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Business Case

Discuss about the Critical Analysis of a Project Business Case.

The purpose of this business case on Millennium Project was to develop a project that intends to get people inspired towards adopting a futuristic learning approach. The goals of this project include:

  • Improvement in global thinking and futuristic approach towards research and study.
  • Conduct a feasibility study to check issues based on the analysis of phase one, research and the launch of the new project.
  • Collaborate with government and private institutions for long reach and funds
  • Create a central source of early warning signals
  • Create a platform to enable global access to resources.
  • Develop an Information system which has updated databases of resources published by the scholars from all over the world( University of Southern Maine , 2012).

The approach taken for the development of the business is through the use of a process which involves identification of issues and then their resolution. The approach is organized into following steps:

  • Issues Selection: Selection of Issues based on the priority for addressing
  • Panel Selection: Identify the panel from available resources that has people with good knowledge and access to the data related to future world issues. Select the best panel based on various criteria related to quality development.
  • Information Scanning: This involves review of the information obtained from conferences, internet research, and other published documents and through direct contacts with other futuristic organization(Community Planning, 2014).
  • Scenario Construction: Construct a scenario in which the images of future can be investigated to identify issues and opportunities such that the same can be analyzed and evaluated.
  • Rating: The results from the above information obtained would be rated by a Planning Committee that would work to identify issues that need resolution as top priorities using a matrix and weight assignment approach.
  • Review: Research panel would be deployed for conducting a review on those filtered issues to understand their threat levels such that most promising policies for their resolution can be identified.
  • Advisory: An advisory committee along with the core staff of the project would be involved in the preparation of a structured questionnaire for panellist to work on(Rasche & Seisreiner, 2012).

In today’s dynamic world, changes in information and technology are rapid and thus, a need is always there to keep oneself updated on the latest. A continuous progress of human kind towards better decision making and assuming of a leadership role is required. Further, it has become important that organizations and people who a responsible approach towards a sustainable development. It is needed that people today adopt global thinking and develop strategies to learn from global practices rather than solely depending on the local knowledge. This reflects upon the need for having a global and futuristic thinking which this project is going to promote (Jerome C. Glenn  & Theodore J. Gordon, 1996).

The current system is not efficient enough to take care of the futuristic developments in a sustainable manner as the processes used are not organized and thus, researches done on the issues are not sound. Political issues still go unresolved most times which affects the harmony and cause conflicts in management of development operations. These conflicts introduce hurdles in development of national policies. Moreover, the database that is used by the development organizations is not structured which makes sharing of information a difficult task. Also, the interface used for accessing information system is not currently updated with the latest technology.  These difficulties serve as barriers to creating a global and future oriented political approach to development. The business case clearly defines the purpose of this project which is to build a reliable system of development which involves continuous updates, improvements in the thinking, updates on futuristic information through the use of a wide range of media, and development of new and relevant policies using research and institutionalization. The project aims to develop a technologically enabled Information system which can generate prior warning on global issues so that the right action can be taken on time. Two key parts of the business case discussed include research and development where research involves feasibility study of the project while development involves actual development of a unified information system to be used for global learning and development. For conducting Feasibility Study of the project, there are two options that can be exercises including:

Project Resources

Option 1: Collecting opinions and knowledge about issues and their resolution from futurist scholars to under how to the Millennium project can be organized and implemented through the use of interview methods.

Option 2: Another option can be use of long range forecasting methods with reports and strategy meetings for conducting feasibility.

The scope of the Millennium project include

  • Collecting wide range of information from various research sources including researches from scholars, popularized development models, periodicals and research databases.
  • Addressing local, national as well as regional issues by taking a global approach to learning and development.
  • Take a global approach for resolution but also give sufficient attention to national, regional, and local issues
  • Ensure accurate and continuous availability of the data required for taking decisions.
  • Make the information systems sound enough and capable of holding large amount of data which can be used for current issues as well as serve as future reference.
  • Define the goals clearly and make the methods more quantitative to support analysis
  • Encourage and update the new, innovative ideas globally.
  • Make the information available across all the participating organization of the Millennium project(OECD, 2007).

Timelines: The business case defines the phase I of this project that was to be carried out during 1993 in which the research information was made available globally. After that, a survey was to be conducted to gather latest information for research which was expected to be completed by 2000.

The key stakeholders to the Millennium development project as identified from the business case presented included:

The lookout panel: This panel was a group constructed from a large number of interested experts and informed participants who were involved in observing and assessing data related to future issues.

