Making the Case for Change: Using Effective Business Cases to Minimize Project and Innovation Failures, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Making the Case for Change

Using Effective Business Cases to Minimize Project and Innovation Failures, 1st Edition

By Christopher F. Voehl, H. James Harrington, Frank Voehl

Productivity Press

265 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781466580510
pub: 2014-09-03
Hardback: 9781138463981
pub: 2017-08-15
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pub: 2017-08-15
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The best time to stop projects or programs that will not be successful is before they are ever started. Research has shown that the focused use of realistic business case analysis on proposed initiatives could enable your organization to reduce the amount of project waste and churn (rework) by up to 40 percent, potentially avoiding millions of dollars lost on projects, programs, and initiatives that would fail to produce the desired results. This book illustrates how to develop a strong business case which links investments to program results and, ultimately, with the strategic outcomes of the organization. In addition, the book provides a template and example case studies for those seeking to fast-track the development of a business case within their organization.

Making the Case for Change: Using Effective Business Cases to Minimize Project and Innovation Failures provides executive teams and change agents with the information required to make better business case decisions. This book can be used throughout the life cycle of the project to assist with gaining a better understanding of the following key knowledge areas for developing a business case:

  1. Understanding the present problem/improvement opportunity
  2. Documenting how the project, program, or initiative will add value to the organization
  3. Validating the data and the assumptions that the projected improvements are based upon
  4. Calculating the level of confidence that can be placed upon the conclusions that are reached
  5. Assessing the alternative solutions that were considered
  6. Weighing the costs vs. the benefits of the proposed initiative
  7. Analyzing and mitigating the risks to completing 100 percent of the project’s goals
  8. Eliciting and prioritizing the requirements of key stakeholders and subject matter experts
  9. Identifying the key people that are involved in the proposed project and the skills needed to implement the proposed change
  10. Obtaining consensus on the decision to move forward, as well as on the methods used and the conclusions specified in the analysis

Ideal for executives and project/initiative managers seeking approval of an activity, initiative, program, or project, the book presents proven tips, advice, suggestions, and recommended courses of action for developing effective business cases. In addition, suggestions for recruiting a responsible senior officer or sponsor for the project and for engaging an audience are provided.

The authors combine their own experience in business case development with approaches used by world-class organizations. They provide a general range of assessment criteria that can be applied to almost any type of project business cases.

The text discusses each of the 8 activities and the 35 tasks that make up the business case development process. This process supplies you with a proven approach for creating comprehensive and well-constructed business case evaluations that will either ensure the success of your project, or eliminate unsuccessful projects, programs, and initiatives before they start.

Table of Contents

Getting Started with the Business Case—Activity 1: Set the Proposal Context and Stimulus


Preparation Activities (PA): Initiating the Business Case Development (BCD) Process

Task PA 1: Prepare a Mission Statement and Select a BCD Team Leader

List of the Top 20 Attributes of an Effective BCD Team Leader

Task PA 2: Understanding the Role of the VPD Team

Task PA 4: Creating the Stimulus Blueprint

Inputs to the BCD Process

Activity 1: Set the Proposal Context and Stimulus

Task 1.1: Create the BCD Team

Task 1.2: Preparing the BCD Team

Task 1.3: Analysis of Proposed Project’s Input Documents

Task 1.4: Does the Proposal Meet the Required Ground Rules to Prepare a Business Case?

Task 1.5: If the Answer to 1.4 Is "No," Then Take Appropriate Action


Activity 2: Define the Sponsor’s Role and Test Alignment to Organizational Objectives


Activity 2: Define the Sponsor’s Role and Test Alignment to Organizational Objectives

Task 2.1: Define the Business Case Sponsor’s Role in the BCD Process

Task 2.2: Align the Project/Initiative with Strategic Goals and Objectives


Activity 3: Prepare the BCD Team’s Charter and Output


Task 3.1: Develop the BCD Team’s Charter

Task 3.2: Define the Business Case Final Report

Brief Explanation of the Sample Document Elements

Change Management Action Plan

Summary of Task 3.2



Activity 4: Patents and Other Intellectual Property Considerations


Task 4.1: Is the Idea/Concept an Original Idea/Concept?

Questions to Ask to Protect against Copyright Problems

Internal Communications Issues

Task 4.2: Start The Patent/Copyright Process



Activity 5: Collecting Relevant Information/Data


Alignment of Tasks in Chapters 5, 6, and 7

Resistance to Change

Implementation Costs

Task 5.1: Characterizing the Current State

Product or Service-Related Changes

Accuracy of Current State Measurements

Task 5.2: Characterizing Proposed Future State

Four Factors to Consider and the Common Positive and Negative Impacts

Estimating the Positive Impacts

Characterizing Projected Future State for a Proposed Product or Process Improvement Project

Product Future State

Characterizing Refinements to a Current Product

Characterizing the Replacement of a Current Product with New Product

Characterizing a New Product That Represents a New Product Line

Task 5.3: Define the Proposed Future State Assumptions

Task 5.4: Define the Implementation Process

Task 5.5: Define the Major Parameters Related to the Proposal

Task 5.6: Define the Quality and Type of Data to Be Collected and Prioritized

Factor 1: Measuring the Current State

Factor 2: Measuring the Future State after the Project Has Been Implemented

Types of Measures

Data Disciplines

Factor 3: Collecting Data to Estimate the Proposed Project’s Impact on the Parameters

