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The Eye of the Storm: The Business Case

You may have noticed that one theme in this blog is change management, which I think must be central to a BA’s approach to managing requirements. Actually, I take that back…. To some degree, it seems that there is an overemphasis on the requirements themselves, at the expense of managing the business case for satisfying those requirements.

I will try to state my concern philosophically first, by asking the question “Where does the BA stand? What ought to be the BA’s primary point of view?” Here are the stands I see taken by BAs, to varying degrees: 

  • The requirements themselves – extremely challenging to set one’s bearings on the requirements themselves, because they will change! 
  • The requirements process – obviously a more stable view, giving one the prism through which to view and manage the constantly changing requirements 
  • The business case itself – this is the most advantageous point of view from which the BA should start his or her day

Saying it another way, if my mission is to manage the requirements, I could lose sight of the business case itself, which will change as requirements and solution elements (scope, schedule, cost) change. But if my mission is to keep the business case alive and fresh, by continually reflecting within the business case, in business case terms (benefits, costs, risks), the changes to requirements and solution elements, I have not only (a) taken a stand that puts me closest to my stakeholders from a business benefit point of view but also (b) made change management my core activity, because the business case cannot be kept fresh without it.

Do you agree? How central is continuous business case management to the way you work? If it is not central, what are the obstacles/challenges you face in making it so?