Do you struggle to derive value from the business case of product changes? Many organizations do. Teams eager to fix issues or develop new products often perceive business cases as red tape. Rarely does product management provide the motivation to deliver a complete business case either. It is often acceptable to approach a change review board with only high-level estimates of engineering costs, upgrade costs, and cost of goods impacts. Without demand for a complete business case, project teams loosely link it to the change impact analysis, which results in gaps between cost estimates and actual spending. Project managers introduce contingency budgets and buffers to compensate for these gaps, tying up budget that could be allocated elsewhere. Unclear cost estimates lead decision makers to postpone change approvals from change review board to change review board to let teams rework their proposals. In practice, the weekly or bi-weekly recurrence of those boards add many days of delay to change approvals. Such practice translates into inefficient decision-making, unreliable cost accruals and distrusted return on investments.

How then to leverage the value of change business cases throughout the change process? Best practice methods like CM2 already provide guidance to track change costs and use them throughout the closed-loop change process. End-to-end guidelines to estimate, measure and learn from change business cases are missing, though. The goal of this article is to provide guidelines to help you build an estimate-measure-learn loop inside your change process.

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