Business Case Validation

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Business Case Validation is an early step in the Portfolio Kanban process that ensures that the business case is well-positioned to answer the needs of the business.

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Related Mindset:

Value-Driven

Segment:

Agile Portfolio

Inputs:

The inputs for Business Case Validation include the Business Case as well as user journey maps, prototypes, and feedback from the prototype research

Outputs:

The output of Business Case Validation is validation that will allow the business case to progress to the next step of creating a Portfolio Epic

Business Case Validation centers around an objective look at the main motivations of a business, as it evaluates an item within the Agile portfolio.

The portfolio team should question the reasons why the organization wants to develop the business case. In addition, research should be included to validate whether or not the idea will accomplish the goals and return on investment identified within the business case.

To accomplish these goals, the following items should be considered:

  • Existing research: The Portfolio Kanban process should yield useful information including user journey maps, prototypes, and prototype research, helping gauge the business case as it has been defined. This can be added to the existing customer knowledge for the product.
  • Competitive analysis: Product management should review competing solutions within the marketplace to evaluate if that could affect the investments and returns included within the business case.
  • Internal market research validation: Reviews are done comparing any previously done market research with additional analysis against other published sources and initial prospective customer research. All efforts are made to ensure that the product has a targeted market, that the market is searching/waiting for such a product, and that the product can serve or alleviate existing pain that prospective customers currently experience.

Common Pitfalls

Even after validating business cases, there are circumstances that can occur during implementation, causing a derivation from the ideal implementation:

  • Too much heuristic input: Strong internal pressure within an organization can cause a product to be pushed forward when the business case for the product is not validated. This happens more frequently in smaller organizations where there may be only one product or the product is still in progress. When the internal market research may be flawed or when resistance is encountered when talking to prospective customers, it can become more difficult to objectively evaluate the business case.
  • Feedback comes from within the company rather than from prospective customers: Failing to reach outside the organization to prospective customers can cause misinformation to permeate the research findings. Using internal team members for journey mapping or building initial customer personas, based off assumptions provided by team members often leads to over-generalizations of the customer base and can cause key insights to be missed.