Use These Four Steps to Complete a Feasibility Study
A Feasibility Study is used in a couple areas of a project. It can be part of a portfolio management process to determine if you even want to approve a project. It can also be used within a project to determine in the chosen solution is feasible. The best time to complete it is when you have identified a different alternative solutions and you need to know which solution is the most feasible to implement. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Research the Business Drivers
In most cases, your project is being driven by a problem in the business. These problems are called “business drivers” and you need to have a clear understanding of what they are, as part of your Feasibility Study. For instance, the business driver might be that a customer-facing process is outdated and is causing customer complaints, or that two businesses need to merge because of an acquisition. Find out the business drivers that are important for the project and why it is critical that the project delivers a solution.
Step 2: Confirm the Alternative Solutions
Now you have a clear understanding of the business problem that the project addresses, you need to understand the alternative solutions available. For example, if an IT system is outdated, your alternative solutions might include redeveloping the existing system, replacing it with a package solution or merging it with another system. Only with a clear understanding of the alternative solutions to the business problem can you progress with the Feasibility Study.
Step 3: Determine the Feasibility
You now need to identify the feasibility of each solution. “Feasibility” can take a number of forms. For example:
- Is it feasible to complete this project for a reasonable timeframe and cost?
- Is the project technically feasible?
- Is the project politically feasible. In other words, do we have the internal support needed to sustain the project?
- Is the staffing feasible? Do we have the right skills, or can we bring in the right skills, to complete the project?
Knowing if the project is feasible may require more than just mental judgments. Here are some examples of ways you can assess feasibility:
- Research: Perform research to see if other companies have implemented the same solutions. This may tell you if the solution is practical.
- Prototyping: Identify the part of the solution that has the highest risk, and then build a sample of it to see if it’s possible to create. This will tell you if the solution is technically feasible.
- Time-boxing: Complete some of the tasks in your project plan and measure how long it took vs. planned. If you delivered it on time, then you know that your overall schedule may be feasible.
Step 4: Choose a Preferred Solution
With the feasibility of each alternative solution known, the next step is to select a preferred solution to be delivered by your project. Choose the solution that is most feasible to implement, has the lowest risk, and you have the highest confidence of delivering.
After completing these four steps, get your Feasibility Study approved by your sponsor so that everyone in the project team has a high degree of confidence that the project can deliver successfully.