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The Business Case: Is It the Next Agile?

In earlier blog entries I discussed the notion that not requirements but the business case should be the center of the BA’s existence, and that the business case must somehow account for the costs and risks of the components comprising the intended solution.

The notion of agility is one of the primary tenets for dealing with change. But how can there be so much discussion about Agile Development, Agile PM, and Agile BA without also discussing “Agile Business Case Management”? After all, software development, PM and requirements activities are driven by and exist within the context of the business case. Before continuing, I want to acknowledge absolutely that, from a level-of-effort point of view, the specific activities around requirements management are the most demanding aspect of BA. But as requirements exist within a context of constant change from within (project dynamics) and from the outside (business dynamics), when focusing on the requirements themselves, how do we know when the business case needs to be revised and reconsidered due to those changes?

Anecdotally, in bringing up this question with my audiences at the Seattle and Denver BA Symposiums, there was general acknowledgement that requirements management is currently the main focus of Bas, and that the business case frequently falls by the wayside, once solution development commences.

Is this the case for you? What are your best practices regarding business case management to ensure that it continues to be revisited in light of development, operational, and/or business changes? When your business cases are created, do you specify boundaries (cost, risk benefit, etc.) beyond which their relative value is lost?