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Strengthening executive understanding

Chris Tehan Service Line Lead

Chris Tehan | Principal and Global Business Case Service Line Lead, Melbourne | 23 June 2016

In today’s world of tight fiscal constraints, clearly articulating the need and value of investments, and how they’ll be delivered, has never been more important. Aligning investments to the specific outcomes sought by governments and industry is fundamental to achieving value-for-money.

The business case is critical to justifying the strategic and economic value of an investment and provides a clear blueprint for project delivery. A weak business case can undermine efforts to demonstrate value, even if the proposed investment has considerable merit. If poorly scoped, it also has the potential to set a project or business up to fail.

A well-written business case with a resonant narrative, provides infrastructure owners with the evidence needed to make good decisions. It clearly outlines the case for change, transparently presenting the scope, costs, benefits and risks of proceeding with the investment.

Key business case requirements infographic

Getting the case for investment right

A sound business case enables organisations to make prudent decisions, determine the benefits or returns to expect from an investment, and have confidence that the investment can be delivered.

Understanding the whole-of-life costs and benefits to be realized from an investment have a direct relationship with the level of rigor applied to up-front planning. It is critical that sufficient time and effort is spent on strategic assessment options and analysis, as this is where the ability to influence project costs and outcomes is at its maximum.

It is critical that sufficient time and effort is spent on strategic assessment options and analysis, as this is where the ability to influence project costs and outcomes is at its maximum.

Common issues

In Advisian’s experience, several common failings at the early stages of investment, contributes to problems during procurement and delivery.
At the concept and feasibility stage of the process, there is a natural tendency to focus on the solution, rather than strategic fundamentals - the problems to be solved, the customer, community and service outcomes to be achieved.

Other issues which can arise are:

  • Poor engagement with stakeholders and end-users
  • Confused accountabilities and governance
  • Insufficient rigor in assessment of options
  • Over-optimistic delivery time frames
  • Inadequate transparency in costs
  • How to improve project outcomes

Organizations can reduce risks and significantly improve project outcomes by:

  • Improving stakeholder and community engagement
  • Investing more in the front-end to better understand needs and benefits
  • Undertaking more analysis and research to understand end-user requirements
  • Identifying and analyzing a broad range of options
  • Increasing benchmarking and analysis of costs, risks and program

 

Influence and cost overtime infographic

Chris Tehan Service Line Lead

Chris Tehan

Principal and Global Business Case Service Line Lead

Chris is a transport and business case specialist with more than 23 years' industry experience in Australia, Asia and the United Kingdom. He has vast experience in preparing business cases for the transport and urban development portfolio, including for some of Australia’s major transport infrastructure projects such as Melbourne Metro, East West Link, North West Rail Link and Sydney CBD Light Rail. He has also prepared business cases for several major urban development projects and has made significant contributions to Victoria's submissions to Infrastructure Australia since 2008.