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Feasibility

Feasibility studies aim to formally uncover strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to a current or prospective venture.

Uses of the method

  • Discovering alternative approaches and solutions?
  • Makes explicit the likely costs and benefits of a project
  • Takes an all round look at the likely impacts of a project
  • Identifies obstacles
  • Reveals additional opportunities
  • Can be used as an investment prospectus

Benefits

  • Investment planning
  • Project viability evaluations
  • Venture analysis
  • Useful aid to decision-making

Steps to complete

  • Summary: complete this last and prepare an overview of the key points from your analysis
  • Market: assess the current market in terms of size, demand and competition
  • Positioning: assess the potential of your solution in similar terms
  • Options: make a short-list of possible options and prepare a feasibility study for each
  • Benefits: list the key benefits
  • Disadvantages: list the key uncertainties to success
  • Technology: describe how the venture has the capability to handle the technical aspects e.g. hardware, software, people and knowledge. Say how the project is technically feasible
  • Economic: make a cost/benefit analysis, a break even analysis and a return on investment assessment over time
  • Legal: ascertain whether legal and regulatory requirements make the project viable
  • Operational: assess how well the project solves existing issues and how easily it can be implemented
  • Schedule: estimate the time to complete the project and the steps along the way. Determine if the project timetable is doable
  • Real estate: describe the best location and reasons for this choice including its importance to the project
  • Resource: describe what resources will be needed, where possible pinch-points might be, inter-dependencies etc.
  • Culture: evaluate the effect on the organizational culture
  • Finance: estimate the total cost of the project and its revenues; say how it will be financed and forecast the projected cash flow, profitability and return
  • Conduct the assessment using both quantitative and qualitative means to describe the inputs, processes, outputs, programs and methods of the venture with the aim of estimating how the new venture will perform adequately or not
  • Determine the fixed elements (almost certain hard trends) that will inform your strategic response: slow-changing phenomena e.g. demographic shifts, constrained situations e.g. resource limits, in the pipeline e.g. aging of baby boomers, inevitable collisions e.g. climate change arguments.
  • Capture critical variables i.e. uncertainties, soft trends and potential surprises. Both these and the fixed elements will be key to creating scenarios and examining potential future paradigm shifts.
  • Capture unique insight into new ways of seeing that can be utilized by the organization.
  • What conclusions can we draw from the exercise(s)?
    • How might the future be different?
    • How does A affect B?
    • What is likely to remain the same or change significantly?
    • What are the likely outcomes?
    • What and who will likely shape our future?
    • Where could we be most affected by change?
    • What might we do about it?
    • What don't we know that we need to know?
    • What should we do now, today?
    • Why do we care?
    • When should we aim to meet on this?
  • Finish by noting your next steps. Next steps could include a further round of iteration, a recommendation on how to get the answers or use of other research and methods such as 'Starburst' to create more vantage points on the issue.

Collaboration
This method and your response can be shared with other members or kept private using the 'Privacy' field and through the 'Tag', 'Report' and 'Forum' functionalities. Use 'Tag' and/or 'Report' to aggregate your analyzes, or add a 'Forum' to ask others where they agree/disagree and encourage them to make their own analysis from their unique vantage point.

Click the 'Invite tab to send invitations to other members or non-members (colleagues, external experts etc.) to ask for their input. You can whether or not you want anonymous responses.  These can be viewed and exported within the Responses tab.

Further reference

  • Feasibility study - Wikipedia
  • How to Write a Feasibility Study - Together Works
  • Keyes, Jessica (August 22, 2008). Leading IT Projects. Auerbach Publications.
  • Overton, Rodney. Feasibility Studies Made Simple. Martin Management Services.
  • James A. Hall (2010). Accounting Information Systems (7 ed.). Cengage Learning.

History
This method is based on the TELOS project management structure.

TELOS is an acronym for:

  • Technical - is the project technically possible?
  • Economic - do the economics stack up and can the organization afford it?
  • Legal - does the project meet regulatory and legal requirements?
  • Organizational - can the project be implemented?
  • Scheduling - can the project be delivered on time?

Contact us
Even with all the advice and tools we have provided here starting a foresight project from scratch can be a daunting prospect to a beginner. Let us know if you need help with this method or want a group facilitation exercise or full project or program carrying out by us. We promise to leave behind more internal knowledgeable people who can expand your initiative for better organizational performance.

Contact us today for a free discussion on your needs.

Are there other enhancements or new methods you would like to see here? Let us know and we will do our best to respond with a solution quickly.

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