Business Case Follow-up – Do you do it?

Whenever you are looking to do something at an organization that requires a measurable amount of effort you will be told to provide a business case. If you have ever had to do this you know that there is a fair bit of work in the front, but is there any follow-up afterwards?

Whether it is to go to a conference, buy/upgrade an application or hire someone new, we have all been asked to put together a business case. After all, those holding the purse strings need to be able to justify spending money. The effort that needs to go into a business case may vary depending on requirements of the case you need to put forward, and it’s likely related to the amount of money we are looking to invest.

Believe me. I understand going through this exercise will outline whether or not what you are looking to do is worth it or not. My question focuses on what happens after we decide that we are going to a conference, upgrading or hiring. What happens to the business case after we get something approved, are they ever reviewed to see if we met the objectives?

It’s possible that the business case gets filed somewhere never to see the light of day again. Which makes me wonder if the process of building the business case is only half cooked. In my opinion, the business case should include a post approval review to see how we measured up. Depending on what we are asking for this might need to be conducted at intervals after the fact.

With all the effort and information you put into the business case it’s possible that it could also be re-purposed to help with road map activities. This would ensure that we are still getting the value we planned for in the first place.

Additionally you could use the business case as a marketing tool when the thing you were looking for was successful. Imagine how helpful it would be if we said “here’s the business case for hiring the new analyst’ and then be able to review afterwards and show the results we planned for came to reality. Having a document that showed the success would give us an established sense of credibility that the numbers we crunched not only got us to where we were going but we now had proof to support what we calculated.

The next time you are asked to build a business case have the discussion with those that are looking for this information and ask them if there will be a review of the case afterwards.

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