Here are the solutions for the Business Cases module as well as some suggestions to help you put them into practice.
1. What are the essential elements of every business case storyline?
Every business case storyline must have a Context, Trigger, Question, Answer (Governing Idea) plus supports. These elements serve two purposes: by clarifying them for yourself you will be confident that you have ‘nailed' your proposition, and you will be confident that you have presented it in such a way that your audience will be able to grasp the concepts quickly. The other two options had elements missing, and if you miss any of these elements you cannot be sure you have truly nailed your proposition.
2. What kind of storyline would you use if you wanted to support your proposition with a series of separate, independent points?
A logical grouping. Groupings allow you to support your Governing Idea (the single idea that answers your audience's primary question) with two to five independent points. These points will be parallel, which means that they will all be ‘the same kind of thing', or in other words all reasons, or all actions, all criteria, etc.
3. Before you invest a lot of time in preparing your business case storyline, you should …
Do both of these things. Diving straight into writing feels seductively productive, however can lead you into taking long and time-consuming detours. Instead, we would encourage you to think first about your own purpose and your audience as well as reviewing some time-tested patterns before you start. Thinking about your end product in advance will also influence how you prepare your storyline: the tone of the language you use, the length in particular. An email, for example, is much shorter than a chapter report.
4. The core questions you should focus on before starting to prepare your storyline relate to …
All of the above. We can't overstate how important this is.
5. If you are going to analyse your audience before preparing your materials, you would think about …
All of the above. The more you can understand about your audience the easier it is to confirm the single question that you will answer in your business case. The subtleties of this question can vary enormously according to your understanding of your audience, and this in turn has a major impact on both your actual proposition and how you present it. We recommend spending a disproportionate amount of time thinking about your audience as well as the context, trigger and question, as when these are aligned the rest will flow much more quickly.
6. The two basic storyline types each have pros and cons. When would you choose to use a logical grouping rather than a deductive argument?
When you have two to five separate points to make. A grouping enables you to put forward your single ‘Answer' and then support it with two to five independent ideas. There should only be two to five ideas as two is the smallest number of ideas you can have in a group (one thing does not make a group of things) and five is about the most ‘things' an audience can grasp at once, even when the audience is unusually intelligent.
7. When would you choose to use a deductive argument?
All of the above are valid reasons to choose to use a deductive argument. You must be certain of your case to use this approach as if the links between the ideas break, the whole story is broken. Equally, this approach is most suited to situations where no other avenue will work as you will be taking your audience through some reasoning first (with the statement and comment, the first two major ideas within your argument) and then leading them to one and only one inevitable conclusion. You would not want them to arrive at another possible destination, as this would invalidate your whole argument. Finally, a deductive argument provides the opportunity for you to explain why your proposition is the right one and then how to put it into practice. The first two major points (the statement and the comment) provide the reasoning and the third point, the implication at the end, will then be supported by actions.
We have two thoughts here that may help you with your business cases: a storylining strategy describing how to present your business case when you have multiple audiences as well as information about some software that can help you with business cases as well as other types of storylines.
Elizabeth's story offers insights in how to prepare a storyline strategy to get the funding she needed for a $10 million project. Click here to read it.
Storylining software to make it faster and easier to prepare your business cases and other types of documents. If you like the idea of working with patterns and have not yet tried neosi, do so. A free trial comes with four storyline patterns for one of the most commonly used business stories: management updates. A full license, however, comes with eight categories of storyline pattern: alerts, business cases, change and compliance stories, options stories, proposals, recommendations and management updates.
The full license also reminds you of the logical rules while you build your storyline, provides a complete set of storylining FAQs and enables you to export the one storyline to a range of different Word or PowerPoint templates. We can also customise it so that only you and you're team have access to your own corporate templates.
As always, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help you at any point.
Davina and Gerard