This worksheet can help you decide if an idea is worth enough to move forward. It's written for analyzing a specific product idea with respect to the market, company capability, risks, return, etc., but with some minor modifications it can be used for a benefits analysis for other projects too.
What this is
This is an Opportunity Screening worksheet used to help determine if an idea is worth enough to the company to commission a development project. Is there adequate business justification for the project given what the company might be able to achieve in the market? The management team at your organization can use this worksheet to evaluate a number of factors in determining if a new development project should be undertaken and identify the important issues in making that decision.
The worksheet is written for analyzing a specific product idea with respect to the market, the company's capability, potential market risks, return to the company, etc. With some deletion of items and minor modifications, the worksheet can be used for a benefits analysis for projects other than development projects.
Why it's useful
Resources in every organization are expensive and rare. Finances, personnel and time are all valuable commodities and organizations desire to have these resources working on qualified projects. "Qualified projects" usually means the projects with the highest Return on Investment, but may refer to a project to introduce a new technology investigation, a beneficial internal project to improve efficiency, a federal requirement or industry expectation (i.e. ISO 9000), etc. It is rare (never in the author's personal experience) that a company or organization has excess resources. Reviewing a project for "goodness" or benefit to the stakeholders is always a good exercise. In some organizations, it is a requirement.
How to use it
The accompanying worksheet is a working document. The various questions should be filled out by a team, group or special committee set up for the purpose of investigating a new idea or new product for review by your organization's business decision makers. Answering the worksheet questions, then choosing a resulting "fulfills" score in each section, provides the type of information needed by the management team to determine the value or worth of the product proposal, idea or project.
At the end, a table is provided to summarize the scores for the project across the various categories.
The worksheet should really be used in the context of the whole product mix at a given organization. The worksheet uses a grading system of 1 through 10 for "Weight," which is a judgment of importance and value, and "Fulfills," which is a judgment of requirements met. Used in a context of other projects, you can evaluate how a project and its value compares to other projects that will or would be using the same limited resource pool of money and manpower.
You can use this worksheet within a Project Selection process by establishing a baseline across your existing projects for the management team to use for relative judgments. Some completed or currently active projects can be quickly evaluated using the worksheet and provide a reference as to what is a 1 versus a 10 in "Weight" or "Fulfills" on a particular section. This gives people a reference, such as "Project X was a 7, so this project would be a 6," etc.
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