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  • Writer's pictureJ.D. Solomon

Observed in Practice: 5 Reasons for Not Doing Written Business Cases

Sometimes a good subjective argument works better than presenting the facts.
Sometimes a good subjective argument works better than presenting the facts.

Organizations are constantly frustrated in the capital projects planning process and developing appropriate Operations and Maintenance (O&M) budgets. Written business cases solve either problem; however, many organizations do not get them done for differing reasons.

The Top 5 reasons provided are not necessarily good reasons, at least in theory, but are the real reasons based on three decades in the business.

5. I get what I want because I am better at advocating than my peers – It is hard to argue with this from an individual perspective. But what about the rest of the organization?

4. We don’t have a standard format – Many organizations have a standard format. The question is usually whether the format has been updated recently and whether current leaders know the process.

3. We do them, just not in writing – It does not count if it is not in writing. Remember, big decisions are rich with complexity and uncertainty. It will take time and layers of management to arrive at a final decision. At a minimum, consistency and communication require the business case to be in writing.

2. There is not enough time – Business cases do take time. On the other hand, how many meetings and how much time is wasted debating a major decision. Spending some time on the front end saves time on the back end.

1. The boss doesn’t seem to care – Sometimes. In many cases, the boss may not know. Quitely do a couple of business cases, submit them up the line, and see what happens. You will be surprised by the success you experience.

Again, these are not necessarily good or bad. The reasons just are. The good news is that existing business case formats are “out there” and can be adapted to your organization. All you need to be willing to do is avoid the status quo (and frustration) of informal capital and O&M decision processes.


JD Solomon, Inc. helps develop business cases, provides third-party reviews, supports the development of enterprise-wide business case standards, and provides training workshops.


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