A template for a Product/Project Business Plan that describes a new project for inclusion in the corporation portfolio of projects.
What this is
A template for a Product/Project Business Plan that describes the rationale for a new project being proposed.
Why it's useful
This Business Plan template gives you a consistent and repeatable format for all product or project that are entered and tracked in the company's pipeline of projects and products. This consistency is very helpful for objective and fast evaluation, comparison and decision-making by senior management, as to whether a new project has sufficient economic value, especially compared to other potential projects, to be included in the company's project portfolio. The format ensures that the project's business objectives and contribution are documented in enough detail for sound project decisions to be made. Every new project must be considered in the context of all other ongoing or selected projects.
How to use it
Use the business plan as follows as a project idea moves from concept through investigation to full project launch:
Initiate a project concept with a rough business plan: Create an initial business plan, filling in estimates and known information. The information may be very sketchy at this point. It can be attached to a "New Project Proposal" (see our template for that one-page document). Feed the proposal and business plan into a company system for reviewing new project ideas, prioritizing them, and authorizing project ideas to receive further attention
Approve the idea for initial concept investigation: This initial "Phase 0 concept investigation" is very brief, meant to allow a small amount of time for high-level investigation work by one or two people (e.g. a technical person and a marketing or business person). The fleshing out they do of the business plan to further describe the project purpose, revenue/cost savings contribution, and expenses and related looks at technical feasibility, then form the basis the go/no-go decision. I.e., based on their updates to the business plan, is this project beneficial enough economically to be approved for a full Planning phase? The content will still be rough, but ranges of variance can be used to establish go/no-go criteria for going further with the project to a full definition and planning phase
Refine during a full definition and planning phase: At this point the concept has merited enough attention for a core project team to be assigned. As the project's requirements and scope are fleshed out during this phase, the business plan estimates are revised as the project scope, schedule, and resources are defined as well as cost information on the product, system or service. Before the project is approved for full execution past this phase (such that there will be a major ramp-up of resources to a full project team and corporate commitment to the project), the Phase 1 Business Plan is refined to most support the return-on-investment case in the appropriate level of detail and accuracy.
NOTE: Business Plans of previous projects are also an excellent resource for reference when launching new projects, especially when they are corroborated with lessons-learned information.
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