Project Management #2 – Establishing a comprehensive business case is an essential part to succeeding.

on Monday, 06 January 2014.

Crystal Clear Management Solutions have worked with a number of organisations, successfully delivering their programmes and projects.  This is second blog in the project management series and will focus on the need to develop a comprehensive business case that includes hard tangible information and the essential people aspect to guarantee project success.

With the current fast moving markets and to address ever increasing demands from shareholders, companies have to be constantly changing in order to survive.  It is therefore assumed that all change is good.  If this is the case, why do 70% of transformations, mergers, business process re-organisations fail to meet the original intentions or perceptions? Why does these statistics never appear at the beginning of the contract? Why do we assume that our projects are superior and will succeed? What happens if it does not succeed? What are the main causes of project failure?

After reading published papers and from experience, it has been concluded that the main reason for project failure is the lack of well defined strategic goals complemented by the lack of acknowledgement or understanding that people and teamwork are important. Furthermore, having the change measured through hard tangible issues i.e. deals, strategy, accountancy and marketing does not enable a sustainable change. The obsession of the bottom line can be damaging if looked in isolation as the only catalyst for change.

Again starting with the end in mind, a typical business case covers all aspects, impacts and outcomes of the intended change and includes the following: -

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Opportunity
  • Alternatives
  • Benefits
  • Costs
  • Return on investment
  • Financial Analysis
  • Assumptions
  • Constraints
  • Market Analysis
  • Organizational Considerations
  • Sensitivity Analysis
  • Project Description
  • Implementation Plan
  • Recommendations

Very rarely does a business case cover the potential resistance to the change due to fear of the unknown or an expectation of loss.  It is only once the business case and the implementation timeline is finalised, then there is a sudden desire and need to engage people.  It is usually left to the individual project managers to engage where necessary and persons who resist change are noted as time wasters.  Therefore the preference is to “bulldoze” the change to all the people and accept all persons to be happy.

For the main benefits of working with Crystal Clear Management Solutions, we develop a holistic business and think of all the aspects to make the project successful.  Therefore to make a more successful business case, we consider that people cannot improve or do their days jobs when they are busy coping with constant changes that they do not understand. In addition, as part of the business case, career development, training, coaching and welfare of individuals is incorporated.

Therefore isn’t it obvious that making people are important aspect of the business case and consider the development of their people in parallel to the strategic goal would increase the performance of the change. There is adequate research including does completed by Gallup that there is a direct correlation between employee engagement and profitability / sales and employee retention and customer satisfaction.  Highly engaged individuals were found in high-performance organisations. The main reason for change is to increase the performance, so why are people not engaged from the start.

In the next instalment we will look at engaging the stakeholders for project success.  We would love to hear your experiences on Project Management, Business Case and Engaging Stakeholders, please leave your comments here or contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Crystal Clear Management Solutions provides Project and Change implementation support to large and global businesses across Mining, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas and the Utilities.

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