What-if analysis is a tool that helps your organization to decide on a portfolio of investment initiatives that align with your business strategy. This sections details on how to use What-if Analysis for strategic decision making.
What-if Analysis overview
What-if Analysis is a simulation tool to plug in different scenarios to explore and compare various investment plans and schedule alternatives based on changing conditions. It is often done when budget and resources are limited and an organization needs most informed decisions.
It helps you predict the answer to the proactive question "what if the situation represented by a certain scenario happens?" Some examples are:
- What if we delay this project until resources are available?
- What if we hire more resources to do certain development jobs?
- What if we put this project on hold and continue it when more budget is approved?
- What if we approve and execute new proposals?
Simply put, What-if Analysis provides an opportunity to develop project outcomes fitting predetermined characteristics, in order to test how investment plans will perform under varying constraints.
When to use What-if Analysis
As an IT portfolio manager, when you are going to do annual planning for the next fiscal period (be it year or quarter), you usually weigh how your investment plan can best carry out your organization’s business value within budget and resources.
For example, you might want to
- Approve all proposed projects.
- Continue the multi-year in-flight projects.
- Start must-do projects
However, you cannot do all of them due to budget and resources limit. You can then use What-if Analysis to model different scenarios so as to identify the optimal portfolio of projects.
Steps to use What-if Analysis
Following are the steps we suggest to use What-if Analysis. You can define your What-if Analysis layout templates to use What-if Analysis differently based on your real situations.
- Define what-if layout templates
- Create a what-if scenario
- Prioritize contents within a scenario
- Capacity planning
- Strategic planning