Overview of the Business Case Development Process

The University has adopted the Gateway system for project development widely recognised as best practice for capital projects.  There are 6 gates in the Gateway Process, labelled 0 to 5 for reasons lost in time.

Project Managers are required to estimate the costs to be incurred in progressing to the next gate and providing these to Capital Programmes Board together with the appropriate documentation for each Gate.

The documentation required to support projects as they progress through the Gateway system is shown here, a Risk Register is required to accompany the Strategic Outline Case, Outline Business Case and Full Business Case at the relevant Gate.

Stage 0 – Business planning

Phase 0 – determining the strategic context (Strategic Outline Plan – SOP)

Gate 0: strategic fit

Stage 1 – Scoping

Phase 1 – preparing the Strategic Outline Case (SOC)

Gate 1: business justification

Stage 2 – Planning

Phase 2 – preparing the Outline Business Case (OBC)

Gate 2: procurement strategy

Stage 3 – Procurement

Phase 3 – preparing the Full Business Case (FBC)

Gate 3: investment decision

Stage 4 – Implementation

Gate 4: 'Go Live' – Project Review & Reporting (Project Dashboard)

Stage 5 – Evaluation

Gate 5: benefits realisation – End of Project Summary Report (EoPSR)

In parallel with the Gateway system, the University has adopted a risk-based approach to project management.  The value and risks associated with any particular project are evaluated to give a risk category rating from 1 to 3. 

The project risk category is an important feature of this Project Management Framework and is used to drive the University's review and authorisation processes.  The project category will determine whether approval will be required from the University Executive or Finance & Resources Committee in addition to engaging with the Capital Programmes Board. 

Cat 1 projects can range in value up to a few million pounds if the risk is genuinely low but only up to £250k if the risk is estimated to be medium.  Cat 2 projects can range from very low value but high risk, to projects of several millions of pounds but of low to medium risk.  At the top end of the project risk category scale, Cat 3 projects can range from high risk but medium value (≥£250k), to projects of tens of millions of pounds and of medium to high risk. 

Estimating the risk rating of a project should take no more than 5 or 10 minutes to complete using the Excel spreadsheet provided

Planning your work activities is simplified using a Gantt chart, a Microsoft Project template is available.

Templates, advice and support can be provided by Dewi Williams