While an idea might look good on paper, reality can be very different.
You’re in the shower, humming away when bam — a great idea hits. Good ideas pop up at the most interesting time. They like to pop up when we’re relaxed and don’t have the daily pressures on our mind. This is how new and interesting ideas develop. The question however is…when do you know if your good idea makes good business? While I was reading an archived PM Network Magazine (by the Project Management Institute), I came across this article “Making the Case: Good ideas aren’t always good business”.
The answer, as per the author Gary R Heerkens, was simple yet not many companies perform this suggestion: take the time to prepare a project business case. As he states, “a properly prepared project business case explores, examines and presents just about everything needed to make wise choices”.
What makes up a project business case? According to Heerkens, there were five main elements:
- Historical data and future predictions
- Facts and assumptions
- Financial and non-financial considerations
- Personnel and resources
- Logical arguments and mathematical formulas
I would like to add a sixth point:
- Benchmark the organization’s current state
Too many companies guess at where they are today so when they implement new ideas and those new ideas fail, it’s because they didn’t understand the ways of working of their organization today. You can only make positive changes if you know what you are changing, not what you think you are changing. Unfortunately, this happens way too frequently. So, in conjunction with the project business case, benchmarking current state will ensure the good idea was well thought out. This is good business!
Are your good ideas good for your business?