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In This Issue


Learning Corner


At Tanden, we believe the learning process does not end upon the receipt of a diploma or the completion of a college degree.  Based on our experience, we are convinced that the learning experience truly begins from an effective mix of hands-on experience supported by a foundation of fundamental and essential principles related to a specific learning discipline.

 

The Learning Corner is designed to provide the Leadership Beacon reader with a portal into offerings available to help develop his or her professional skills and aptitudes.  


 

Upcoming Learning and Development Offerings

 

Upcoming Webinars and Training Courses:

 

Web’n Learn:
“Establishing a Business Case”, 20 Feb 2015

 

Web’n Learn: “Conflict Resolution for Project Managers”, 20 March 2015

 

Open Enrollment: “PMP Certification Examination Preparation”, 23-27 March 2015

 

Web’n Learn: “Promoting Creativity in the Project Environment”, 17 April 2015

 

Virtual Training: “PMP Certification Examination Preparation”, 20-24 April 2015

 

For more information on these and other Project Leadership Series offerings, go to www.projectleadershipseries.com.


Career Corner


At Tanden, we espouse the belief that careers have no boundaries and it is only you that can limit your career potential!   The purpose of the Career Development Corner is to provide you with some tidbits that could be helpful in your own personal career development. We are going to take a
Project Management Approach to Career Planning because, sometimes, a little industry knowledge or personal development techniques could be just what the “Career Doctor” orders! 


The Career Plan, Part 1: 
The Essentials
 

Jobs are for the static; careers are for the dynamic.  Do you want to be dynamic or static?

 

In this issue, we’ll discuss the essential elements of a career plan… NOT a job plan, but a CAREER plan.  Subsequent issues will address each of these components in greater detail.  In effect, we will “set the table” in this edition.

 

This series of postings are designed to help readers design, craft, and implement their own personal career plan and treat it as a project.  By the end of this series, readers will be able to articulate their personal career plan through a clear vision and mission (core doctrine), a well-aligned strategy (scope and objectives), a well-defined action plan (project plan), and regular check-ups and adjustments (monitor and control plan).

Topics covered in this career-enabling series of postings include:

  • Defining Your Career Core Purpose and Vision
  • Devising a Personal Contribution Inventory
  • Crafting a Personal Career Elevator Speech
  • Building a Purpose-Driven Career WBS
  • Formulating a Career Activity and Action Plan
  • Performing a Career Risk Assessment

 

Be sure to reconnect with each issue of The Leadership Beacon to guide you through the development of you own career plan!
15 February 2015 
Dear Leadership Beacon Subscriber, 
Welcome to our quarterly Leadership Beacon newsletter! Our intent is to provide you with useful and relevant learning and development information in the leadership and project management disciplines. 
 
We look forward to working with you on your leadership develop journey!


The Project Business Case:

Moving Beyond an Idea to Taking Action


Projects, in their simplest form, are the tactical initiatives that organizations take on to help reach its strategic goals. In other words, these temporary endeavors (projects) represent the stepping stones along the proverbial path to the finish line (goals). Yet, because every organization is limited by a finite amount of time, resources, and funding, they must reasonably determine which endeavors move from merely a concept to a project.  Enter the project business case. 


What is a Project Business Case?

 

A business case is a document that provides justification for starting a project by describing the benefits, costs and impact, and projected return on the organization’s investment. In basic terms, the business case sells the project idea to the key organizational stakeholders who will make the ultimate decision on which initiatives it will endeavor. As a result, the business case must be realistic, clearly articulated, and structured to address the needs of the decision-makers.

 

A business case IS:

  • A written document that reflects the author’s argument for making a specific decision
  • An economic and financial analysis used to support organizational decision-making (i.e., project selection)
  • An illustration of the implications (financial and schedule) and uncertainties (e.g., risks) associated with the decision

A business case IS NOT:

  • A project schedule
  • A project budget
  • A project status report

Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately – yet realistically in the eyes of the decision-makers – your proposed project is only as good as it is presented. So, how can you make your business case capture the attention of the decision-making stakeholder? Let’s explore some of the key elements that will help make your business case “pop”!

 What are the Essential Elements of a Project Business Case?

 

Remembering that your idea is competing for approval against several other potential projects, it is imperative that your business case is lucid and succinctly presented. To do this, the author must be sure to address the most essential elements of the project’s case. These critical components include:

 

Executive Summary

The first section of the business case needs to capture the attention of the organizational decision-makers. The Executive Summary section of the business case and is designed to provide essential background information as well as a well-crafted problem or opportunity statement.

 

Background

One to two paragraphs that describe the purpose, objectives, and content, the background should give them a reason to continue reading the business case document.

 

Problem or Opportunity Statement

In essence, the author needs to describe how the proposed endeavor will address an existing problem or seize on a potential opportunity. This is articulated in the Problem or Opportunity Statement which describes the negative threat or positive event that will occur as a result of doing the project. More specifically, it provides information on the current state (“as is”), the desired state (“to be”), and the existing delta (“the gaps”) between the first two.

