ITIL business cases: how to nail it

We have already discussed what should go into a business case (and we will some more). You can get the content right but fail at the communication of it. The pitch is as important as the story.

Make sure the way the case is explained does these things:

1) Take away pain or fear. Humans are basic creatures. All the rational intellectual arguments in the world are but dust in the wind if the person is in physical or emotional pain or genuinely afraid of something. Convince them you can remove the cause and you will get anything you need.

2) Deliver on key people's personal agendas. Never mind what the organisation wants: what does the decision maker want to hear? Steady consolidation with no major change because he is headed for retirement. Radical transformation because she is new to the job and wants to be seen to have made a difference. The same basic content can be presented either way. Guess what happens when you get it the wrong way round.

3) Align with key business initiatives. Another way of saying this is to align with the decision-maker's KPIs (key performance indicators: what they are measured - and paid - on). So it is a variant of (1) above (every criterion for a successful business case is). The company has a drive for SOX compliance. The Minister has decreed cost cutting measures. The Board has announced to shareholders an exciting new program, Transformation 2010. Shape the whole business case around the language and ideas of the initiative you are aligning with. Measure the business case in terms of the initiative's deliverables.

4) Following on from 2 and 3, show how it will make the decision-makers look good, make them heroes.

5) Use the right buzz-speak. Read the Annual Report. Read what the decision-maker has been writing lately, and what they have been reading lately. Pick up on the language.

So the strength of a business case is money (real, imagined or … ah … diverted). The strategy of a business case is how it is aligned with the target organisation and decision-maker. With strength and strategy, and a little luck, and no whining, you can succeed. Look for the IT Skeptic’s future post on how to put this into action for an ITIL project.

This is an extract from an ITSMWatch article by the ITSkeptic ITIL Business Case 101

Syndicate content