An effective business case can serve as a solid foundation for your digital project.

Your business case should allow you to get agreement on the problem you are trying to solve and help you plan the solution for that problem. It too serves as a mechanism to get buy-in from everyone on a way forward – so it’s important to get it right.

Here are some dos and don’ts to consider when putting together a business case for your digital project.

Do answer the key questions

A key purpose of the business case is to agree the problem you are trying to solve and to establish a plan for the way forward. Therefore, your business case must answer the key questions around the goals you want to achieve, the options to achieving them as well as how long it will take and what it will cost.

Do be realistic on the benefits and risks

Identifying and assessing each risk and benefit will enable you to put together a strong business case for your project. Within this, it is important to detail its likelihood, the impact it will have and in the case of the risks, the action you can take to mitigate it.

Do get buy-in before presenting for approval

Buy-in and alignment is essential for a successful business case. When you are developing your business case and the scope of your project, it is important to communicate it to your wider organisation. This will allow you to achieve alignment between CEO, SMT, Board and operational teams, which consequently means your project has an increased chance of being approved.

Don’t ask for less budget than you require

It’s important to be realistic on the budget required for the project and to not ask for less than you really need. It can be a difficult conversation to have but you don’t want a budget shortfall to create hurdles once your project has already initiated.

Don’t only have one person responsible

A digital project can be a big undertaking, so it is essential that responsibility for its delivery is shared. Lean on your project team for their skills, experience, and expertise to create a comprehensive and persuasive business case.

Don’t underestimate the resources you will need

Resourcing your project can be challenging as you need to find a balance between the conflicting priorities of the project and the business-as-usual activities in your organisation. You also need to think about the skillset of you team and whether your staff may need additional training and support. Therefore, it’s important not to underestimate what it will take to complete and ultimately achieve a successful project.

There is lots to consider when building a compelling business case for a digital project. However, if you can create a solid foundation, you will be rewarded throughout and long after your project has completed, so invest in doing it right!