Factor 4: Estimating the Cost of Defining and Implementing the Changes to the Process or the New/Refined Product

Task 5.7: Develop the Data Collection Plan

Business Case Research Relevance to Data Quality

Basic Components of Business Case Data Quality

Problems with Business Case Data Collection

Business Case Sampling

On the Cost of Sampling

Some Business Case Data Analysis Tools

Tools, Techniques, and Methods Used

Data Analysis Checklist

Step 1: Clearly Defined Goals

Step 2: Operational Definitions and Methodology

Step 3: Ensuring Repeatability, Reproducibility, Accuracy, and Stability

Step 4: Sampling, Stratification, and Prioritization

Tools, Techniques, and Methods Used

Task 5.8: Collecting Process/Product Installation-Related Data/Information

Collecting Product Related Data

Collecting Project/Initiative Implementation Data

Data Collection Summary



Activity 6: Projected Improvement Analysis


Task 6.1: Characterize the Current State of the Parameters Identified in the Tasks Defined in Chapter 5

Task 6.2: Estimate the Degree of Change That Will Be Brought about as a Result of the Project for Each of the Affected Parameters

Case Study Number One

Task 6.3: Compare the Estimated Degree of Change to That Projected by the Individual or Group That Originated the Project

Task 6.4: Determine if the Improvement Justifies Continuing the Analysis

Case Study Number Two


Activity 7: Developing Proposed Project Recommendations, Estimates of Resources, and Return on Investment (ROI)


Task 7.1: Develop an Estimate of Resources Required to Implement the Proposed Project

Parametric Model Estimation

Total Cost Estimation

Simulation Model Estimation

Reserve Analysis Estimation

PERT or 3-Point Estimation

Published Data Estimation

Analogous Estimation

Vendor Bid Analysis Estimation

Expert Judgment Estimation

Task 7.2: Perform a Sensitivity, Safety, and Risk Analysis and Develop Mitigation Plans

Sensitivity Analysis

Task 7.3: Calculate Value Added to the Organization

Task 7.4: Develop Proposed Project/Initiative Recommendations


Activity 8: Presenting the Business Case to the Executive Committee


Task 8.1: Prepare the Business Case Final Report

Business Case Final Report Outline Summary

Executive Summary

Task 8.2: Set Up a Meeting with the Executive Team

Scheduling the Executive Team Meeting

Meeting Agenda

Preparation for Executive Team Meeting

Task 8.3: Present Findings and Recommendations to the Executive Team

Task 8.4: Project/Initiative Approval Decisions

Task 8.5: The Project/Initiative Is Approved

Task 8.6: Proposal Is Rejected

Task 8.7: Prepare an Initial Project Mission Statement

Task 8.8: Closure of the BCD Team


Summary of the Business Case Development Process

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D


About the Authors

Chris Voehl is the president of Seven Sigma Tools in Tallahassee, Florida, a company focused on accelerating client performance, customer satisfaction, systems deployment, project management, business development, process optimization, and continuous improvement services.

Voehl has over 20 years of technical, consulting, and executive management experience spanning multiple disciplines in a variety of industries, specializing in process optimization and client value delivery for business services, human capital consulting firms, and nonprofits, while helping service industry and healthcare organizations adapt the methodologies of TQM, ISO 9001, and Lean Six Sigma.

Throughout 2012 and 2013, Voehl focused on government sector quality improvement initiatives in Jamaica and the United States, while also leading global call center transformation initiatives internationally, providing clients with detailed assessments of strategy/vision alignment, call center quality, organizational alignment, customer satisfaction, process optimization, and technology utilization. The successful telecom projects are projected to yield upwards of $500 million in revenue based on implementation of new technology, process optimization, and recruitment process outsourcing.

Voehl managed the development of the Lean Six Sigma executive education curriculum for Nova Southeastern University (NSU), Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Serving as a course instructor and mentor at NSU and the University of Central Florida, hundreds of White Belts, Yellow Belts, Green Belts, and Black Belts have been certified since 2009.

Voehl has been an American Society for Quality (ASQ) member since 1995, is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and is the author of several articles and publications on quality, technology, and business analysis.

H. James Harrington, PhD, is CEO of Harrington Institute, Inc., in Los Gatos, California. In the book, Tech Trending, Dr. Harrington was referred to as "the quintessential tech trender." The New York Times referred to him as having a "… knack for synthesis and an open mind about packaging his knowledge and experience in new ways—characteristics that may matter more as prerequisites for new economy success than technical wizardry. …" The author, Tom Peters, stated, "I fervently hope that Harrington’s readers will not only benefit from the thoroughness of his effort, but will also ‘smell’ the fundamental nature of the challenge for change that he mounts." President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. Harrington to serve as an Ambassador of Good Will. It has been said about him: "He writes the books that other consultants use."

