportunities to offset the costs of Park management and maintenance;
- Implement logical and well-organized management for the future.
Within project scope the following items are considered.
- Develop interpretation plan for Wireless Hill with stakeholder input;
- Develop the concept and museum plan presentations along with information sessions for Wireless Hill to EMT/OMT and elected member with feedback;
- Develop the business case of the project for council approval.
The relationship between projects outcomes and Wireless Hill are shown in table below.
Contribute to a safe, healthy and active community
The project ensures that Wireless Hill will have appropriate facilities to relax, recreate, communicate, socialize and learn. In addition, the project provides visual access to parked vehicles as well as community security services access. All these make the community vivid and connected.
Provide public places of high quality
The site’s implementation plan development helps to develop strategies, which raise the community experience and viability of museum space.
Maintain positive image
The site will timely provide the integrated visitor’s experience for the centenary celebration and hence maximise the site’s potential at time and in future.
Preserve natural areas
The project aligns with Wireless Hill reserve management plan to enhance and preserve natural areas.
Reduce ecological footprint
The improvement and integration of the imperative and informational signage across the site will educate the park visitor about the environment.
Sustainability of long term asset
Make the museum building available as multi-use educational and exhibition space.
Project cost and Cost-benefits: It consists of the following.
- Project phases and staging costs;
- Overall total project costs;
- Funding required for project implementation;
- Wireless Hill Income and maintenance.
- Strategic risk assessment:- It covers the risks that is related to decision for project proceedings.
- Project risk assessment:- It gives a preliminary assessment of foreseen risks throughout the project.
It is done to determine each stakeholder’s indicative engagement level and relevant communication methods.
- Preparing the site for centenary celebration of the Wireless Hill.
- Realising Wireless Hill’s 2020 vision.
- Connecting and appreciating the cultural, environmental, indigenous heritage of the site.
- Development of the museum into a multi-use exhibition and learning space for the future.
The project considered as an organizational impact and the project team consists of people from strategic community development, technical services, and management services.
A personal work plan outlines the set of goals and methods to achieve those goals by a professional and offers a better understanding of project’s scope. The following is the personal work plan of project manager of John Readings Pty Ltd. As per project manager’s work plan, Wireless Hill project is approached in stages for preparation of the centenary celebration of the Wireless Hill and realisation of the Wireless Hill 2020 Vision (Heagney 2016).
· Full expansion of store market in Asia
· Global expansion of online market.
· Take-over of two primary market competitors
· Conduct business analysis according to the market research report. Offering the book stock in local languages.
· Procuring, selling and delivering range of online products.
· A community workshop is conducted to identify the key considerations, outline the strategic objectives, identify any additional issues /opportunities, and develop a vision for the sustainable future of John Readings Pty Ltd.
· Design, implementation, evaluation of new coordinated work/life program to align to the corporate goal to attract and keep innovative, customer-focused employee in order to expand business.
· Inclusion of service level agreement to provide appropriate advice, assistance support to managers implementing the program.
Within 4 months.
Within 6 months
They are measurable indicators for tracking one’s performance progress as well as highlighting areas where help and support is required.
Develop and implement a master plan for the implementation of communication strategy and issues of concern to the external community.
· Assemble a working party to brainstorm the process.
· Develop a plan.
· Develop survey to gauge success of new process
Survey results showing 97% or higher satisfaction with new process.
Introduction of IT system for sales order, inventory management
Develop enhanced IT functionality and capability as well as ecommerce strategy and action plan.
50% increase in sales.
Heagney, J., 2016. Fundamentals of project management. Amacom.
Jeston, J., 2014. Business process management. Routledge.
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