A business case template is a document that is used during the early stages of a project. This document outlines the why, what, how, and who. All these elements are essential when it comes to deciding whether or not a project should be funded.
When initiating a project, one of the most important things to know is how the project will benefit the organization. You must also be able to communicate these benefits in a manner that everyone involved will understand. Unlike a business proposal which mainly outlines the benefits and other elements, a business case goes further to explain all the details that should be reviewed by the sponsors of the project. Before accepting the project, the stakeholders must go over the business case. After reviewing it, they may either accept, reject, cancel, defer, or revise the document.
Here’s a sample Business Case template that can be easily customized and adapted to meet your requirements. It’s free to download and use.
Why You Need a Business Case Template
When preparing a business case, you first need to review the following:
- The problem that the project will address
- Benefits of the project
- The risks involved
- The investment appraisal
- Technical solutions
- Impact on business operations
You must also analyze whether or not your organization will be able to support the project until completion. These aspects of the project are crucial for its completion. With a business case template, you will be able to express the problems and how you intend to solve them with your project.
A lot of projects start as foggy and unclear. There is nothing wrong with that. However, it can be difficult for such projects to commence if there is no proper business case template. The stakeholders and the investors will want clarity of scope. They also want to know the timeline, costs, and benefits of the project before they can give their go-ahead. A free business case template will help you achieve this during the initial stages of a project.
When to Use a Business Case Template
You will need to use a simple business case template word when there is a need to justify the costs of a project. There are several interested parties within an organization who might need to approve a project before it kicks off. For instance, the sponsors of the project may need to authorize funds, and if you have an IT department, it will be necessary for them to provide resources.
How to Use a Business Case Template
After downloading and renaming the short business case template, you can then sit with a small team of people and brainstorm. You must first understand that the purpose of the business case template is to communicate. As such, you must ensure that every section is written in the parlance of your target audience.
Apart from that, you must also ensure that the business case template only contains the information that is necessary for decision making. When drafting this document using our business case template, keep this in mind:
- You must be brief and only include the necessary details and nothing more.
- Make sure that the document is interesting, clear, and concise
- Use simple language that is easy to understand
- Outline your vision for the future
- Indicate the value and benefits of your project
- Use a uniform style and make sure the document is short.
Main Elements of a Business Case Template
With this business case template, you will be able to provide sponsors with a proper description of the resulting outcomes and benefits of your business. Generally, a business case template contains the following sections:
- A high-level summary
- Financial details of the expenses and return on investment
- Information about the scope
- Advantages and risks
- Information on the management of the business
- How you will measure success
In our business case template, you will find several sections which contain details about your business. The complexity of your business case template depends on how complex your project will be. Consider adding the following sections first.
The Executive Summary
If you are working with government-linked or formal businesses, this section is the only part accessible to stakeholders, investors, and the media. Any other interested parties will be able to read the executive summary too. The executive summary contains details about:
- Tasks that will be completed
- Who will complete the tasks
- The cost of completing the tasks
- How investors and the business will benefit from these tasks
All this information must be condensed into a single page. You must ensure that the document does not take more than five minutes to read.
This section contains information about the background of the business problem. In other words, it highlights the opportunity. It also shows how your business will improve the situation.
It is important to research and describe other alternative options to the proposed project. This will assist in providing a clearer context for your own solution. Coming up with alternate options will also show the stakeholders that you have taken your time to study the project and that you did not randomly choose it.
You must also explain how your plan fits into and helps the overall strategic vision of the organization. To do this effectively, you can state project goals and objectives. This will help you make a stronger case in front of the investors and stakeholders.
People will also want to know how your project will advance the organization as a whole. You must therefore look into and include its impact on several departments, equipment, processes, and roles. This is also where you can do some stakeholder analysis. For this section, you need to understand the current situation and what each stakeholder requires.
Assumptions and Constraints
You must be clear when it comes to all anticipated resources or limitations. For instance, if you are sure that you will receive funding from a particular organization, you must state it in the document as well. Apart from that, you must also state whether or not success depends upon a new structure or platform. Please note that the list of assumptions is not static. It might change as you proceed with the project. It is also crucial to consider all your interdependencies and how they will affect the project in question.
The stakeholders and investors will also want to see all of the anticipated outcomes. This way, everyone will understand how the project will gain and improve your organization. For instance, some of the benefits that might come from your project include:
- An increase in the number of customers served
- Reduced eye strain for your service reps at their workstations,
- A roof patch that will make you safer from a storm.
Schedule and Costs
This is another section that should not be left out of your business case template. Within this section, you can display a brief timeline of when you will start and complete your project. This includes all the key milestones. If you are working on a technology project, you might also need an overview of the migration plan. When you are outlining the timeline, also add the following:
- A cost-benefit analysis
- Project budget
- All ongoing maintenance costs.
Risks and Opportunities
Stating the risks involved is very important when working with any type of project. There are risks that might delay or even prevent the completion of the project. You should therefore complete your market analysis by studying all the factors that might affect your project. Your project can be impacted by the following factors:
For all the risks you identify, you must also outline a plan of overcoming them.
Recommendation and Justification
State the option you are choosing and summarize the risks involved. You must also include facts to justify why you are choosing that particular choice.
Governance and Progress Tracking
In the business case analysis template, you must state who is responsible for certain tasks and who is accountable for them. It is also important to state how you will measure your success and how it will be reported. Apart from that, it is important to include signature blocks for approvers and spaces where sponsors can be listed. If there are any people who are offering their support or expertise, you can list them in this section.
At the end of the document, you can have a list of attached worksheets and other documents, together with a glossary of terms. By using our business case template, you will be able to easily advocate and ensure that your project is justified before you commence.