"A fool with a tool is still that...a fool."
While the origins of this quote are unknown, I first heard this a few years ago from Colin D Ellis during a conference keynote he delivered and it stuck.
Over the past few years, I have played my part in shaping a number of business cases and one common theme I see with most is sponsors starting with a tool in mind.
It is clear that tools are all around us and so are tool sales professionals. They buzz in your ears like a humming bumblebee and do not let go until a licensing / subscription agreement is signed.
Dashboards, mobility, real time data availability, great user interface....blah blah blah! Our software can do this, you will get this, we can move you to the new application before you can start to think!
They keep going till you are convinced this is the best thing since sliced bread (yes...a cliche! but that's how it feels till you spot mold on the bread! )
Quite often the buzz is so loud that it silences the key problems that you set out to solve. This can be the beginning of a business case built on thin air. The only tools you are left with to deliver a project that solves key problems are hope and luck!
And if you are sucked into it, the way out can be painful. So what do you do?
Next time you are setting out to shape a business case and are worried about being fooled by tools, ask the following questions:
- Problems - Can you talk us through similar problems that a different client solved with your tool? Could you introduce us to that client so that we can understand this better?
- People - Can you introduce us to some of the people from your side (or your implementation partners side) who were involved in helping the other clients navigate through their problem?
- Process - Could you help us understand the process of how you propose we go about solving our problems? (And I don't mean the implementation approach for your tool 🙂)
Two possible outcomes here:
- If they are genuinely interested in helping you solve your problems, they will take initiative to relate to your questions and enable conversations. As a result your business case will be far more grounded, relevant and realistic.
- If they were only interested in the signed agreement, you will hear excuses or less from them. Saves you time and allows you to build a better business case.
Either ways you are better off!
Have a great week ahead.
PS: When you are ready:
1) If you are involved in writing or contributing to business cases at work, you may want to join me on a complimentary webinar I am running on 3 Jun 2021 at 12.30pm NZST. Register here - SHARP business cases that cut the crap
2) If you liked this article, you may want to check out my weekly newsletter. You can signup here Newsletter
3) My first book REBOOT is still going strong on Amazon. It has been in the Top 5 hot new releases on Amazon Australia in the project management category ever since it launched. It also made to Amazon Australia no. 1 best seller in the project management category. If you haven't got your copy yet, you can get it here: REBOOT
4) For more of what I do and who I help, you can visit my website www.ganapathyiyer.com