I've now worked with a number of organisations to conduct feasibility studies to review whether a new idea or a change in process is actually feasible.
I feel this practice is something that more organisations should undertake. The reason being is that I've worked in and with a number of organisations where new ideas are tested out but then don't come to fruition. It could be that they weren't cost effective, that there really wasn't a need to change, there wasn't the right resources in place or simply that not enough thought had gone into the practicalities of longer term changes. All of these things cost organisations time and money.
Establishing the viability of an idea or action can ultimately determine whether they succeed or not. The best tool for determining this is by conducting a feasibility study.
A feasibility study essentially confirms whether something can/will be a success and provides useful recommendations as to the approach that should be taken. It can also provide useful insights into timescales, costs and any risks and issues that may need to be considered.
When conducting feasibility projects for clients, I look at a number of areas, some of these include:
Technical feasibility - this step looks at whether the idea/project/product is technically viable. With a focus on the project scope, I also research what the strengths and weaknesses/challenges are with the proposal and consider what the benefits of making the change/implementing the idea would be to internal and external stakeholders/customers.
Examining the market - this is an in depth analysis of what the landscape looks like. What are other organisations or competitors doing in this area, what has worked and what hasn't worked. This helps to paint a realistic picture of the likelihood of success or failure.
Using the project scope details, I look into whether this has already been implemented or tried in the existing marketplace.
Another aspect I explore is the impact this will have on customers/stakeholders. Who and how will people be impacted by the implementation of this project/proposal?
Explore the business model - having looked at the external market, I also review the internal business model. This is to look in detail as to whether there is long-term viability in the project. This includes whether the right resources are in place as well as the commitment and budgets (where applicable). This helps to determine whether any changes may need to be suggested to ensure the project is a success in the longer term.
In some cases (depending on the project/idea being assessed), this part of the process can help determine whether the new process/product/service under consideration will provide enough benefits to make the initiative worthwhile.
Overall risk assessment - this element looks at any potential risk that the project/proposal may entail. As well as looking at what the risks may be, I also focus on what the likelihood is of the risk occurring and consider and suggest what the best countermeasure(s) would be for each risk.
This provides the client with assurance that all elements have been considered and they are fully aware of any potential pitfalls that may occur.
These are just a few of the areas that I focus on when conducting feasibility studies.
Overall, this provides the client with all of the information they need to make an informed decision. My feasibility reports always include options as well as a recommendation. I also cover each of the areas above (plus more) to allow the client to really consider any risks in implementing the proposal.
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