The Indicative (IBC) Business Case stage both give decision makers an early indication of the preferred way forward for an investment.
The IBC is used to seek approval of the shortlisted options or preferred option to progress to detailed planning.
It provides an early opportunity for the organisation and key stakeholders to influence the direction of the investment proposal and a stage gate for decision-makers to confirm they wish to progress with the investment proposal.
The IBC may be for a project or programme:
A project typically delivers outputs (such as an ICT system, an office building, a road). A project has:
- definite start and finish dates
- a well-defined development path
- a defined set of outcomes (we can be precise about what we will deliver)
- a defined set of financial and other resources allocated to it.
Benefits are achieved after the project has finished and the project plans should include activities to plan, measure and assess the benefits achieved.
Project management is suited to making tactical changes where there are closely bounded and scoped deliverables that can be relatively well defined (bounded change).
A programme typically delivers integrated outcomes, that enable significant organisational change (such as a new hospital, large military purchase requiring complex/multiple capability uplifts, a new line of business, even a new organisation).
A programme exists when it makes sense to bring together multiple projects under a single coordinating structure, as the individual projects contribute to the overall programme outcome. Programmes can include pieces of work that are not projects (such as ongoing business-as-usual activities) and can have a variety of structures.
Programme management is suited to strategic and transformational change initiatives where there are complex and changing inter-relationships in a wide, dynamic and uncertain environment (unbounded change).
Cabinet approval of the IBC
Unless your investment is low risk you will need to submit your IBC to Cabinet summarised in a Cabinet Paper. When the IBC has been approved you can start developing the Detailed Business Case (DBC).
For programmes, it is likely you will need to complete a Detailed and Implementation Business Case for each project in the programme.