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Who manages the Business Case in an Agile Development Environment?

1. Preparing business case

The main people responsible for the business case preparation in an Agile environment would be: Product owners, product managers, Head of product, Director of product, and in case of a govt. organisation you would have few additional roles of Digital service managers (DSM) and Service responsible officers (SRO).

Depending upon the structure, culture & policies of the company, there could be broadly two approaches towards creating a business case:

Bottom-up and Top-down approach for business case

2. Bottom-up approach

Example of a completely Agile organisation that has multiple product teams and a central product management function. They would take this approach where all the individual product teams would prepare their business case for what they think should be done for their product/service. They would follow the common business case template, look at their customer problems, their product roadmap, and present their business case. All these team-level business cases would be discussed by the core business propositions team to green-light the projects they deem aligned with the company’s mission & vision.

#Pros: Democratic, collaboration, team’s input, high morale, ground-level details considered in business case preparation.

#Cons: Too many business cases, might be too disparate, time consuming.

#Ideal for: A mature central product team with expertise and common skills to think through business case preparation.

3. Top-down approach

Example of an Agile organisation that has multiple product teams and a central product management function, and operates in a hierarchical decision-making structure. They would take this approach where a set of business cases have been prepared aligning with the company’s mission & vision and the types of products & services they have. This would be passed down to the individual teams as their Objectives which they would translate into goals & tasks at their product level.

#Pros: Faster, less time consuming for individual teams, company’s objectives & mission/vision at the core of such business cases.

#Cons: Might alienate individual teams, doesn’t necessarily address ground-level issues, chance of not hearing the customer’s voice.

#Ideal for: A big organisation where there is a risk of divergent strategies in play if left with the teams, or in cases of Government bodies, where there is a set mandate or policy to be implemented by the product teams.

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Onkar Singh Lohtham

Founder & CPO | Lead Trainer | Digital Skills Mastery

Onkar is one of the most innovative and experienced agile practitioners and trainers in the world. He has helped organisations build £multi-million products/services & win awards. His passion lies in training on ‘how to’ implement unique road map & commercial strategies, manage complex backlogs and lead multi-product agile teams from inception to launch.

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