development and validation
Adopting TOP processes, tools and models as the engine for business case development shifts business initiatives and project deliveries from focusing on cost management to managing the delivery of business value.
When applied to a single business case creation, it increases business value, simplifies benefits realization, and reduces cost and time to delivery, thereby increasing ROI and reducing overall risk.
When used as an organization, it enables quantified, apples-to-apples comparisons of business case proposals and enables you to specify and link each project’s contribution to specific strategic initiatives.
The TOP processes bring stakeholders together in a series of short workshops to define a business initiative’s:
TOP processes, tools and models are teachable, learnable and repeatable. We can:
And if you don’t see what you want, ask us. We speak your language.
A business case has a variety of potential purposes, depending on the organization.
It can act as an approval tool. It can serve to highlight financial targets. It can be used for decision making at portfolio level.
Often omitted is the identification of business value: The concrete business outcomes and impact on ‘how you do things’ that is really the stuff you want when you invest in a project.
When business value is not defined, quantified and made measurable, there is no way to monitor and manage its delivery; it falls into the bucket of, “If you don’t plan for it, you won’t get it.”
Projects can easily turn into ‘IT projects’ where the focus becomes the product delivery, when in fact IT is one workstream in a bigger delivery puzzle.
A simple example is the implementation of Office365 and its associated tools: At its core, it’s a potential culture change in how we communicate, collaborate, organize, and create visibility, and not just a change in email and calendar workflows.
If the desired impact to how we work and improve the business is not defined and planned for, it won’t be delivered.
A TOP value delivery approach transforms the business case into a cornerstone for meaningful and highly rewarding project deliveries.
By applying TOP’s learnable and repeatable processes and tools, the business case becomes the contract between the Project Sponsor/Steering Committee and the Project Board. It demonstrates the business value to be delivered, delegates ownership, and includes quantified financial and non-financial benefits that you can track and manage in the same way you track and manage time and cost.
Desired Business Outcomes migrated into an Outcomes Dependency Roadmap is the foundation.
These outcomes statements are created following a repeatable, principled approach, and instill both business value and easy visibility into what you want to achieve.
With key stakeholders creating the path dependency of the outcomes, an efficient and time sensitive delivery is set in motion.
In practice, many small to medium sized business initiatives generate from 6 to 16 desired business outcomes. These are the core of your business value delivery: Outcomes written in business impact terms, in full sentences that everyone can understand, and measurable. Outcomes describe the new business-as-usual, the business state we want to be in when it’s working just right.
Identifying benefits for each outcome delivery is a well described, efficient and intuitive process, resulting in having far more potential benefits to choose from.
When the most important benefits are decided upon, these are quantified via value models that enable immediate tracking and management of the drivers of each model.
Benefits realization is tied directly to the delivery of the desired business outcomes, and becomes a key and continuous focus of Steering Committee meetings and review boards: “Are we on track to get the value and benefits we projected?”
It all starts in the Business Case...
Focusing on value delivery does not negate cost control.
The TOP process for identifying change activities has scope on all the required efforts and acquisitions that are needed, and not just those for executing an IT, technical solution, or infrastructure change.
By identifying all activities around a business initiative delivery and making them measurable, you’re in a position to calculate a realistic cost picture.
When the urgency is high, the creation of a meaningful business case can be facilitated quickly.
The TOP approach brings key stakeholders together to contribute input on a level playing field, where they define an initiative’s desired business outcomes and create the initial Outcomes Dependency Roadmap, the key driver of an efficient and timely delivery.
The same team identifies and selects the key benefits to be quantified (and later tracked and managed).
When identifying the change activities to deliver each desired business outcome, the input from key staff – those who know best and sit in roles that will be impacted - are brought together to contribute and validate the required activities needed for an optimal delivery.
Staff and stakeholders become agents of change.
Buy-in and acceptance of change is smoother when the people of an organization and their respected know-how is utilized and applied.
When the TOP approach is applied to all business cases, it provides a standard representation of what each project is about in business value language: The Outcomes Dependency Roadmap.
The roadmap tells the story of a business initiative in a way that all interested parties can understand: Staff, customers, vendors, end-users, executive leaders, and the teams given the task to deliver. Everyone gets it.
The business case as TOP drives it can be used to link directly to strategic initiatives, where the contribution to a strategic initiative’s delivery is quantified and known.
It contributes to a logical and verifiably linked cascading of strategy into the projects that we invest in. In this sense it becomes a way to efficiently communicate the strategy to the organisation in such way that everyone can see a direct relation between what he or she does on a project, and how that relates to bringing the organisation closer to achieving the strategic goals.
A great business case serves the entire spectrum of the governance setup, and that’s what we do: We make business cases great.
If you're interested in hearing more about our approach to business case development and validation, how it can tie closely to overall strategy give us a call or email us using the form below.