Once you have a detailed understanding of the business problem or opportunity, it is time to identify a preferred solution. For every business problem identified, there will likely be a range of alternative solutions available for implementation. Choosing the right solution for the right problem or opportunity is always a challenge. To ensure that you select the best solution available for your project, complete the following steps.

Identify the Alternatives

Take the time to identify at least three solid alternative solutions. State each alternative solution by describing its core elements (e.g. people, process, organization, technology) and the function of each element in the solution. Then complete the following steps for each alternative solution.

  • Quantify the Benefits
  • Forecast the Costs
  • Assess the Feasibility
  • Identify any Risks (Risks Register)
  • Document the Issues (Issues Register)
  • List any Assumptions

Quantify the Benefits

List the financial and non-financial business benefits to be gained from implementing each alternative solution, by completing a table of:

  • Benefit Category
    • Examples of categories include: Financial, Operational, Market, Customer and Staff benefits
  • Benefit Description
    • Examples of benefits include: increased sales revenue, improved profit margins, gains in market share and increased customer satisfaction
  • Benefit Value
    • The tangible value of each benefit may be quantified in terms of the currency gained ($ or other) or the % increase gained. Intangible benefits should also be described in full

Forecast the Costs

Describe the tangible and intangible costs involved in implementing the solution. In addition to the actual cost of the project, you may also wish to quantify the cost of any impact to the business resulting from the delivery of the project (e.g. operational downtime). In large organizations, you may need to identify whether the cost is a Capital Expense or an Operational Expense item. You may need to attach a separate spreadsheet with financial analysis of the project as an Appendix to the Business Case, if detailed financial information is required for approval. Complete a table of:

  • Expense Category
    • Examples include: People, Equipment, Materials, Marketing, Supplier and Organizational expenses
  • Expense Description
    • Examples include: the cost of staff salaries, contractors, training, premises, tools, advertising, temporary loss in productivity and organizational downtime
  • Expense Value
    • Tangible expenses are usually quantified in terms of their monetary cost ($ or other). Intangible expenses (such as cultural changes) can not be quantified in terns of their monetary cost, so instead, describe them in full
  • Expense Type
    • Identify whether each expense is a Capital Expense (CAPEX)
      or an Operational Expense (OPEX) item

Assess the Feasibility

Rate the overall feasibility of each solution by determining whether it is likely to resolve the problem or realize the opportunity. You may need to undertake a formal Feasibility Study to determine the overall feasibility result. Complete a table to rank the level of feasibility for each solution identified:

  • Solution
    • List each alternative solution
  • Feasibility Rating
    • Rate the level of feasibility of each alternative solution from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest rating and 10 being the highest rating
  • Assessment Method
    • Describe the methods used to determine the level of feasibility. Examples include: using prototypes to test the solution, completing surveys to get feedback on a solution, and reviewing the implementation of similar solutions in similar organizations

Identify any Risks

A project risk is defined as any event that may adversely affect the ability of the solution to produce the required deliverables. For each alternative solution, list the most apparent risks associated with the implementation of the solution. Then for each risk, list the mitigating actions required to reduce the likelihood of that risk occurring and the impact on the project should it eventuate. Complete a table to describe and rate each risk.

  • Risk Description
    • Describe the risks associated with each alternative solution. Examples of risks may include: an inability to recruit skilled staff, a lack of project sponsorship, and the extent of change within the current business
  • Risk Likelihood
    • Rate the likelihood of each risk eventuating, as Low, Medium or High
  • Risk Impact
    • Rate the impact on the project if the risk were to eventuate, as Low, Medium or High
  • Risk Mitigating Actions
    • List the actions needed to mitigate the risk, such as outsourcing elements of the project to an external supplier or making additional funding available upfront, should it be required

Document the Issues

Identify any key issues related to each alternative solution and prioritize the issues based on their effect on the project. An Issue is defined as any event that currently adversely affects the ability of the solution to produce the required deliverables. For each alternative solution, complete a table of:

  • Issue Description
    • List and describe the issues associated with each alternative solution. Examples of issues include:
      • The solution requires a greater level of funding than that currently available
      • The solution has not been tried and proven in the marketplace
      • The solution requires highly skilled resource that are in short supply
  • Issue Priority
    • Prioritize the issue based on the level of impact on the project
  • Action Required to Resolve Issue
    • List the actions necessary to resolve each issue, and thereby improve the chances of project success

List any Assumptions

Also list any assumptions made while describing each alternative solution. For example, it may be assumed that:

  • There will be no legislative, business strategy or policy changes during the project
  • The prices of raw materials will not increase during the course of the project
  • Additional resource will be available from the business as required
Identify the Business Problem Recommend a Preferred Solution