The Harrington Institute was featured on a half-hour TV program, Heartbeat of America, which focuses on outstanding small businesses that make America strong. The host, William Shatner, stated: "You (Dr. Harrington) manage an entrepreneurial company that moves America forward. You are obviously successful."

Present Responsibilities

Dr. Harrington serves as the chairman of the board for a number of businesses, and is recognized as one of the world leaders in applying performance improvement methodologies to business processes. He has an excellent record of coming into an organization, working as its CEO or COO, which results in a major improvement in its financial and quality performance.

Previous Experience

In February 2002, Dr. Harrington retired as the COO of Systemcorp A.L.G., the leading supplier of knowledge management and project management software solutions when Systemcorp was purchased by IBM. Prior to this, he served as a principal and one of the leaders in the Process Innovation Group at Ernst & Young; he retired from Ernst & Young when it was purchased by Cap Gemini. He joined Ernst & Young when it purchased Harrington, Hurd, & Rieker, a consulting firm that Dr. Harrington started. Before that Dr. Harrington was with IBM for over 40 years as a senior engineer and project manager.

Dr. Harrington is past chairman and past president of the prestigious International Academy for Quality and of the American Society for Quality Control. He is also an active member of the Global Knowledge Economics Council.


H. James Harrington was elected to the honorary level of the International Academy for Quality, which is the highest level of recognition in the quality profession. He is a government-registered quality engineer, a certified quality and reliability engineer by the American Society for Quality Control, and a permanent certified professional manager by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. Dr. Harrington is also a certified Master Six Sigma Black Belt and received the title of Six Sigma Grand Master. He has an MBA and PhD in engineering management and a BS in electrical engineering. Additionally, in 2013, Dr. Harrington received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the Sudan Academy of Sciences.

His contributions to performance improvement around the world have brought him many honors. He was appointed the honorary advisor to the China Quality Control Association, and was elected to the Singapore Productivity Hall of Fame in 1990. He has been named lifetime honorary president of the Asia-Pacific Quality Control Organization and honorary director of the Association Chilean de Control de Calidad. In 2006, Dr. Harrington accepted the honorary chairman position of Quality Technology Park of Iran.

Dr. Harrington has been elected a Fellow of the British Quality Control Organization and the American Society for Quality Control. In 2008, he was elected to be an Honorary Fellow of the Iran Quality Association and Azerbaijan Quality Association. He also was elected an honorary member of the quality societies in Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Singapore. He is listed in the Worldwide Who’s Who and Men of Distinction Worldwide. He has presented hundreds of papers on performance improvement and organizational management structure at the local, state, national, and international levels.

Frank Voehl now serves as the chairman and president of Strategy Associates, Inc. (Coral Springs, Florida), and as a senior consultant and chancellor for the Harrington Institute. He also serves as the chairman of the board for a number of businesses and as a Grand Master Black Belt instructor and technology advisor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is recognized as one of the world leaders in applying quality measurement and Lean Six Sigma methodologies to business processes.

Previous Experience

Voehl has extensive knowledge of NRC, FDA, GMP, & NASA quality system requirements. He is an expert in ISO-9000, QS-9000/14000/18000, and integrated Lean Six Sigma Quality System Standards and processes. He has degrees from St. John’s University and advanced studies at NYU, as well as an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. Since 1986, he has been responsible for overseeing the implementation of Quality Management systems with organizations in such diverse industries as telecommunications and utilities; federal, state, and local government agencies; public administration and safety; pharmaceuticals; insurance/banking; manufacturing; and institutes of higher learning. In 2002, he joined The Harrington Group as the chief operating officer (COO) and executive vice president. He has held executive management positions with Florida Power and Light and the FPL Group, where he was the founding general manager and COO of QualTec Quality Services for seven years. He has written and published/co-published over 35 books and hundreds of technical papers on business management, quality improvement, change management, knowledge management, logistics and teambuilding, and has received numerous awards for community leadership, service to the third-world countries, and student mentoring.


The Bahamas National Quality Award was developed in 1991 by Voehl to recognize the many contributions of companies in the Caribbean region, and he is an honorary member of its Board of Judges. In 1980, the City of Yonkers, New York, declared March 7 as "Frank Voehl Day," honoring him for his many contributions on behalf of thousands of youth in the city where he lived, performed volunteer work, and served as athletic director and coach of the Yonkers–Pelton Basketball Association. In 1985, he was named "Father of the Year" in Broward County, Florida. He also serves as president of the Miami Archdiocesan Council of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, whose mission is to serve the poor and needy throughout South Florida and the world.

Voehl’s contributions to quality improvement around the world have brought him many honors and awards, including ASQ’s Distinguished Service Medal, the Caribbean Center for Excellence Founders Award, the Community Quality Distinguished Service Award, the Czech Republic Outstanding Service Award on behalf of its business community leaders, FPL’s Pioneer Lead Facilitator Award, the Florida SFMA Partners in Productivity Award, and many others. He was appointed the honorary advisor to the Bahamas Quality Control Association, and was elected to the Eastern Europe Quality Hall of Fame.

About the Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Engineering