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Project Business Case: Should You Be Doing Nothing?

Submitted by  on July 18th, 2012

Business man writing project planWhenever you’re planning to initiate a new project, do you ever identify your "do-nothing" and "next-to-nothing" alternatives? "Do-nothing and next-to-nothing?" you may be thinking." I thought we were doing something. Why would we all of a sudden consider doing nothing?"

These sorts of options would remain available if you didn’t pursue the project or solution you’re considering, but instead reevaluated both the status quo ("do-nothing") and other relatively simple solutions that already existed but that you may have ignored ("next-to-nothing").

It’s important to stand back and think about these things because we frequently become so engrossed in the idea that "We’re doing it, doing it, doing it! This is what we’re going to do! We have to do the project!" — that we don’t ever stop and say, "Do we really need to do the project? What could we do if we didn’t do the project?"

Although you and your organization might pursue projects only after careful deliberation and planning, sometimes this exercise reveals reasons for "doing nothing" that you hadn’t thought of before. Further, it’s always wise to ponder whether you must move forward, and what your fallback position might be if you couldn’t proceed because of a lack of funds or resources. This type of analysis also adds credibility to a business case that you might submit to a client or to management, for example.

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