How to differentiate between good and superior business case proposals?

When evaluating business case proposals, it is difficult to differentiate between good and superior teams. Which team will be a winner and have the highest likelihood to succeed? How to differentiate between good and superior business case proposals?

The well written business case

Some of us are better writers than others. While it is important to be able to express your ideas clearly on paper and verbally, clearly expressed ideas do not necessarily represent the best business cases.

A business case that reads well can be mostly bluff. An incomprehensible business case can masque a brilliant idea. However, the quote from Einstein rings very true. “If you cannot explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. Thus, a business case that is incomprehensible needs more work. It is a simple as that.

However, that is not the topic of this blog. Identifying weak and mediocre plans is not difficult. The challenge at hand is how to differentiate between good and superior business cases. How do you know that what you are reading is well researched and the work of a winning team? A team that can actually deliver on what they promise. A team with the abilities to overcome challenges and bring their ideas to fruition successfully.

Scenario 1: The business case as only evaluation point

Let’s take a sample business case proposal: business case proposal (The proposal is a link to a pdf, as it is too lengthy to post as a whole in this blog).

What is your first impression based on the information provided? Is this a winning business case? Would you give this team a go for the next milestone? Is this a good or a superior team, or perhaps neither?

It is difficult to tell, since all context is missing. Unfortunately, that is often the case when review committees are evaluating business case proposals. They have little else to go by than the written text, often lack in-depth knowledge of the field, and thus have evaluate the opportunity at its face value.

What’s more, even if it is a brilliant idea, a mediocre team will still screw it up, as Ed Catmull of Pixar famously said.

Hence, is there a better way to evaluate a business case proposal?

Scenario 2: Same case, now with data analytics

Take the same business case proposal. Now prepared by teams as part of the “How to get your idea approved” course. The proposals prepared in this course come with data analytics that evaluate the quality of the team, the de-risking efforts, and the proposal.

See for yourself how the additional data analytics will help you in the decision making process.

The data analytics presented below describe two different teams, a good team and a superior team. We leave it up to you to decide which one is which:

Team 1

For the the full Dashboard of team 1

Team 2

For the full Dashboard of team 2

And the winning team is…?

Both dashboards are from teams that have done their work. They both delivered a full blown business case proposal. One team did a good job, the other a superior one.

With the additional data analytics that come with the proposal, it suddenly is no longer that difficult to tell which team is good and which one is superior. Would you feel comfortable investing in team 2 the resources they request?

Based on the business case proposal and data analytics, team 2 indeed deserves your support. The business case makes a compelling argument. There is evidence that the team has gone above and beyond to support their claims. In addition, their work behavior suggest that this is a good functioning team. Of these metrics, the team strengths indicators are probably the the best predictor of future success. To quote Ed Catmul of Pixar again: “If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better”.

Interested in using these data analytics to evaluate your business case proposals?

Want to see how this works in your organization? Sign up your teams for our “How to get your idea approved” online training course, a team-based, online, training course.

During the course, the teams will be guided through the business case proposal process and will be given the opportunity to substantiate their new service ideas. The outcomes of the course will help you differentiate between mediocre, good and superior teams.


The course consists of three units. All teams that sign up take Unit 1 and Unit 2 for free. The third unit, Unit 3 comes with coaching and has a course fee.

Mediocre teams drop out of the course before Unit 3. They do so voluntarily, realizing there are better options out there for them to pursue.

Only the better teams will take advantage of what the full course has to offer and continue with Unit 3. During this unit, the teams will learn how to draft a well-substantiated proposal for their new service idea. The coaching helps each team save time, stay focused, and stay on track. The full course can be completed within 6 weeks.

In sum, the training gives all teams the opportunity to show how good they are. Self-selection ensures only the best teams rise to the occasion. Data analytics will help you pick your winners.

For more information visit the online course page “how to get your idea approved”.