DIR IT Leadership Technology Driven Value 

Review Gate: Business Justification 

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Description
Key Questions
Tools and Deliverables
Activity Flow


Description

The Business Justification Review Gate is the initial review gate during project delivery. Business Justification consists of project and/or alternative selection, approval, and initiation. Before a business solution is selected, the agency must examine the solution’s investment value in relation to other technology projects and DIR must assess the project’s impact on use of information technology resources across the state. Once both of these activities have been completed, the proposed business solution may then be formally approved and initiated as a project. Business Justification processes are intended to work in concert with existing agency project management practices.

When a potential opportunity is identified to improve business processes or services through technology, a business case analysis should be initiated. A project’s investment value is examined by conducting the business case analysis. The business case analysis compares business case costs to project benefits gained for business process, service, and technology improvements. A key focus is alignment of the project with business goals and objectives. Once completed, the analysis results should help prioritize the project as an agency, and thus, state investment. The business case analysis results must be forwarded to the QAT and resubmitted to the QAT if project cost increases more that 10%.

When a potential opportunity is identified to improve business processes or services through technology, an impact analysis of the project's effect on information resources common throughout the state must also be initiated. Project impact on use of information technology resources is assessed based on agency responses to an impact analysis questionnaire. The responses are forwarded to the QAT for review and assessment and resubmitted to the QAT if project cost increases more that 10%. DIR must ensure that the proposed business solution does not unnecessarily duplicate existing statewide information technology resources and that it aligns with statewide technology goals and objectives.

If the proposed business solution is selected, the solution is formally approved and initiated by establishing a charter for a project. Approval and initiation of the project signifies that formal project activities can then begin. For example, project roles and staff assignments can then be identified. A critical aspect of initiating a project is refinement of the business goals and objectives identified during the business case analysis. A project’s primary purpose is to meet the stated business goals and objectives.

Before any formal project planning activities can occur (next review gate), the agency head must approve the business outcomes at that specific point during project delivery. Approval indicates the agency head agrees the state should further invest in delivery of the project.

Key Questions

Key questions that must be answered during Business Justification include:

  • What business problem does the project solve?
  • What other alternatives have been considered?
  • What is the impact of not doing this project?
  • What is the project’s justification, in terms of expected benefits?
  • When will the project deliver expected benefits and business outcomes?
  • What are the opportunities for reuse of business processes and technical components?

Tools and Deliverables

Several deliverables are completed during the Business Justification Review Gate. Templates and a questionnaire are provided as tools for development of these deliverables.

Deliverable Description Tools
Business Case  Provides narrative comparisonof business solution costs and project benefits based on a business case analysis process. Content can be used as the basis for developing an Information Technology Detail (ITD). The ITD is a part of the LBB’s Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) process. The Business Case can also support completion of the Information Resources (IR) Strategic Plan regarding management of information technology resources.
  • Instructions
  • Template
Business Case Checklist Provides a plain language summarized list of requirements for the Business Case deliverable. The checklist is based on existing Framework guidance and the Business Case Instructions.
  • Instructions
  • Template  
Business Case Workbook Provides quantified estimates of business solution costs, project benefits, and return on investment.
  • Workbook
Business Case Workbook Checklist  Provides a plain language summarized list of requirements for the Business Case Workbook deliverable. The checklist is based on existing Framework guidance and the Business Case Instructions.
  • Instructions
  • Template
Statewide Impact Analysis Provides information necessary for assessment of the project’s impact on use of information technology resources across the state. DIR assesses the impact based on the information provided.
  • Statewide Impact Analysis Instructions 
  • Statewide Impact Analysis Template
Project Charter Includes information used to formally approve and initiate activities for delivery of the project.
  • Instructions
  • Template
Business Justification Review Gate Approval Agency head approval of business outcomes at that specific point during project delivery.
  • Review Gate Approval Instructions
  • Review Gate Approval Template

Activity Flow

The Business Justification Review Gate Activity Flow shows each major activity, the tools for use during this stage of project delivery, required approvals, and required submittals. Refer to the Framework Quick Reference to identify required approval authority for each deliverable.

Business Justification Review Gate Activity Flow 

For more information about the Texas Project Delivery Framework, contact projectdelivery@dir.texas.gov.