To ensure informed decisions, project proposals must address multiple issues relating to the underlying need and solution, including nature, cost, and expected benefits. But, to ensure that the best decisions are made, with maximum credibility, proposals must also include a complete analysis comparing the solution proposed to known alternatives, including "keeping things as they are". That is the status quo analysis, and you can read on to learn more about it.
In a nutshell, the "status quo alternative" addresses the impact of "doing nothing for now". But why include "doing nothing" as an alternative, when the whole purpose of your proposal is to enact change? By including the "status quo alternative" you can deliver realistic recommendations and present a positive business image. The status quo analysis is all about action, inaction and consequences. Doing nothing for now (or keeping things as they are) is not necessarily "neutral" - there can be both negative and positive consequences - and a full consideration of all factors will only serve to strengthen any subsequent actions taken. (Also Read: Planning Concepts for the Project RFP)
These variables form the basis of the "consequences" determination, so you can better understand and express the impact of "doing nothing for now".
In order to ensure consideration, and to seek approval, requests for project funding should always stress the business side of the equation, looking at the value of the proposal and its overall contribution to the bottom line. Try looking at the issue from a non-technical, end-user perspective. To that end, as you prepare funding proposals, anticipate questions and objections, and get ready to address the following:
In addition, project proposals should be considered in light of any and all realistic, probable business benefit. While meaningful "status quo" analysis may take some effort, it can be time well spent. For with just one proposal, a "status quo scenario" can effectively demonstrate that you:
In conclusion, funding approval will depend on more than the technical quality of your proposal. You must be able to convince management that you have carefully considered the consequences of your recommendations, as well as all viable alternatives.
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Strategic fast tracking is a streamlined project management process, used to level the playing field when "project problems" get in the way of on-time success. Our informative "fast tracking" article series explains more:
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