Are you a project manager or senior team member tasked with the assignment of determining the economic viability of an upcoming project? Have you considered developing a feasibility study outline before you proceed? For the project manager, the feasibility study is perhaps the most useful tool in his/ her toolbox for determining the financial soundness of a project. It can also help determine which option is the most beneficial when there are two or more possible alternatives to choose from. But before proceeding with the feasibility study, and certainly before this plan is presented to investors, the first step is to create a feasibility study outline. This outline will not only keep your thoughts and the process better organized, it will also ensure that all essential items and potential problems have been addressed. To help you with this, here we will provide a broad definition of the feasibility study and its purpose, and show you briefly how a feasibility study outline can be beneficial to the process.
The Feasibility Study and Its Purpose
The feasibility study is a tool used by project managers and other professionals to analyze the viability and/or value of a particular project or endeavor. It can also be used when there are two or more potential solutions to a given problem to determine which option would best address the predicament. Collectively, these studies examine a number of different factors to determine whether or not to proceed. These factors, which include items like present staffing levels, material costs and current technology, are scrutinized closely to see if moving forward on a given project would indeed be worthwhile. Then, if it is determined that the project or solution could add value to the business, the study must then identify any potential problems or roadblocks—problems which could include things such as outdated technology, reduced cash flow, or environmental impact—and develop possible solutions on how to best address these problems before moving forward.
The Feasibility Study Outline
A feasibility study outline provides a quick snapshot of the tasks and processes that will be involved in the study. Here’s an example:
• Purpose. The purpose of the feasibility study should clearly define the proposed project and all of its facets.
• Reasons for the Feasibility Study. Although this may sound similar to the initial heading, it’s not. Here is where you will need to list all of the reasons you are creating the study, for example, “to determine if adding a new wing to the building would bring more value than the costs associated with building it.”
• Background. In this section, try to provide a brief history with regard to the project. For example, describe the present conditions that led your company to seek out a new solution—the proposed solution being studied here.
• Scope. The scope of the project will identify factors such as the expected timeframe of project implementation, costs and overhead projections and any potential problems or limitations.
• Problems/Solutions. This will usually be the most involved portion of the feasibility study outline, as it is here you will list all the potential problems in completing the project, along with a comprehensive list of potential solutions.
• Recommendations. After analyzing all of the data above, a recommendation on how to proceed should be determined and recommended.
Creating a feasibility study outline prior to launching into any one particular solution is always recommended. These outlines can ensure, among other things that all potential roadblocks have been analyzed and addressed beforehand, thus preventing them from interfering with or stalling the project implementation down the road.