Figure of 8 – Business Need

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Business Need  Fig8no4


You must understand your forecast P&L for the next 3 to 5 years, so that strategy, resource capacity and capability can be planned.

Business Need defines the demand and is used to create the vision which is linked to all the project deliverables and products.  The vision can easily be defined as a “postcard from the future”, that explains your path to deliver your targets, as if you are there already.    This provides a memorable communication which provides a focus across all parties (Board, Stakeholders, Project team) and tracked with earned value in the future.


Postcard from the futurePostcardfromfuture

Once we understand the vision we can work back through all the products along the end to end process.  Organisations plan in different ways, some  top-down, some bottom-up. The best method(s) deliver with control. Delivering the vision through an agreed approach  keeps all parts of the overall process aligned.  Otherwise precision is lost, variation creeps in, and the wrong things are delivered. 


The Business demand is often driven by:

  • Finance, who will want to understand resourcing for the project duration, feeding the  forecast P&L and Business plan.
  • Marketing, who will want to take as many quality products to market.


Market:  We will understand the volume of your market sector and the effort to deliver your products in that sector, in terms of::

  • Man days, to help you level demand and supply of resources
  • Currency, to link  to the P&L and Business plan


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KEY:  1  Market  2  Mission  3  Products  4  Business Need  5  Strategy  6  Portfolio  7  Programme / Project  8  Service

This is a focal point in this Figure of 8 process, as this Sales, Vision, Measurement of the Products and the Business Need can be communicated at this stage.  The end of the Business need sets everyone up to create the Strategy.


  • Agree Investment, finalising the Strategy where demand = supply and defining scope
  • Project team will estimate the skills required to produce the  demand and deliver the scope, in future steps
  • Creation of  a balanced demand and supply, can be created iteratively, even Agile style for the stakeholders (function heads and then to board).


As we move through the key demand steps (1 to 4 below) we are iteratively building and often shaping the demand that the organisation needs to define, for what we need to deliver (Strategy).

Step 1 Market:  Assess Market target for organisation with unlimited resources and high level view of products.

Step 2 Mission: Helps focus on the point of the organisation, which cascades down through Strategy to Projects to Service.

Step 3 Products: The components that will be built for the customer, to the quality required.

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Step 4:  The Business need:  this step shaves the ambitious product targets, to ensure supply matches demand ie we deliver within our capacity / capability.

The aggregation of the market, mission, and products informs the business demand and builds the information that creates buy in, so there is traction to focus against realistic targets.  With this clear demand (matching supply), an understanding of Service (“as is” and “to be”) and with metrics clear across the business, we are  can create a strategy linked to the P&L.

Ultimately, the financial calculations drive out the revised demand, and shape the strategy. 

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