How do I make the case for what I want to do?

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How?

How do I make the case for hiring staff?

  • You should do a skills audit and gap analysis.
  • You should identify the reasons why the vacancy has arisen; the operational benefits; the reasons for filling the vacancy now; the business need; impact on other staff; the proposed budget or means of supporting the post.

How do I make the case for procuring preservation services?

  • You should do a landscape study of available service offerings; a high level overview of costs associated with different options;
  • See the Northumberland estates case study on procuring a preservation service.

How do I make the case for starting an externally funded preservation project?

  • Some organisations may require a business case prior to applying for project funding. This should include elements from the case for implementing preservation more generally (see below) but will require more focus on the timing and staff issues over the duration of the project and its impact on core business.
  • Funders will have their own priorities outlined in their funding call, so it's necessary to demonstrate how your organisation can benefit from the project, within the constraint of what the funder will want the project to achieve.

How do I make the case for implementing preservation as a core activity?

  • This should start with reference to the organisational mission and strategy and should examine the value proposition from the outset. The case will require an analysis of benefits versus costs and should emphasise the potential return on investment.
  • The non-finanical benefits are important which may include, increased productivity, enhanced reputation, improved service delivery, etc.

How do I know how much implementation detail to put in my business case?

  • Provide enough detail to justify the costs without unnecessarily limiting your implementation options. Remember the audience you are writing for and provide the level of detail appropriate to their needs. Make sure you have scoped your project sufficiently and that you clearly address the problem that you have identified.

How do I scope my business case?

  • You should set the scope very early in the business case, relating it very precisely to the problem that you are trying to solve. Setting the scope is essential to establish the cost parameters associated with your proposal. You may find it useful to draft an 'in-scope' and 'out-of-scope' list and reproduce an extract of that in your business case. You should be prepared to briefly justify any 'out-of-scope' activities and comment on how these will be/are being addressed in other organisational activities.
  • It is essential to specify the time period which your proposal will address: it could be a short, one off task or a longer series of activities which span multiple collections. You need to establish whether this is a 'capital' project - ie one off with a fixed completion point - or a 'revenue' activity which will be ongoing and indefinite. You might illustrate it with a workflow diagram. How long before the funding and resource you request will run out?

How much detail about tools and skills should be included?

  • Provide enough detail so that the costs can be justified. If you have done a pilot project, you will already know the sorts of tools and skills you need and can refer to that project in the business case.
  • Some things you might need to consider:
    • Tools for impact assessment: how will we know if the project has been a success/what it's impact has been?
    • Engagement: is there a need to engage certain stakeholders? What tools could we use to do this?
    • Measurement: how do we know if the project is progressing as planned?
    • Do we need to develop new tools or are suitable off-the shelf options available?
    • What tools will be used to monitor risk?

Is this an appropriate document in which to list my user requirements?

  • The business case should not list detailed user requirements. Remember your target audience! You may wish to provide a high level overview of the user requirements if they are your core drivers or benefits, but do not present them in standard 'user requirements' format.

How can I gather feedback on my business case?

  • Use your stakeholder analysis to identify appropriate stakeholders from which to seek feedback. Alternatively, identify the high level dependencies between your proposal and other organsiational activities, and approach colleagues in those areas to provide input to your business case in the drafting stage. See the 'Who' section for more guidance in this.
  • Gaining consensus during the drafting phase may help you gain the support you need to get your case accepted when it is submitted.

What are the rights issues?

How will it be reused (policy question)?

  • It's important to think about how the implementation of you project might impact the policies in place within you institution.
  • If your instituion has a policy in place supporting the reuse of data then identify how your project supports this and how existing policies may need to reflect new workflows.