Effective Project Choices
Effective feasibility studies can do more than just help executives choose which projects to greenlight. Managers involved in a feasibility study can actually use much of the same data to shape the project planning process. Four main advantages to feasibility studies can generate crucial insight for approved projects.
1. Understanding Demand
Feasibility studies always analyze whether a real demand exists for a product or a service. This holds true for internal projects as well as for potential consumer offerings. For example, a project manager tasked with launching a customer relationship management system can examine the real demand for specific features, based on feedback from customers and from staff. The resulting data can shape the priority list, which impacts both the budget and timeline. This way, project managers can avoid spending resources on features or projects with low impact and low demand among end users.
2. Assessing Resources
Another of the advantages of feasibility studies is the opportunity to catalog the current resources available for a project and to estimate the need for additional resources. Feasibility studies that recommend against projects often cite a lack of human resources or financial capital. This kind of result gives a project manager the opportunity to reset expectations based on real budgets and headcount.
3. Marketing Feasibility
Even for products and services with measurable demand, companies must examine their ability to spread the word about a new offering. During the evaluation process, project managers learn whether the market is already over saturated with stronger competitors. Company leaders can also discover any potential legal roadblocks involving trademarks, patents, or other intellectual property rights.
4. Marking a Timeline
One of the biggest advantages of a feasibility study is the validation of a prospective timeline. When moving into a formal project planning phase, a project manager can use data generated by the study to help set milestones and deadlines. A quality feasibility study examines the timetable suggested by project sponsors for potential delays or breakdowns. When project managers use a study as the basis for making timeline decisions, they run the least risk of being overruled by anxious stakeholders.