What experience has taught me
From working across a variety of businesses over the years, I’ve noticed how commonly these fundamental questions get overlooked. Do business case templates get populated and sanctioned? Sure. Do those business cases get revisited throughout the project lifecycle and adapted appropriately as things change? Sometimes. Do those business cases get revisited at the end of the project to see if we achieved what we set out to? Significantly less often.
As a business analyst, I find projects are much more successful when given the opportunity to scrutinise the proposal as far as I possibly can, asking the all-important “why?” questions. Often this leads to the proposal becoming something completely different. The product that was first proposed has transformed. On some occasions it turns out there isn’t actually a problem to solve.
Change can be very attractive for statistics, to be seen to be “doing something” and an attempt to make a business better or more profitable. However, the time taken over the scrutiny of an idea at the beginning is one of the most valuable exercises any business can execute. It’s always tempting to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible, but taking time to talk with the right people about the problem statement is not something to be overlooked.
Some of the best pieces of work I’ve been part of have concluded with the business collectively saying, “We actually don’t need to change this thing we thought we needed to. We’d be better spending our money on this other thing that’s cheaper and more effective than a multi-million pound project.”
If you set off in your car and you realise you’re driving in the wrong direction for your destination, do you change course? Even the most stubborn of us would admit we’d get back on track, so why do so many businesses decide not to stop, think about things and look for the right direction?