Understand the Business Case

As a manager, it’s your goal to make sure projects contribute to the overall goals and initiatives of the company in a positive way. In order to make informed decisions, you need information from your project managers about what they will need for their projects to move forward. This can be done through the Business Case.

What is a Business Case?

Think of a Business Case as a blueprint or proposal for the work that needs to be done. It captures high-level, preliminary estimates that help you plan and manage portfolios. It’s where potential expenses, resources, and risks are entered to build a “case” for why this project would benefit the company.

Each section of the Business Case provides unique and important information about the project. Let’s take a look at the sections that feed information to the Portfolio Optimizer tool, which will help you prioritize the projects in your portfolio.

Project Info

Most of the information entered in the Project Info section involves general project details, such as the project sponsor and the program the project belongs to.

However, there’s one piece of information that could affect the project’s prioritization—Planned Benefit.

An image of the Planned Benefit area in the Project Info section of the Business Case

The Planned Benefit represents the estimated dollar amount your company might benefit from if the project is completed.

This is one of the sections that could be a tipping point for getting your company to move forward with this project. If you can show the project will contribute significantly to your company’s bottom line, then chances are higher it could be pushed through more quickly.


Expenses represent the non-labor costs that may be incurred during the life of a project.

An image of the Expenses section in the Business Case

For example, expenses for a user conference could include payment for the venue, items for gift bags, or signs for the venue lobby.

Resource Budgeting

The Resource Budgeting section lets you estimate the labor you think will be needed for the project to move forward. Information is pulled from Workfront’s Resource Planner.

An image of the Resource Budgeting section in the Business Case

By entering estimated needs for each job role, this creates a possible budget needed for the project and gives insight into how much of the portfolio’s budget may be used for the project.

You must have resource pools set up in Workfront to use this section of the Business Case.


You always have the highest of hopes that your project will run smoothly. But it’s important to identify risks and plan for them accordingly. That’s where the Risks section in the Business Case can help.

An image of the Risks section in the Business Case

You should brainstorm with your team and identify any risks to the project. For risks where you can estimate the cost if the risk occurs and the probability that it will occur, be sure and enter these values. Workfront will multiply the potential cost by the probability and put that in a Potential Risk fund that will be subtracted from the project’s Planned Benefit when calculating its Net Value.


Scorecards help determine how well a proposed project aligns with the overall goals and initiatives set for either the portfolio or the company.

Each scorecard has a list of questions and answers that have values attached to them. When the scorecard is filled out, Workfront can calculate how aligned the project is with your organization’s predetermined goals.

An image of the Scorecards section in the Business Case

Project managers won’t be able to see the values assigned to each answer. Only users who create the scorecards can see the values.

Business Case not required

The Business Case is flexible. You can fill out just a few sections or none at all. None of the fields are required. However, the more information you fill out, the easier it is to analyze and prioritize projects vying for the same budget or resources.

Once the Business Case is filled out, click the Submit button in the summary panel on the right side of the window. This will change the project status to Requested. Now you’re ready to use Portfolio Optimization to prioritize projects in the same portfolio.

The alignment score in the Business Case summary panel is generated when you fill out the scorecard. The alignment score is one of the values used in calculating the Portfolio Optimizer score.