Projects should be evaluated on their merits, not assumptions or agenda. Define both the problem/opportunity and solution sides of the equation with data and analysis that is structured in the language of your organization.
Don’t forget to calculate and value the benefits of a project. Too many business cases quantify cost avoidance but do not anticipate or promote other positive implications of the proposed project.
Understand how your company conducts financial analysis and present your project proposals in the same manner. Use the same tools and methods. For example, our CFO always games various options to a significant issue in a decision tree format he particularly likes, depicting the timing and NPV of each option. When we began presenting project briefs showing options in the same format our success rate went up, the decision cycle time was shortened, and our frustration equivalent went way down.
Shareholders trump stakeholders. Remember who and what our decisions are really intended to benefit. Often, as in the case of the seminar leader, projects get approved and executed because of their own momentum or who the sponsor is, not because of their real benefit.