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How can you help your department invest in the right things, at the right time? The way you develop your plan can help clarify what your priorities and goals are -- and having clear goals is an important part of being able to achieve those goals.

Start with the basics. The foundation is a business case. You want your company’s senior executives, to all levels of employees, to clearly understand what you are trying to achieve with an initiative for a product or service offering.

Build the executive summary first. The content must be on one presentation page. Simply describe what you are trying to achieve, by when, what value it will provide, and what you need to accomplish it.

Break it down by, asking these simple questions:

  1. What is the problem you are trying to solve? Clearly state a brief description of problem statement and how you are planning to address with the initiative.
  2. What are the key objectives? List the top 3 - 5 key objectives the initiative will focus on solving or improving.
  3. What are the key measurable business outcomes? Match line by line the what will result from achieving the objectives. The results should be measurable as in an increase or decrease by “x” or “%”. Many refer to these results as key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics.
  4. What are the deliverables and timeline? List the deliverables and when they will be delivered or released to the business. There is nothing more clear to an executive stakeholder than what are we getting and by when. The deliverables should be 3-5  high-level tangible things the initiative will deliver. These deliverables should be broken into things that can be delivered in short time frames, ideally quarterly or less.
  5. How do you align the initiative? List how the initiative aligns with your organization or enterprise strategy and/or goals and if there are complementary efforts within the company that your initiative will have dependencies with.
  6. What are the proposed financial factors? What funding is needed to accomplish the initiative? For example, think about implementation costs, workforce resources, depreciation expense, and ongoing support that is required to operationalize the initiative.

Asking and answering these core questions will build the executive summary. Table 1 below is a sample diagram to get started. The key is to be able to communicate what you are trying to achieve with one slide to start the needed investment and prioritization discussions.

Table 1

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Brief description of problem statement and how you are planning to address with this initiative.
Key Objectives Business Outcomes / Success Criteria
List the top 3 - 5 key objectives the initiative will focus on solving/improving List top 3-5 how the initiative will measure business value (ROI)
Project Alignment Timeline & Deliverable Factors
Strategy Alignment - list how the initiative aligns with enterprise or org strategy Project Timeline: FYXXQX - FYXXQX

- FYXXQX - Release / Deliverable - list the deliverables and when they will be released

Financial Factors
Funding Needs:  - List potential needs for investment in current FY and beyond

Payback Period:             ROI over X Years:


Other Posts in the Series

  1. Enterprise investment management simplified: Business case
  2. Enterprise investment management simplified: Prioritization
  3. Enterprise investment management simplified: Budget efficiencies

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