Review and Refresh
Congratulations. The decision-makers have considered the options in your business case and agreed to a way forward.
The work you have done to evaluate the costs, benefits, risks and implementation details of your preferred solution will inform the project or program of work that now commences to implement the proposal.
This Play will help ensure that the business case is always up to date and relevant to the proposal’s implementation. It will help you prepare to implement the solution to your business problem, and successfully deliver a solution that adapts to changing needs.
Once it has been approved, the business case becomes the basis for implementing change and a key tool for managing that change.
The business case is also a living document. It should be kept up to date reflect the reality of the implementation of your product or service.
At key points in the proposal’s implementation, you should formally check your progress against the business case.
As your proposal’s implementation progresses, circumstances will change. For example, you may identify new risks to the implementation, or find ways to eliminate a risk. Changes in approach or technology might vary the costs of the proposal. You might identify new benefits or improvements for users that had not been foreseen when the business case was developed.
You should also periodically review the business case to ensure that the proposed solution is still appropriate and fit for purpose.
Early and iterative releases of your product or service will help you address risks early, respond to emerging user needs, and identify opportunities to innovate and provide better solutions to the problems described in the original business case.
Your governance and assurance arrangements are also important in ensuring you stay on track.
Maintaining line of sight to the objectives set out in your business case is assisted by ensuring your governance bodies are presented with information which clearly sets out progress towards achieving the stated objectives.
Establish appropriate oversight and governance
Establish internal and external governance mechanisms and processes that are appropriate for the scale, complexity, and risk profile of the project. These will have been outlined in the implementation components of the business case.
For high risk/high value investments it can be helpful to engage independent assurance to ensure delivery teams remain alert to possible optimism bias around achieving objectives. Independent assurance can also help teams effectively manage key risks to successful delivery.
Your government may also have formal external assurance processes (such as Gateway Reviews) that will apply at key milestones of your work.
Consider when you will review the business case
Schedule reviews of the business case as part of your implementation planning.
For example, in an agile product development, you might schedule a formal review as part of your retrospective at the end of a sprint or run of sprints, or on the release of a version of the service.
At the end of your discovery you will have a clear understanding of who the users of your service are, their current needs and pain points as well as their experience when using the product or service. You should use your learnings to update the business case and incorporate the hypotheses you will be testing against in alpha.
As you move into alpha the service team will identify possible solutions to address the problems they learnt about during discovery. You should capture the solutions you are exploring, what you have learnt through prototype and usability testing, and if this changes the outcomes you are seeking. You should refine your recommended solution based on your new understanding of the scope of your Minimum Viable Product and the decisions that led to this position.
In a conventional waterfall-managed project, you might review the business case at the end of a project phase.
You might consider aligning formal review of the business case to formal implementation and funding reviews, scheduled at the conclusion of a phase of the implementation or release of a specific product or service.
Questions to consider
- At what points in your work will you review your progress against the business case?
- At what points would it be appropriate to review and refresh the business case?
- What are the appropriate oversight and governance mechanisms for your product or service?
- Do you need to include representatives from other organisations within the government in your oversight and governance mechanisms?
- Do you need independent assurance for the delivery of your product or service against the business case?
- Does your government or organisation have formal assurance or governance processes that apply to your work?
- How will you formally agree and document any changes to the business case?