Translate structure into a story

What is needed is a simple structure as a sequence, kind of like a mini story with its own dynamic. A well structured business case however should already offer this structure!

It has always been there and can be used to familiarize anyone with the key facts and provide the script for that 60 seconds short movie in the elevator with the chairman or with any line manager who wants to learn about the business case really fast.

So, how is a business case structured?

The key elements of a business case, regardless of depth and complexity are:

  • Problem statement
  • Potential solutions
  • Offered approach
  • Risk assessment
  • Value analysis 

Roughly in this form and sequence, with alternating terminology, any business case is developed with facts, data and assumptions along those lines and concludes with recommendations for action.

In other words decision makers will ask these questions that match the 5 bullet points above:

  • What is the need (resolving an issue or creating an opportunity)?
  • What is the solution (to eliminate the problem or to materialize the idea)?
  • How can this be done (process, resources, action)?
  • What are the risks today, the risks in the action and how to mitigate them?
  • What is the result and how does it impact our performance?

These questions will motivate to gather all sorts of evidence and arguments but they can also help to tell the detail from the essentials. In structuring the business case it is easy to fall back to these five questions consequently.

Imagine the 60 seconds elevator speech in which there is only room for one answer per question. Summarizing the key data and evidence into this one response helps to disengage from the many details that are in the way of a swift executive briefing.


Part 3 → 5-step principle →→


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