Organisational strategies and policy are delivered through programmes and projects.
Organisational implementation strategies are ideally made up of strategic portfolios that scope, define, and prioritise the programmes and projects needed to deliver the agreed change, anticipated outcomes, and resultant benefits.
Projects do not start with a business case.
Most programme and project methodologies require a mandate and brief before they can start; the most successful projects are delivered as part of a well-established business strategy and overarching programme with clear objectives at all levels.
The business case depends on existing organisational strategy and planning documents to provide framing and direction; these are part of the 'Think' phase of the investment management lifecycle. If these supporting documents don't exist, they may need to be developed before the business case can proceed, or in parallel as part of the same overall project; but they are not part of the business case process.
For example, a project to deliver new physical infrastructure or a new information system will require reference to, or development of, some or all of the following, to the appropriate level of detail:
- overall business strategy
- corporate strategies, eg cybersecurity strategy
- investment plans, eg Long-Term Investment Plan (LTIP), Information Systems Strategic Plan (ISSP)
- research and development
- feasibility studies, proofs of concept, or full studies
- benefits analysis
- service demand and capacity plans
- service models, eg models of care in the health sector, target operating models
- detailed planning information, eg user requirements, asset condition assessments, geotechnical assessments.
These documents are all part of business strategy and planning, or the overarching programme/project; they are not part of the business case development process. They are necessary to inform its preparation.
How to decide
If you were given money to proceed with a project without a business case, would you still need to develop these documents? If yes, it's not part of the business case process. These are all part of organisational strategic planning, or of the overarching programme or project of which a Business Case is a part.
- Strategic thinking and planning - Treasury guidance
- Project or Programme? (in development)
- Benefits guidance
- Change management guidance
- Investment intensive agencies
- Risk Profile Assessment (RPA)
- Business Case Scoping document
- DPMC policy development guidance
- Digital Public Service branch (DPSb) ICT standards
- Gateway Reviews - Lessons Learned