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I'm currently studying Prince2 and am working through the business case theme. My question is about the business options in the detailed business case document, and how the contents of the business case document relate to each option.

Is it necessary to "branch" the business case document for each option?

E.g. For each option, should the document then proceed with going through the expected benefits, dis-benefits, timescales, costs, investment appraisal and major risks for the "do nothing", "do the minimum", and "do something" options? If not, which option should these contents be based upon?

I'm interested in both the "theoretical answer" and what community members consider to be most practical.

In all documentation I have seen so far, the contents after the options just refer to "the project", but the options present different project alternatives so these contents are inherently different and refer to different projects, but the study material I've seen doesn't ever "nest" these contents under the different business options.

Any help is much appreciated.

  • Edited to reference the "do nothing", "do the minimum", and "do something" options explicitly. – Paul Oct 23 '18 at 17:59
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If you look at the Prince2 principle that underpins the Business Case its the "Continued Business Justification" principle. So your business case needs to cover enough ground to get the project started & at each stage boundary or other review steps it needs to be detailed enough to be a reference for the stakeholders/project board can refer to & be assured that the project being undertaken is the one that was signed off.

Obviously all Prince2 projects should be tailored to the project specifics - so the theory is all you can base the actual project on without more detail.

If you have a multi-product project I would look at building a Business Case for the project that contains broad benefits, dis-benefits, costs risks etc & then if you have a number of products to be delivered within the project put detail in for each product. Focus your metrics on the products so that you have a solid document to refer back to that can be compared to actual things being delivered.

So if you are fitting out 5 rooms in a building you want the detail to be at room level (product) in the Business Case. Adding all the rooms up gives you the project level overview that also sits in the Business Case. But the stage boundaries are more likely to fit more comfortably with the products (rooms) so you really need thorough detail at room (product) level.

  • Thanks for the response. However, my question is to do with presenting the business options, not how to work with them once chosen. For example, should the benefits, dis-benefits, timescales, costs, investment appraisal etc. be discussed for each of the "do nothing", "do the minimum", and "do something" options in the detailed business case? – Paul Oct 23 '18 at 17:57
  • @Paul The 7th principle is that you should 'tailor to project' i.e. that you should put in enough detail for that unique project. There is no standard answer for what should be in the business case that fits every circumstance. If the project is big enough then running through a lot of detailed metrics on how the do nothing/minimum/something scenarios play out makes sense. But for a smaller project it would add too much overhead both at startup & at each stage boundary & should be avoided. – amelvin Oct 24 '18 at 8:41
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After looking at numerous example detailed business cases, I have to come to the conclusion that the remainder of the document should not branch for each business option.

The examples I have seen have the following characteristics:

  • They give a brief summary of the costs, benefits, dis-benefits etc. of each business option in that the business options section of the detailed business case.
  • They recommended a business option and justify it.
  • The remainder of the document then refers the recommended business option.

So, it seems that the most usual way to do this is to make a recommendation and describe that instead of giving a totally "free" choice for each business option.

This makes sense to me now since I would expect it's more useful to the corporate management to have a single detailed recommendation, with brief reference to other options, rather than several free choices.

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