Published here February 2007.

Introduction | Original Text: Role of the Business Case
OT: Updating the Business Case | OT: Development of the Business Case: 1
OT: Development of the Business Case: 2 | OT: Use of "Stages" in the Project Life Span
OT: Transfer of Product | PART 2

OT: Updating the Business Case[3]

The purpose of the Work Package is to:[4]

  • Ensure the project remains viable against the Business Case
  • Produce the required products, meeting the defined quality criteria,
  • Carry out the work according to schedule, resource and cost plans

We have some concern over the first item because in PRINCE2 the Business Case is a "dynamic"[5] document because "It is updated at key points, such as end stage assessments, throughout the project."[6] True, this is to ensure that the business justification for the project is still valid, but there could be a tendency to match the Business Case to the current project reality rather than adjusting the project to satisfy a modified Business Case justification.


This seems a very unfair criticism of PRINCE2. You have just said that, quite correctly, controlling work expenditure and time via Work Packages to ensure a project remains viable is fine, but you then turn it on its head and claim that you 'match the Business Case to the current project reality' I don't believe that anything in PRINCE2 does this, and I think that what PRINCE2 offers here is a darned sight more powerful than any other method. At least it offers the correct way forward. Why do you say that this might be corrupted? Use of PRINCE2 doesn't corrupt it.


I am just reflecting what I have experienced in the real world of corporate politics. Although we may recommend it, it is often very difficult for corporate management to kill a project and have to justify the write off of sunk cost when the product might just turn out to be a success anyway. It is a lot easier to tinker with the business case, let the project just roll on and let someone else take the blame if, in the event, adequate benefits fail to materialize.


I don't see how this negates the benefit of writing Work Packages as a means of clarifying to a person or group what you want and ensuring that there are sufficient controls in it to monitor its progress. A Work Package has nothing to do with corporate management killing or not killing a project. The Business Case is reviewed at the end of each stage. All current Work Packages are complete by this time. IF the Business Case is still viable, the next stage is approved and new Work Packages will be issued. The Business Case is 'dynamic' but it has been checked at the end stage assessment. All PRINCE2 can do is to provide the concept of stages, identify what should be reviewed at the end of each stage and say that if the Business Case is no longer valid, then the project should be stopped. The point you are making is "but what if the Project Board doesn't do what it is supposed to do?" - I'm afraid no method can give you an answer to that one.
Original Text: Role of the Business Case  Original Text: Role of the Business Case

4. Ibid, p227
5. Ibid, p376, the Business Case is listed as one of the "dynamic" contents of the Project Initiation Document.
6. Ibid, p329
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