How to Write a Business Case That Gets Approved
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Writing business cases is a vital aspect of a business analysis professional’s role. The goal is to knock it out of the park every time and consistently write business cases that get approved. This is easier than you may think.
In the field of business analysis, business cases capture the rationale for undertaking a change. When they are put together correctly, they elicit buy-in from company decision-makers and help business analysis professionals move projects forward.
Here are a few ways you can start writing better business cases today:
1. Spend the right amount of time creating the business case
If your business cases haven’t been getting approved, it could be because you aren’t spending the right amount of time on them. The correct amount of time is equal to the size and importance of the business case. The more valuable a business case is, the more time should be spent on it. If you’ve been spending too little (or too much) time on your business cases, course-correct and see what happens.
2. Provide the right amount of detail in the business case
The amount of time you should spend on business cases is variable depending upon each individual case. The amount of detail you should include in a business case is not. All business cases should offer enough detail to inform and request approval from decision-makers without getting too far into specifics about the method and/or approach to the implementation. Try editing excess detail out of your business cases, or adding in more if needed, to get better results.
3. Touch on the 4 most important aspects of a business case
According to the BABOK® Guide (technique 10.7), there are a few things every business case should do. All business cases should:
- Define the need
- Determine the desired outcomes
- Assess constraints, assumptions, and risks
- Recommend a solution
While business cases shouldn’t be overly detailed, they should always touch on each of these points. The more clearly and succinctly you can define the need, determine the desired outcomes, assess constraints, assumptions, and risks, and recommend a solution, the more likely it is that your business case will be approved. Get a copy of the BABOK® Guide to learn more about the effective use of business cases, as well as gain many valuable techniques and skills related to business analysis.
Company decision-makers and stakeholders often need to see a business case before they approve a project or offer their support. By making a few small adjustments to your writing process, you can become skilled at creating business cases that get emphatically approved.
Tools and Resources That Can Help
IIBA’s KnowledgeHub provides online, Member-exclusive access to IIBA's business analysis standards, including the BABOK® Guide, plus community-driven content, such as "how do I" scenarios, templates, checklists, and more that can be applied to everyday business analysis practices.
About The Author:
Isabel Feher-Watters is the Certification Programs Manager at IIBA® and has 20+ years' experience building talent and leadership in the workplace through learning, certification, and credentialing programs and practices. She holds a professional certification as a Certified Association Executive (CAE®), Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP)™, and a Change Management Registered Practitioner (CMRP®). Isabel is passionate about learning and professional development in the Business Analysis community.