The Australian Government Business Case Playbook site has been decommissioned and will be taken down from 31 May 2022. For further information please contact

Scope the preliminary work

This process will help ensure you develop a quality business case within the required timeframes of the decision makers.

Play description

Understand what you will need to do and how long it is likely to take.

Work backwards from milestone dates you need to meet to develop the business case. Be aware of any timing or requirements that is specific to your organisation. Ensure you set up review points, and allocate realistic time for feedback, including from external stakeholders. Establishing milestones is a good way to mark the progress of your business case.

Milestones are also helpful for identifying elements that depend on other business case components.

Key activities

Understand the ‘when’

Plan for the relevant dates and work backwards to ensure you have the right review points in place. Your government or organisation may have set dates for business case approvals. Much of your work should be possible in parallel but be aware of any timing that depends on other components.

Understand the ‘how’

Find out if your organisation or government has an established process to assess and approve business cases. This can vary depending on the size and complexity of the business case. For example, the Australian Government requires a two-stage review process to create confidence that they are choosing the best option for a digital or ICT investment.

Know the objectives of your organisation

Your business case must align to the objectives of your organisation. Define the objectives clearly and describe how your plan will incorporate them into your approach and outcomes. 

Know the priorities of your government

Identify relevant policies and priorities (especially those relating to digital transformation and the government’s use of digital and ICT). Align your options and implementation approach to the priorities to strengthen your business case. 

Questions to consider

  • When do you need to submit the business case for decision?
  • What is your plan to meet that timeframe?
  • Who needs to sponsor and review your business case?
  • How will you structure and develop your business case?
  • What requirements does your government have for business cases?
  • Who can you seek advice from on the business case process and content?
  • Is there an organisational or whole of government approach to solution architecture or design that you need to consider?
  • How can you learn about your users? Form hypotheses and test ideas?