Options analysis document template
A business case document is a formal, written argument intended to convince a decision maker to approve some kind of action. A well-crafted business case explores all feasible approaches to a given problem and enables business owners to select the option that best serves the organization. This guide explains the format and content of a business case document and the processes involved in its creation. Before you start writing your business case. Analysis of the situation.
Before you present your business case. Before you start writing your business case Creating options analysis document template business case document is actually the last of several stages that must be completed before you present it. Throughout these options analysis document template, it may become apparent that the project is not currently feasible. Essentially, you have to determine the business case for developing your business case.
The first stage of preparation involves a thorough analysis of the situation that led to the initiative for the project. These requirements might include time and human resources required and deadlines for return on investment ROI or for completion options analysis document template the business case, project or project phases.
Next, you should identify all the sources of data that will be required to support the business case. These sources may include financial sources from within the company, case studies from similar projects, historical data, industry analysis and forecasts, demographic studies, and so on.
Based on all the inputs available, you should have options analysis document template idea of how likely it is that the project will be approved. Use that determination to decide whether or not to go ahead and write options analysis document template document. The executive summary The executive summary is a high-level view of the business case document. It explains, in a condensed form and options analysis document template language, the problem that the proposed project is intended to solve, the major considerations, the resources required to complete the project, the desired outcome, the predicted return on investment and a projection of when that ROI should be achieved.
Because some stakeholders may only read the executive summary, it's crucial to include any information that is essential to an informed decision. Like the abstract on an academic article, the executive summary is presented at the first but written after the rest of the document is completed. The problem statement This section is a straightforward articulation of the problem that the project is supposed to solve.
It identifies the area or areas where there are issues that need to be addressed, such as inefficiencies, missed opportunities, options analysis document template market performance or unfavorable consumer response to a product or service.
Analysis of the situation This section describes the situation behind the problem in more detail and how the situation came about. Finally, it provides general projections about potential events if the current situation continues.
The conclusion of options analysis document template analysis should lead naturally options analysis document template the next section. Solution options In this section, you identify potential solutions to the problem and describe them in sufficient detail for the reader to understand them. If, for example, the solution proposed is the implementation of desktop virtualizationyou would define the term and discuss the use of the technology within your industry.
For most problems, there are multiple solutions possible and you should explore all solutions that are potentially the best option. Project description This section describes the project, including all the resources required for its implementation, the project budget and a timeline with measurable goals for all project milestones. List any assumptions that the reader should be aware of, such as, for example, that government regulations pertinent to the project will not change.
You should also list any dependencies, such as completion of other projects options analysis document template the availability of key individuals. Note any risks involved with the project and briefly sketch a plan for dealing with them. In the budget section, include financial projections for relevant metrics such as ROI and total cost of ownership TCO.
You should also include a figure -- usually an additional percent of the total -- for scope creep. Identify and describe all stages of the project, including options analysis document template post-project review. Include measurable criteria to determine the success of the project.
Cost-benefit analysis This section evaluates the costs and benefits for all options, including the proposed solution to the problem and any likely alternatives -- which include, of course, taking no action at options analysis document template.
Illustrate your case with data from similar projects and case studies, if possible. Charts and graphs are options analysis document template included in this section or may be in an appendix at the end.
In any case, graphs can illustrate points that are hard to extrapolate from text-based data, so be sure to include as many as will be helpful. The cost-benefit analysis should include the projected financial benefit to the company and a projection of when that payoff is expected.
Recommendations In this section, you make your recommendations for the project and how it is to be conducted. The recommendation for implementation is a brief restatement of compelling results of the cost-benefit analysis and a final statement that you believe the project should go ahead.
Articulate the circumstances options analysis document template which it should be undertaken, including key individuals and actions. Include a recommendation for scheduled reexamination of the project status. If there is any question as to the availability of key resources, make that clear. Include a recommendation for regularly scheduled reexamination of the project status.
Refer the reader back to relevant document sections and graphical presentations where it might be helpful. Check your document content to ensure that it's well-constructed and includes all the key elements.
Following is a sample business case checklist:. Because every project is different, there may be elements that are important to your particular business case. This is a good point at options analysis document template to step away from the document, put it away and return with fresh eyes. Add any new items that occur to the checklist and determine if you've satisfied their requirements.
