Business Case Control in Project Portfolios - An Empirical Investigation of Performance Consequences and Moderating Effects

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Journal Article
IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 2015, 62 (4), pp. 529 - 543
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© 1988-2012 IEEE. Practitioners place strong emphasis on business cases with the expectation that using business cases to inform and drive investment decisions will assist in creating value from those investments. Maximizing the value generated by project investments is a central aim of the project portfolio management, and the business case provides the underlying rationale for the evaluation of the value created in each project. However, research regarding the use of business cases at a project portfolio level is scarce, and there is a little guidance for portfolio managers on when and how to control the business cases. We identify three elements of a business case control at the portfolio level - the initial review, the ongoing monitoring during the project execution, and the postproject tracking until the business case is realized - and investigate the relationship between business case control and project portfolio success. Furthermore, we analyze enablers and contingencies for the application of the business case control. Based on a cross-industry sample of 183 firms, we find that the business case control is positively related to the project portfolio success. Accountability for business case realization and corresponding incentive systems increase this positive effect. Finally, we show that the portfolio complexity also positively moderates the relationship.
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