The Project planning committee: The committee was constructed to evaluate the data which was collected during research using the matrix approach. The issues that were to be evaluated would already be filtered by eliminating unimportant or less important issues.

Research panels: Research panel was involved in the analyse of the filtered results such that they would come up with a list of priority issue that were presented to the Advisory panel (Stasse, Doherty, & Poe, 2000).

The Advisory Panel and Millennium Project staff: Advisory panel along with the project staff were involved in the preparation of structured questionnaires for conducting surveys with panels across the globe.

Participating Institutions: The role of these institutions was to participate in the feedback survey and provide updates to the committee on policy related issues. Some of these institutions were also the part of planning committee. This institute also included government as well as private organizations that are providing help by giving funds for research (Juma & Cheong, 2005). The project was strategically aligned towards the development goal of the sponsor organization

The project has multiple donors that have provided funds for the development and it is expected the project would gather funds from them to the tune of $US 30 million. The cost estimates were calculated by taking inputs from think tanks and UNU feasibility study reports.

Project Resources

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Lookout Panels

$35,000

$70,000

$140,000

Research panels

$250,000

$300,000

$400,000

Information System Consulting

$70,000

$60,000

$50,000

Hardware, Software and Training

$70,000

$50,000

$25,000

Commissioned Studies

$15,000

$20,000

$25,000

LDC Equipment Upgrades

$50,000

$75,000

$50,000

Fellows & Interns

$34,000

$52,000

$102,000

Project Personnel

$150,000

$300,000

$400,000

Benefits

$45,000

$90,000

$120,000

Telecom/Postage/Expenses

$32,000

$32,000

$32,000

Printing & Disks

$25,000

$25,000

$25,000

Editing & Translation

$10,000

$25,000

$50,000

Travel & Related Costs

$30,000

$45,000

$60,000

Publications & Education

$20,000

$25,000

$30,000

Subtotal

$836,000

$1,169,000

$1,509,000

Contingency @ 5% 

$42,000

$58,000

$75,000

Overhead @ 14% 

$123,000

$172,000

$222,000

Total

$1,001,000

$1,399,000

$1,802,000

(Mitchell Madison Group, 2008)

The business case does not identify specific income that was to be generated from the project but it did identify various income sources that the project would explore to earn income. These included Donor initiated look­out panels, Donor initiated Research Panels, Private foundations, Corporate contributions, Government purchase orders, and training. The information given in the business case was not sufficient enough to create a forecast of three years which was necessary for the cost benefit analysis. Although, the project did identify income sources but it was only the government project order that was explored to provide the expected income value which was $25,000 per order. However, this is still insufficient to provide a justification for the business case. 

Analysis

Option 1 of Feasibility Analysis

Summary

Description

Stakeholders

Collecting information by taking judgements of experts through interviews

Judgements were collected from experts from  34 countries through interviews in which they were asked t suggest ways to improve futuristic thinking of humanity and make it available for advance training, systematic feedback, public education and development policy making

Futurists and Scholars

Analysis and Comments

The information collected from experts was then given to respondents so that they could analyse the same and give comments.

Futurists and Scholar’s panel

Issue identification

The information and analysis resulted into identification of some patterns related to leading issues related to specific population and environment

Project staff (Thornton, 2015)

In the option 1 of feasibility analysis, the inputs were taken directly from the project stakeholder. When considering the business case, the purpose of a project is always to keep the stakeholders of the project satisfied and thus, taking inputs from stakeholders would add value to the business case (DOD, 2014). When considering various alternatives in a business case, some screening criteria can be used which test suitability and feasibility of a business case. In the alternative presented above in the table, the project appears suitable as it would be developed based on the stakeholder inputs and thus, would be relevant as well as ethical. Further, the feasibility of the project is also checked as the analysis is done by experts. In the issue identification, even the staffs were included. The staff included social workers who had the experience of working on various issues as well as on how to resolve them and thus, they can ensure that all practical issues that have already appeared are covered (KM, A, Coleman J, DW, & A, 2013). 

Summary

Description

Stakeholders

Long range prediction

Prediction algorithms and methods were used to identify priority issues related to learning and development

Research scholars

Reports and meetings

Strategic meetings were held where issues were discussed and based on the discussions; reports were developed by the expert panel. This report came up with the feasibility analysis of the project and suggestions for development

UNDP and Analysis experts

Meetings

Issues that were identified and presented in the report were discussed during a meeting at UN to take decisions for adoption and planning subsequent action.

