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Marty J. Schmidt’s Business Case Essentials: A Guide To Structure and Content has been my personal copy for a while. I sincerely apologize to the author for taking so much time to review it. It took me a while to review it.
In 1998, the book was first published as a white paper. It has grown to be a book in response to clients who have requested it. The author’s goal is to give a step-by, step guide for building a business case.
Sometimes project managers get involved in the analysis that determines whether a project is worth it. That’s where the business case comes into play. The book is very practical and logically laid out.
These are the criteria for a successful business case:
Credibility: The case can be believed.
Practical value: It empowers planners and decision-makers to act with confidence.
Accuracy: It predicts exactly what will happen.

The book illustrates what should be included in a case and how to structure a business case document using real business cases. Schmidt favors an approach that includes an executive summary. This sets out different scenarios, documents the business goals, and describes the proposed actions. This chapter is Chapter 2. The rest of the book focuses on each section, with a particular emphasis on financial metrics.
This approach to benefits is especially useful because people often have difficulty quantifying the benefits of projects. Schmidt writes that it cuts through any bad practices you might have encountered in the past. “Truly intangible costs and benefits do not belong in business cases.”
Even if you don’t prepare a business case, the cost modeling information in Chapter 3 could be helpful for planning a project budget. If you were not involved in developing the business case, it would be ideal that you see it. However, if your project is approved without one, the cost modeling section of the book will help you to create a valid budget.
Chapter 5 contains a lot of information on Monte Carlo simulations and risk analysis. This section is technical as Monte Carlo simulation needs specific software. There is also a section on simple sensitivity analysis. This is basically changing the assumptions and underlying values in your cost spreadsheet to see what happens.
This book is a great reference for when someone asks you to help with a business case.
Amazon can send you a copy.
This review was first published on Gantthead.com.