Once you've checked off all the items on the list and adjusted the business case document where required, read your document over carefully for clarity. It should flow logically and read well, and it should be free of grammatical and spelling errors. Run spell-check -- but keep your eyes open for the types of errors that spell check misses. Finally, have at least one other person read the document over options analysis document template a critical options analysis document template.
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This was last updated in August Add My Comment Register. Login Forgot your password? Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password. Your password has been sent to: Please create a username to comment. This is a good template to use to create a professional, well thought out business case. I know that writing and negotiation is not a strong suit of many developers and others in IT, so reviewing these tips could definitely be helpful.
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This stage can commence once the function of the library service has been clearly defined. Options analysis document template themes are mapped to specific criteria against which each option is evaluated. This leads to a options analysis document template recommendation about the preferred delivery model which can then be taken forward to the business case. An options appraisal provides the opportunity to help councils and library options analysis document template make an informed and evidence based decision on how to deliver library services.
It does this by considering the relative advantages and disadvantages of a number of different delivery model options including the current way in which the service is delivered. The methodology helps you to consider the relative desirability, viability and feasibility of the different options, and to answer the following questions:.
While the options appraisal is important in helping to identify a preferred option, you will not necessarily be able to resolve all options analysis document template the questions by the end of this stage — this is to be expected. The process of undertaking the options appraisal consists of several important activities. If there are significant time constraints, it is possible for some of these activities to take place in parallel, allowing the process to be completed within a shorter time frame.
To undertake the options analysis document template, it is necessary to conduct some analysis of the market within which the delivery model will operate, and to explore other relevant areas. Development of a set of criteria, allowing each option to be consistently tested, is most effective when a range of stakeholders are involved.
It is not just the criteria themselves that need to be developed, but also an understanding of how important each one is this is often referred to as the relative weighting and the definition of good and bad for each option often known as the scoring mechanism. These are the most important criteria which can be used to quickly identify any options that are unsuitable. Typically 2 to 4 criteria from the full list might be identified as gateway criteria.
Applying the gateway criteria to the long-list of options allows you to identify a shortlist of options which can be taken forward and developed in more detail. This means you can target your efforts at the most appropriate options. Each of the shortlisted options should be developed in more detail.
This will enable you to consider each option in greater depth. Each of the shortlisted options will then be scored against each of the criteria. You should identify a team representing different perspectives to undertake the scoring, or involve external advisors, to ensure that the assessment is as objective as possible. Record comments and points of discussion during the scoring exercise. At the end of the options appraisal you options analysis document template have an overall score for each option.
This should be interpreted carefully to identify the preferred option and a rationale prepared which explains why this is the preferred option. We also involved an individual from another service area, to provide an alternative perspective.
The process was facilitated as a discussion by the project manager and each person contributed their comments and scoring against a number of criteria. The recommendation of the options appraisal panel was options analysis document template by the Project Options analysis document template including stakeholders from across the council and ultimately signed off by the portfolio holder.
Typical delivery model options that might be considered for library services are listed below, and outlined in greater detail in Alternative delivery models. The delivery model options are:. When identifying a long-list of options for delivery of library services, the following aspects should be taken into account:.
The internal rationale for changing the method of service delivery. This could include factors such as the:. The rationale for delivering the services outside of the council, and whether this lends itself to any particular models. Library services are increasingly being delivered in new ways and you should consider examples of innovative models being used elsewhere when developing your long-list of options. The range of options identified are likely to sit along a spectrum of ownership and control which, at one end, will be entirely with the council for example an in-house serviceand at the other end, entirely outside of it such as an outsourced service.
This helps you to keep the options appraisal process robust and objective. You will need to make sure the options appraisal is based on realistic assumptions.
Some options analysis document template research should be carried out to understand the market context in which the delivery model will operate. The findings from the needs analysis should also be considered at this stage.
Using assessment criteria for the options appraisal provides you with a consistent framework to analyse each delivery model option. As outlined in section 1, you should use 3 main themes for investigation - options analysis document template, viability and feasibility. These 3 themes mean you can develop an options appraisal scoring framework where each area is equally important, options analysis document template if the number of criteria identified for each is different. For example, it may only be possible to identify 3 criteria to test feasibility, but there may be 10 criteria to test desirability.
