The following information provides guidance on completing a project Business Case.

Section A: Proposed project

Project title

  • If the title has changed since the mandate was approved please give the old title in brackets after the new title.

Project Champion

  • This would normally be a member of USG or a Head of professional Service.
  • Helps gain support from key stakeholders.
  • Acts as a source of advice and guidance.
  • Could change during the life of the project.

Project Sponsor

  • A senior manager with overall responsibility for the project.
  • Is accountable for project governance and delivery of benefits.
  • Provides leadership, advice and guidance.
  • Could change during the life of the project.

Project Manager

  • Is responsible for the successful management and delivery of the project.
  • Creates project plans and monitors progress, dealing with issues as they arise.
  • Reports to project sponsor and champion and to committees as required.
  • Must have their line manager’s approval before accepting this role.
  • Cannot also be the project sponsor.
  • Could change during the life of the project.

Section B: Business Case

1) Description of project aims and overall goal

  • Identify aspects of the Universities strategic plan that are addressed.
  • Should include reasons for any changes from the description in the Project Mandate.
  • Consider whether the project fits with the general approach and intention of the organisation.
  • Consider what the implications are if the project does not go ahead.
  • Will the project solve an immediate problem or make a general improvement.

2) Project objectives

  • Include a list of outcomes that the project hopes to achieve.
  • For each, be as specific as possible and think about how to measure success. Key objectives should be SMART, for example:
    • action (increase, decrease, eliminate, improve etc.)
    • area of change (expenditures, errors, costs, revenue, paperwork, turnaround, time etc.)
    • measurable value and units (percentage, numbers of people, number of days etc.)
    • date (deadline)
    • include time estimates where possible
    • be realistic; only include objectives that are achievable

Example: Reduce spending on printer paper by 50% by December 2025.

3) Benefits and measures

  • List anticipated benefits, making sure that they link to the objectives in the previous section. Remember new computer systems or new buildings in themselves do not deliver benefits; it’s their application in the work place which leads to benefits realisation.
  • For each benefit, include a description of how it will be measured. Decision makers will be more confident in your project if they know there are clear metrics to measure success.

Example: Benefit - reduction in printed paper usage by 50% by December 2025. Measure - printed paper usage in December 2025 compared to current usage.

4) Business options appraisal

  • Be clear about what you are hoping to achieve.
  • Consider the different ways in which the objectives could be achieved.
  • Assess the costs, benefits and pros and cons of each option.
  • Give a brief explanation of why the option being proposed is considered the best option.

5) Key project deliverables

  • Working back from the delivery date, or forward from the start date, work out the key stages in the project and when they need to be completed.
  • List can include single events (such as a board meeting) or delivery of a product or an activity that can take several weeks (such as tender process).
  • Include dates of any committees that will require progress reports.
  • Include the project start and end dates.
  • The product and work breakdown structures can both help to identify the work involved.

6) Areas out of scope

  • List areas related to this project that are not being included.
  • List areas that it would be desirable to include but that cannot or will not be included and give reasons.

Example: In the longer term it would be useful to extend this project to the Southend Campus, however suitable resources are not available at present, therefore this is out of scope.

7) Project implementation approach

  • Describe how the project will be implemented.
  • Will the products be developed in-house or will they be purchased from an external supplier?
  • Is a tender exercise required?
  • Will the project be delivered in phases or all at once?
  • Consider whether a pilot, feasibility study or design study is required.

8) Project governance structure

  • Include details of any steering group or project team that will be set up, including names or job roles of members.
  • Give an indication of frequency of team/group meetings.
  • Describe how the project champion and sponsor will be updated on progress and consulted on any changes that are proposed.
  • Describe reporting arrangements, including responsibility for project updates to committees.
  • Give details of arrangements to monitor budgets (.pdf), including details of key Finance Department contacts.

9) Resource required

  • Give details of resources who will be assigned to the project in specific project roles; be sure to provide the project role rather than the individual’s name.
  • Estimate the amount of time required for each person during the project.
  • Answer ‘yes’ if the resources have been secured or give details of any problems with securing resource.


Role  Quantification  Have the resources been secured? 
Project Manager  0.25FTE  Yes 
Software Developer  5 days per month for 4 months  Agreed in principle subject to recruitment of vacant software developer post.

9(b) Transitioning to business as usual

  • Consider whether ongoing resource support is required.
  • If the project is proposing a new service clearly describe who will become the ‘business owner’ of the service.
  • If the project is proposing a new system clearly describe who will become the system owner.

10) Dependencies

Example: The ‘Office Layout’ project depends on this project as additional space will only become available if there is a reduction in printing and therefore less paper to store

11) Communications plan

  • Identify the stakeholder groups who will require updates or who will be involved in consultations throughout the project.
  • Give details of the communications channels and frequency of communications for each group.
  • Provide an outline of the plan to communicate to the wider University audience following project completion (if required).
  • Describe how learning from this project will be shared.

Example: Communication with the Project Team will be via face-to-face meetings every six weeks and update emails sent by the project manager weekly.

12) Risk management

  • Identify any known risks to the project.
  • Include risks related to inability to secure staff resources.
  • Include risks related to late delivery of any projects on which this one is dependent.
  • Consider risks related to possible changes to University policy or procedures that would impact on this project.
  • Give details of the impact on the project if these risks were to occur.
  • For each risk identified, suggest ways that the risk can be reduced (mitigated).


That the Deputy Departmental Manager recruitment is delayed.

The department managers may not be able to allocate the required amount of time to the project and this could cause milestones to be missed.

Another faculty has agreed that Departmental Management resource could be made available until the recruitment exercise is complete.


Section C: Financial information

13) Finance consultation

  • Consult with your financial/services accountant for advice and support before completing the finance table.

14) Changes to the approved funding envelope outlined in the project mandate

  • The project funding envelope can change from what was approved at the mandate stage for a number of reasons, not least because you will now have a better idea of the project scope, requirements and complexity. It is important that changes to the project budget are brought to the attention of the respective committee when submitting the business case, as changes to the original funding envelope will require further approval before the project can be implemented

15, 16 and 17) Capital and revenue project costs (including lifecycle costing)

  • Project managers should identify the ongoing maintenance costs for a new building.
  • Give details of all ongoing costs in relation to the project.
  • Include details of who will be responsible for ensuring benefits continue to be realised and any ongoing staffing implications.
  • Include any ongoing equipment or software license costs.
  • Give an indication of the expected lifetime of any equipment and anticipated replacement dates.
  • Include maintenance or servicing costs.

Section D: Privacy impact assessment

The privacy impact assessment (PIA) checklist should be completed and sent to For further information you can refer to the PIA guidance notes.

Section E: Record of consultation with Professional Services

This section provides a record of the consultation undertaken with Professional Services and should be completed in full.

Section F: Supporting documentation

Attach any supporting documentation which may include business, systems or functional requirements of the project, or a detailed project plan.

Section G: Record of approvals

This section is completed by SPCS.


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