UN members, UNDP members

In the option 2 of feasibility analysis, the issues are predicted using algorithms that are created based on the already available inputs about issues. When considering the business case, the purpose of a project is always to keep the case viable and the UN committee would be checking the viability of the project and only after that it would be approved (Iacono, Brown, & Holtham, 2009).

Options Summary

Summary

Option 1`

Option 2

A step by step approach that involved various project stakeholders directly in the discussion

It involved people directly including all stakeholders (KING COUNTY , 2012)

It involves only the experts who participated in the meeting

Use a reliable identification process for selecting priority issues

Issues identification and analysis of project feasibility was on the basis of judgements of stakeholders and thus, the process was moderately reliable

It was more of a methodological approach and the issues identification process involved expert algorithm and meetings and thus, the option was highly reliable

Both options look promising as they have their own benefits for the business case. Moreover, the project includes both options and thus, benefits of both the options would be there (Project Management Institute , 2000).

Project Risk Assessment

Option 1

Option 2

Probability

Impact

Risk Factor

Probability

Impact

Risk Factor

Project could actually take more time or budget than initially approved

High

High

high

Low

Low

Low

Issues identified may not be precise enough

Medium

Medium

High

high

low

low

Adaptability to the changing scenarios with respect to the development issues may suffer

Low

High

high

High

low

Low

Risk analysis is done so as to understand the impact and probability of risks such that appropriate measures can be taken to respond to risks when required. Responses to the identified risks in this case to be taken as follows:

  • Appropriate control measures involving monitoring of the project activities against the plan such that variations in budget utilization and time delays can be avoided.
  • If the issues identified are not precise enough, the measures decided to resolve them would not remain effective. However, the feasibility analysis stage of this project already takes inputs from both stakeholders and experts to analyse issues such that such a risk can be largely avoided( Deloitte Development LLC., 2014).
  • As the development issues are ongoing processes and thus, they can be generated in the real time and thus, adaptation to the changing needs is required. The project would remain successful with the perspective of the business case only when it is scalable, flexible and adaptable to taking more issues and defining new solutions(Iacono, Brown, & Holtham, 2009).

Conclusion and Recommendation

This business case fairly presented the answers to the key case analysis questions including financial impacts and business risks. There were also discussions on the business benefit from the project which was qualitatively justified but there was a lack of information on the monetary earning from the project because of the same, cost-benefit analysis could not be performed.

There were two approaches proposed for feasibility analysis and both were utilized in the case and thus, combined benefits were delivered to the Millennium project through the inputs from project representatives, futurists, readers and journalists. The process of data collection for the feasibility study was divided among different panels and a step by step process of evaluation was used which resulted into gathering of precise information. The time and money invested in the processes to identify the issues can be reduced if modern technology like software management systems can systematically decode the issues. Further, instead of interviews, a survey could also have been useful as well as cost effective to collect the information (UNSW, 2015).

References 

Deloitte Development LLC. (2014). Building a culture of continuous improvement in an age of disruption. Delloite.

University of Southern Maine . (2012). Business Case Analysis of Integrated Workplace Management System. University of Southern Maine .

Community Planning. (2014). Community Planning Toolkit. Community Places.

DOD. (2014). Business Case Analysis: . USA Department of defese.

Iacono, J., Brown, A., & Holtham, C. (2009). Research Methods – a Case Example of Participant Observation. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 39-46.

Jerome C. Glenn , & Theodore J. Gordon. (1996). The Millennium Project Feasibility Report. Smithsonian Institutio.

Juma, C., & Cheong, L. Y. (2005). Innovation: Applying Knowledge in Development. UN Task Force.

KING COUNTY . (2012).Accountable business transformation (abt) program final oversight report. King county auditor’s office..

KM, C., A, S., Coleman J, W. R., DW, B., & A, S. (2013). Qualitative analysis of round-table discussions on the business case and procurement challenges. PLOS.

Mitchell Madison Group. (2008). Vault Guide To The Case Interview. Duke University.

OECD. (2007). Innovation And Growth Rationale For An Innovation Strategy. OECD.

Project Management Institute . (2000). A guide to the Project Management Book of Knowledge . Project Management Institute .

Rasche, C., & Seisreiner, A. (2012). Guidelines for Business Case Analysis . University of Potsdam .

Stasse, M. L., Doherty, K., & Poe, M. (2000). PROGRAM-Based Review and Assessment : Tools and Techniques for Program Improvement . UMASS.

Thornton, G. (2015). Business Case . Ottawa Public Library.

UNSW. (2015). Writing a Case Analysis . UNSW.

USAID. (2009). A guide for training community health workers and volunteers to provide maternal and newborn Health Messages. USAID.

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