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Project Initiation - Build the Business Case

Project manager must maintain high standards to produce the business case for the advanced projects as there are large investments involved. Poorly devised business case will make the company nervous and continue to prevaricate the project. Generally, building the business case is the responsibility of the project sponsor and involves lot of time to develop. Hence, project manager spend adequate time on rest of the 3 themes rather than focusing on business case. Project managers should actively participate in all the 4 phases regardless of who is responsible and must ensure best business case in in place to contribute project success.

Project sponsors welcome any kind of external help offered to build the business case. Project managers must avail this opportunity and contribute to the business case development. Adding production of business case to the targets often make the project sponsor sidelined and feel inferior. This may result in that the project sponsor may not sign the business case and approve it inspite of good intentions project manager and his team.

Project managers must follow the below two steps as they may feel heavy when asked to gather, analyse and summarize more details supporting the high level strategy by the project sponsor. Project sponsor often can able explain desired strategy and may not be able to provide necessary details to build the business case. Also, most often project sponsor cannot be able to approve the substantial amount of resources without details about the strategy. Hence, Project managers should follow below steps to gather the details of the strategy to build a business case. 

1) Meeting Project Sponsor: This step will help to develop a business production plan with scheduled dates to goals to be accomplished for drafting a successful business plan. In this phase the project manager with project steering group should meet the project sponsor to build a strong rapport to discuss various details and to build the business case and set deadlines to complete this stage. If you are unable finish the discussion during your first meeting and it's recommended to schedule a next meeting to complete the production  plan of business case. Once you agreed with the plan the next step would be to help the sponsor to develop a material to build the business case.

2) Project Steering group: Often it is best practice to form a steering group simultaneously while developing the production plan for business case. You many need to gather several senior managers with significant authority and release of funds to support the project activities. Most of these people are self-selecting and can easily prone to join the steering group. Project sponsor will meet the steering group along with project manager to discuss and draft the business case on various aspects such as funds, resources, hardware etc to develop the business case in order to progress a full business case or associated project plan. If the project sponsor and you brief the details to the steering group, meeting turns just as a formal one. Also, making a successful business case is often an indication that you senior management support. 

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