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Business Case, Vamshi Barla, MSS Senior Engagement Manager, August 2020
When building a business case it is time we rethink how we measure project success.
Let us start with some introspection. As a leader, how many times have you heard a transformation project successfully fulfilled the operational and financial benefits as laid out in its business case? Now, think of the number of times you heard that a project was successfully delivered under budget and on schedule.
If you had difficulty thinking of a single project that measured success as “Meeting business case objectives” and not “Delivered on schedule and under budget”, you are NOT alone. Almost 50% of transformation projects do not even quantify benefits or draw up a robust business case! These are literally once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to generate value for organizations. As a result, two-thirds of those without a business case do not track value delivered once the project is labeled complete.
Both of those scenarios are squandered opportunities to create true differentiation in the marketplace. Is it really a surprise to hear that ROI on transformation programs is usually disappointing? Almost 70% of transformation programs deliver less than 50% of their targeted value. That is not what anyone would consider success!
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A well-thought-out business case is a promise of a better future, based on educated, consensus-driven assumptions and projections. At MSS Business Transformation Advisory (MSSBTA), we strongly believe large transformation efforts need to be clearly articulated and thought-out, detailing the operational and financial drivers of value (both qualitative and quantitative). MSSBTA uses a proven, holistic methodology that combines a top-down approach (based on goals, market analysis, and industry benchmarks) with a bottom-up approach (historical performance, leadership inputs, and proforma projections), to formulate a realistic and strong business case.
Creation of the business case is only one half of the story. We have documented the targeted value by which success will be measured. In return, leaders owe it to their organizations to ensure that delivered value meets or exceeds targeted value.
At MSSBTA, we have developed a Value Tracking and Maximizing methodology that can drive effective capture of value. Along with strong, ongoing oversight, our approach enables you to identify and pull the right value levers. Pulling them in the correct sequence can influence desired outcomes and help capture benefits faster.
For example, in a new inventory system transformation, one possible driver of financial value is working capital reduction. One of the levers we can pull with the transformation is improved forecasting capabilities. Ensuring the identified lever is truly engaged across the organization, we can assure the targeted benefits are realized.
It is high time we stopped measuring project success solely based on schedule and budget. The true test of project success is “Did we accomplish what we set out to achieve?”.