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Six Feasibility Study Steps

written by: Joe Taylor Jr. • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 2/27/2013

Consider these six elements that every quality feasibility study should contain, especially for project managers in the first three phases of the project cycle.

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    Six Essential Feasibility Study Steps

    By following the accepted feasibility study method, project managers and their teams can reach the point of delivering their findings to stakeholders. The written report generated at the conclusion of the feasibility study can help move a team into the presentation phase of the project cycle. Moving readers through the following feasibility study steps can clarify questions about the study’s recommendations.

    Executive Summary

    The most important page of the report is often the only page that many stakeholders actually take the time to read. Although it should always be presented on the first page of a report, the executive summary is a digest of the following five feasibility study steps.

    Clear Project Description

    A recap of the project as it is defined for the study can help stakeholders understand the questions asked and the results generated. Stating the project description in very basic terms removes uncertainty about a project for stakeholders who might otherwise be unfamiliar with the ideas the project represents.

    Competitive Landscape

    Reviewing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats faced by a project helps decision makers focus on the big picture. In some organizations, leaders may not want to approach a new market unless they know they can dominate it. Other companies prefer to focus on profits gained instead of market share. Either way, the challenges faced should be clearly defined, along with the consequences of failure.

    Operating Requirements

    When following this set of feasibility study steps, authors can use this point in the report to stay clear, focused, and unbiased about a project’s real needs. Project managers that understate the physical and fiscal resources required for a new product or service often end up with failed projects or unfulfilled promises.

    Financial Projections

    More than ever, Investors and CFOs pore over the financials in a feasibility study to make sure that projects can generate the kind of scalable profits that warrant their approval. Expert project managers emphasize the break-even analysis, a timeline view of the moment a project can pay for itself.

    Recommendations & Findings

    Summarizing all of the previous feasibility study steps, the recommendations and findings can shape the outcome of a project proposal. Instead of simply stating a “yes" or “no" answer to the question of project approval, this section offers an opportunity to enhance a project by pointing out areas of opportunity.