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While a team effort, team members will be graded individually based on their participation and contribution to this deliverable. Therefore, divide the topics up evenly among your team members (1 member per topic). Put the individual's name next to the topic's heading in the team's deliverable. The team will not be penalized for the lack of participation or contribution by a single member. Should this occur, simply type the topic's title including the team member's name and go onto the next section. If you have any questions, please contact me via Blackboard email or the Virtual Office.
The Business Case
The business case is the first deliverable defined in the IT Project Methodology. It provides an analysis of the business value, several alternatives for achieving the project's MOV, the feasibility of the alternatives, as well as their costs, benefits, and risks. The business case is not a budget or the project plan. It is a tool that provides all the information necessary for senior management to make a decision whether a specific project should be undertaken.
Below is a suggested outline for developing your business case. Because this is a fictitious case, you will not be able to meet with your client. Subsequently, you will have to make a number of assumptions about the case and your project. Feel free to do so, just be sure that you document these assumptions in your business case.
Please provide a professional-looking MS Word document that includes the following.
- Project Name - You came up with a name for your project team when you developed your team charter. Now you need to come up with a name for your project.
- Project Team - At this point you should have your project team in place. Be sure to identify your team by its name and list all of the members of your team.
- Project Description - Provide a brief description of the project. A project description should be written so that anyone unfamiliar with the project can read and understand what the project is about. Include a brief description of the organization and the problem or opportunity that led to initiating the project.
- Measurable Organizational Value (MOV) - The MOV is the goal of the project and is used to define the value that your project will bring to your client. It will also be used to evaluate whether your project was a success later on. In reality, you would work very closely with your client in developing an MOV. Your responsibility would be to lead the process, while the client would commit to specific areas of impact, metrics, and time frames. Once the MOV is defined, it becomes the responsibility of all the project stakeholders to agree whether the MOV is realistic and achievable. For the purposes of this assignment, you will have to come up an MOV on your own. You are free to be creative, but please strive to make the MOV realistic. For our purposes, learning how to develop an MOV is an important process. Use the following process to define your project's MOV.
- Identify the desired area of impact - At this point, what areas do you think are the most important to your client, Husky Air? Based on Table 2.1 (page 42), rank the following areas in terms of their importance: Strategic, Customer, Financial, Operational, and Social.
- Identify the Desired Value of the IT Project's Value to an organization can come from doing something better, faster, or less expensively (i.e., cheaper). Or it can come from growth by doing more of something that it is currently doing (e.g., increase market share). The next step in developing an MOV is identifying the project's potential value to the organization. In general, an IT project should focus on delivering one or two of the following types of value.
- Better? Does Husky Air want to do something better? For example, is improving quality important to your client?
- Faster? Does Husky Air want to do something faster? For example, does your client want to increase speed, efficiency, or reduce cycle times?
- Cheaper? Does Husky Air want to reduce costs? Is cutting costs important to your client?
- Do More? Does Husky Air want to do more of something? For example, is your client in the growth of something it's currently doing?
- Develop an Appropriate Metric - Once you have identified the desired area of impact and value to the organization, the next step is to develop a metric or a number that sets a target and expectation for all of the project stakeholders. For example, if an organization desires to do more of something that is strategic to the organization (i.e., increase market share of a particular product or service), then the organization's management may feel that an IT project will bring value to the organization if they can grow their current market share from 10% to 25%. On the other hand, a bank may be able to process a loan request within 10 days. By developing and implementing a proposed information system, the bank's management may believe that it can reduce the cycle time of processing a loan to 24 hours or less. This would allow the company to do something faster operationally. Therefore, it is important to come up with a quantitative target. This target should be expressed as a metric in terms of an increase or decrease of money (dollars, Euros, etc.), percent, or a specific numeric value.
- Set a Time Frame For Achieving the MOV. Once you have identified the area of impact, value to the organization, and an appropriate metric, you need to set a time frame for achieving the MOV. Keep in mind that this time frame may not coincide with the scheduled completion of the project work. For example, reducing the time to process a loan within 24 hours may be achievable once the system is implemented, but instant growth of market share from 10% to 25% may take a few months. Setting the time frame for achieving the MOV can be determined by asking the question: When do we want to achieve this target metric?
- Summarize the MOV in a Clear, Concise Statement or Table. The area of impact, value, metrics, and time frame are agreed upon, the MOV should be summarized so that it can be clearly communicated to all of the project stakeholders. The MOV can be summarized in a statement by completing the statement: "This project will be successful if.." On the other hand, a table format may be more appropriate for summarizing the MOV if it has a growth component over two or more time periods. Keep in mind that the MOV should tell everyone what the project will achieve, not how it will be achieved. The MOV should focus on the organization, not the technology that will be used to build or support the information system.
- A Comparison of Alternatives - To keep things simple, you may consider only three alternatives for your client: maintain the status quo (i.e., do nothing), purchase a software package, or build a custom system. Using the Web or library, determine whether any software packages currently exist that you think may support Husky Air's requirements. If more that one exists, then pick one that you feel may be the best option for your client. Compare each of the alternatives based on the following criteria:
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) - This can be only a rough estimate at this time. Later on, you will develop a detailed project schedule and budget that can be compared to your ball park estimate now. Currently, Husky air has a manual, paper-based system. If Husky Air purchases a software package or builds a system, they will need to purchase three workstations that will be networked to a server. Determine any other hardware and software that the company may need. This will require a reasonable amount of research using the Web, library, or company catalogs to estimate to cost of the hardware and software and to support your initial estimate. Keep in mind that total cost of ownership should include:
- All direct or upfront costs.
- Indirect costs.
- Ongoing support and maintenance costs.
- Total Benefits of Ownership (TBO) -Total benefits of ownership should include all of the direct, indirect, and ongoing benefits for each proposed alternative. It should focus on:
- Increasing high-value work.
- Improving accuracy and efficiency.
- Improved decision-making.
- Improving customer service.
- A Recommendation - At this point, you may have more questions than answers and feel that you are being forced to make many assumptions. This is common for many real project teams and consultants at this pointing the project. You'll gain confidence from experience, by doing good research, and by paying attention to the details. At this point, you need to make a recommendation to your client and support it. Given the limited amount of information and time, you should still be confident that your recommendation provides the best value to the organization and that the benefits outweigh the costs.
Be sure you recommend only one (1) of the three alternatives and that you provide reasons for your choice based upon your analysis
(Later on, should the client approve the project, your team may be asked to go to the next step and create a detailed schedule and budget which will provide a clearer picture of the project's true costs.)
Once you have completed the above deliverable, please post it to your team's discussion board. This assignment is due by the end of Session 2 by 11:00pm EST.