Stakeholders may, however, feel that one theme is more important than the others. The process allows you to allocate a greater weighting to one theme. The development of assessment criteria is often done in a workshop format. This provides an opportunity to engage important stakeholders in the assessment process. Collective thinking and discussion of the 3 themes is likely to bring to the surface any underlying concerns, motivations, or questions that stakeholders have.
Some examples of areas that you may wish to cover via the assessment criteria are outlined on the assessment criteria template. Specific attention needs to be paid to whether the council is in a position to delegate delivery responsibility for statutory services. In the case of library services, councils are able to delegate their statutory functions. After you have identified your initial set of assessment criteria, it is important to define these further through 2 further steps:.
A weighting representing the relative importance should be assigned to each criterion. A definition to determine a high and low score for each criterion should be created. This is most easily done by envisaging the scenarios that would warrant either an extremely high or extremely low score.
After you have developed the full set of assessment criteria, it is usually relatively easy to identify a small subset of gateway criteria. These are make or break criteria — should an option not meet most or all of the criteria, the option drops out of the appraisal process.
Gateway criteria are applied at an early stage of the options appraisal to refine the list of delivery model options that progress to the main body of the appraisal. The example provided above would be considered a gateway criterion, as it has been allocated the highest possible weighting of 10 points. Having identified gateway criteria, these can be used to rapidly identify a shortlist of options. This step involves assessing each option against the gateway criteria to determine whether they should progress to the long-list or be discounted at an early stage.
This process requires you to assess whether each long-listed option passes or fails each gateway criterion. Having determined the outcome for all options in the long-list, this will lead to the development of a shortlist of options that are worth options analysis document template consideration. Having clearly identified a number of shortlisted options that meet the gateway criteria, the next step is to develop propositions for each of options analysis document template options.
You will need to consider a number of important areas. The main characteristics of each option should be outlined, including:. A high-level financial model should be developed, informed by the proposed function of the library service and market options analysis document template information. You will have already collected some of this during the case for change stage 2 and case for externalisation stage 3. A high-level consideration of the important technical features for each model should be undertaken.
After you have developed a proposition for each option, the next step is to objectively score each option. This can be done in a number of ways. A collaborative process, such as a workshop, which draws on input from a number of stakeholders, is likely to build the greatest level of consensus and promote further buy-in to any potential recommendations. Each option must be scored against each criterion. This should be done with the previously agreed scoring definitions available for reference.
Sometimes the most logical way to structure the scoring is to assess each model against a particular criterion in one go. This can help to make sure that you are applying a degree of objectivity and consistency when looking through a number of models and criteria in a single exercise. If this process is being undertaken with multiple stakeholders, it may be preferable to ask all stakeholders to individually consider a particular criterion or model, and then to discuss the results as a group before coming to a final consensus on the appropriate score.
Once the scoring is complete, the results should be entered into a spreadsheet which uses the pre-agreed weightings along with the scores to calculate a percentage score for each option. For further information, please refer to the options scoring template this will download. At this stage, you should have a percentage score for each model.
This score can be understood as representing the degree to which each model satisfies the criteria you have chosen. It follows that, at a first glance, the model with the highest score represents the strongest fit with the criteria.
At this stage, it is important not to accept the score that has been generated without asking some further questions. In particular, where a number of options may have scored particularly close to each other, further consideration is warranted. In this instance, differences options analysis document template scoring between the models should be closely examined to ascertain the precise reason.
It may become obvious, for example, that one option has scored well against desirability but negatively against feasibility, with another option reversing these scores. This should then be explored further before deciding on a preferred option.
Should 2 or more options still be scored very closely together, we recommend including both of them within the business case process. This will allow you to further analyse both options, before one of them is identified as the preferred option. The options appraisal drove options analysis document template decision-making about our form. The appraisal identified a PSM as our preferred option. Taking this and our function into account, it was clear to all that a options analysis document template owned cooperative was the best option for us, as we wanted a voice for the community in decision making and freedom from excessive bureaucracy.
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