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Stop writing bad business cases

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The new mode of writing business cases focuses on the benefits of the idea rather than the cost. It should also be about speed and capture of data rather than tomes of content. Find out how to create a better business case.

Published in: Business

Stop writing bad business cases

  1. 1. STOP WRITING BAD BUSINESS CASES!
  2. 2. About Nick Coster Head of Training services and Co-founder at Brainmates. I have been developing and managing products for over 20 years. I have trained the Essentials of Product Management to over 2000 product management professionals. I have also consulted to clients whose products include legal accounting software, implantable medical devices, fashion, personal training, pay TV services and financial services. 2
  3. 3. Who is Brainmates? A Product Management consulting and training business To provide experienced Product Management to businesses that want to truly understand their customers’ needs .... Our mission: About Brainmates 3
  4. 4. ... to develop innovative products that their customers love. 4
  5. 5. STOP WRITING BAD BUSINESS CASES!
  6. 6. Things We Like…
  7. 7. But who likes business cases? Why?
  8. 8. EXERCISE Fear Of Business Cases Who has had to write a business case? Who has had to read one? Who enjoyed the process of either?
  9. 9. The Problem With Business Cases… They try to predict the future.
  10. 10. The Problem With Business Cases… The are soulless and dull for even the most interesting ideas.
  11. 11. The Problem With Business Cases… People don’t read them
  12. 12. WHY DO WE NEED A BUSINESS CASE?
  13. 13. The Business Case Is A Decision Making Tool It helps the business quantify the opportunity. Maximise its investments. Find the opportunities that can deliver the highest return. It helps the business prioritise it’s activities. Businesses have limited resources. Determine the best opportunities to allocate it’s people and money. Captures Assumptions and Risks Understand the risk of any new opportunity and the impact it may have on the business.
  14. 14. The Business Case is the Champion of the Idea The Business Case is the sales pitch. It must tell a story. It must demonstrate that the idea will enable the organisation to hit its goals. Without a Business Case, ideas remain as ideas.
  15. 15. PROBLEMS TO AVOID WHEN WRITING BUSINESS CASES
  16. 16. Don’t Apply The Usual Process The usual process is to speak to a few stakeholders, write a Business Case for the full investment, circulate to the stakeholders and obtain approval. This means that the Business Case inputs are not entirely accurate. Finalise The Business Case Step 1
  17. 17. Don’t Justify The Spend Business Cases are too focused on defending the solution and the amount required to fund the solution or project.
  18. 18. Don’t Make It All About The Spreadsheet There is more to the Business Case than the spreadsheet. Often many find it difficult to understand the bigger picture in the spreadsheet.
  19. 19. Don’t Start With A Document The Business Case process begins before the documentation. Investigate the benefits of the idea by engaging with: Stakeholders Customers Suppliers
  20. 20. A BETTER WAY TO DEVELOP A BUSINESS CASE
  21. 21. Reverse The Perspective Focus on describing the opportunity investment before justifying costs. This means researching the benefits of the opportunity: Quantifying the benefits through additional revenue or decrease cost in the business.
  22. 22. Do It Incrementally Instead, ask for investment to fund the learning of the opportunity, the solution design and the final delivery of the project. The incremental learnings will enable better inputs into the final business case. Finalise The Business Case Prototype The Idea Research The Opportunity 1st Investment 2nd Investment Final Investment
  23. 23. Make It About The Story Storytelling is part of our DNA. Humans have been passing on key cultural and historical information through narratives for all of human history. It's how we have and will continue to absorb and relay information. Business cases are no different. To get buy-in, it needs to focus on a compelling story.
  24. 24. Cost StructureBusiness Benefit Target Audience Target Audience Benefits Target Audience Problem Solution Concept Competing Alternatives Key Differentiator Revenue Model Idea Name: www.brainmates.com.au Risk & Assumptions
  25. 25. EXERCISE Use A Business Case Canvas Capture your findings in a 1 page Business Case Canvas.
  26. 26. Cost StructureBusiness Benefit Target Audience Target Audience Benefits Target Audience Problem Solution Concept Competing Alternatives Key Differentiator Revenue Model Idea Name: www.brainmates.com.au Risk & Assumptions
  27. 27. Any Questions?
  28. 28. Connect with Brainmates Brainmates Group @Brainmates #prodmgmt Facebook.com/Brainmates www.brainmates.com.au info@brainmates.com.au 1800 272 466 30

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