Forum News

How Business Analysts can Support Project Managers in the Development and Management of the Business Case

4/3/2014 Project ManagementThe NYS Forum Business Analysis/Architecture Workgroup and the Project Management Community of Practice joined forces to present:  How Business Analysts can Support Project Managers in the Development & Management of the Business Case.

This dynamic presentation was led by an impressive panel of experts:  Sara Holmberg, Director of Enterprise Portfolio & Program Management Office, NYS ITS; Michael Roberts, Director of Project & Program Management, NYS ITS, TED Cluster; and Dave Nagy, Senior Principle Consultant, NTT Data, Inc.  The session was kicked off by Nancy Mulholland, Chief Portfolio Officer, NYS ITS.

Nancy stressed the benefits of developing a business case and the importance of keeping it current.  Using a consistent tool and approach allows all stakeholders to understand both the project approach and benefits.  These benefits will only be understood by identifying how the success will be measured.  The panelists discussed core concepts in selecting projects and moving forward in the right direction.

"Why do we need a business case?"  It was agreed that specifying the benefits of the project and approach to achieve these goals are key to making a compelling case.  An established governance process led by the organization's decision-makers is an essential first step.

During the governance process, project selection is done by the organization determining what it is going to invest in.   The business case presented should be developed in conjunction with the business stakeholders.  This document should include the anticipated value expected by detailing the Return On Investment (ROI) and complete cost benefits.  The business analyst plays a key role in fleshing out these requirements.  A clearly written analysis is essential to justify allocation of resources.

Governance is more than just an intake process and should be discussed throughout the project.  Planning provides a more accurate assessment, and execution provides the actuals.  The business case is a living document that can be utilized when reporting updates.  One pitfall discussed was that often stakeholders expect goals to be achieved based on the original timeframes without understanding that things always change.  The importance of managing expectations helps and communication is key.  Once agreed upon, re-baselining the project is important.  The business case plays an important role in this change management process and overall project success.

View the presentation.