Original Post Date: Friday, March 6, 2009

Barak Obama's 2010 U.S. Federal Budget proposal promises a "New Era of Responsibility", and in the introduction he says, 

"...we must begin the process of making the tough choices necessary to restore fiscal discipline, cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office, and put our Nation on sound fiscal footing."

Tough choices indeed. Therein lies the greatest challenge.  With the best intentions, our government tries to do good things, but always starts more projects than it can afford.  And often the expected "value" of an initiative is never fully vetted before a project is launched. 

How can you decide among project alternatives and choose an optimal strategy if you have not determined the value of each?

How can you restore fiscal discipline and cut the budget deficit if you do not know the cost-benefit analyses your projects? 

Since a new era of government spending responsibility will hinge upon making tough decisions, they must be supported by the disciplines of 
business case analysis, analysis of alternatives, and portfolio management optimization to be successful.

 These disciplines have been areas of study for us at PRICE Systems for the past two years and our work was released this week in TruePlanning 2009.  There are three innovative new features in this release:

  1. Value models - enabling analysts to estimate the value and benefits of project once it is delivered, and over its lifetime
  2. Business Case Analysis - enabling analysts to prepare and score a case for the project including the cost/benefit analysis, payback period, investment rate of return, strategic benefits, and other evaluation criteria scoring.  The business case tells the story of the project.
  3. Analysis of Alternatives and Portfolio Analysis - enabling decision-makers to view Risk/Reward charts of alternatives and planners to reconcile total project estimates to budgets.
In this post I will give you an overview of these features and I hope to dive deeper in future posts.  Consider the decision a government planner must make on whether or not to launch a Business Process Automation (BPA) project.  The figure below shows a TruePlanning Payback view for the BPA project.