 

The Executive Summary essentially provides readers with answers to the questions: “Why are we reading this?” and “What is it are we addressing?”

 

Proposed Solution

Now that the “table has been set” for why the project is necessary, the author needs to propose the remedy, or solution.  In a project business case, the solution is effectively the proposed project itself. The elements of this section should include:

 

Project Overview

A brief description of the project and associated deliverables (answers “What is it?”), the proposed approach (“How will it be done?”), and the projected timeline (“How long will it take?” and “When will it be done?”)

 

Audience Analysis

Highlights the key stakeholders, customers, and team member groups associated with the project (“Who will be affected by and engaged in the project?”)

 

Cost Benefit Analysis

Description of the return on investment (ROI) from doing the project; illustrates the estimated costs required to complete (and support) the project as well as the expected revenue increases or cost savings resulting from the project. Supporting data (e.g., Net Present Value, Payback Period, and Opportunity Costs) should be referenced in this section. This section answers the questions: “How much will it cost?” and “What will we get in return?”

 

Impact Analysis

An outline of the organizational impact and technology implications resulting from the project; these could include effects to organizational processes, technical platforms, or business operations.  In addition, the impact analysis section of the business case should highlight key risks and constraints potentially encountered by the project.  This section is designed to answer the readers’ question, “What if…?”

 

Alternatives Analysis

This section will describe the different options or approaches that were considered when formulating the solution idea. It should include a brief description of the alternatives and reasons for not selecting them. One of the options described herein should always be “do nothing” or “maintain the status quo.”

 

Communications and Reporting

The final section of the proposed solution will describe the plans for communicating and reporting the project’s progress, status, and planned activities. Though not as detailed as the eventual project’s communication plan, it should highlight the benchmarks, milestones, and frequency of executive reporting. This section will provide the reader with the answer to, “”How are we doing?”

 

Go-Forward Action

The closing section of the project business case document will outline the expected next steps.  The Go-Forward Action content should include:

 

Summary of the Recommended Project

One paragraph at most, this should include a brief restatement of the project summary, benefits, and expected outcomes.

 

Request for Decision

The ABC of the project business case: Always Be Closing! Clearly outline your expectations of the decision-makers such as: what you need from them and when you need it. In other words, you want their approval to go forward with the project and need it by ‘x’ date in order to meet the terms presented in the business case.

 

 

In summary, the business case presents the decision-makers with the first impression of the project. Though you may believe you are ready to proceed with the project, you cannot without approval from the decision-makers (you cannot pass “go” or “collect $200 without it!). If the business case is executed with effective structure and adequate attention to detail, your project concept will more than likely move from an idea to an active endeavor.

 

 

Where Can I Learn More?

You can learn more about the project business case through our Project Leadership SeriesSM Web’n Learn session, “Establishing a Project Business Case.”  This 1.5 hour webinar will be broadcast live on Friday, 20 February 2015, at 12:30 PM ET.  Don’t worry if you cannot make the live session – the webinar will be recorded for future playback!

 

To learn more or register for the webinar, go to www.projectleadershipseries.com.


Quick Links


History Corner


At Tanden, we tend to agree with George Santayana, poet, essayist, and novelist, when he wrote, “Those who do not remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”  

 

The History Corner is designed to

provide insight
into our past with hopes we can gain some key takeaways in our present leadership and project management environments. Who knows, maybe you can learn a thing or two that will apply to your current endeavors…?


100 Years Ago…

In this issue, we look back exactly 100 years to recognize three historical events that have had a significant impact on the project management discipline. Seemingly, the focus this month deals with communications technology and innovation:

 

January 25, 1915: Alexander Graham Bell and his colleague, Thomas Watson, complete the first transcontinental telephone call.  Bell – in New York City – successfully connects with Watson – in San Francisco. The first conference bridge?

 

February 7, 1915: The first wireless message was successfully sent from a moving train to a train station. Technically, could one consider this the first wireless text message?

 

March 3, 1915: The United States National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the precursor to today’s NASA, was created. Forefather to the PERT Estimating technique?


Cause Corner


Tanden firmly believes that leadership is more about doing the right things – not merely just talking about it. 

 

In the Cause Corner, we will highlight the charities and philanthropies that we support. Please check them out!


The St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Since 2008, Tanden Founder and President, Chris Wright, has been involved with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Each year, he and his colleagues with The Bald Entrepreneurs, have hosted and managed an annual event to raise money for the foundation. Through 2014, The Bald Entrepreneurs’ events have raised over $575,000 for this important cause.

 

What is the St. Baldrick’s Foundation?

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for life-saving childhood cancer research and funds more childhood cancer grants than any organization except for the U.S. government. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has funded more than $154 million to support the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world. 

 

How Can I Learn More and Contribute?

Check out this year’s event Mr. Wright’s fundraising page by clicking here

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