You are probably here because you’ve been curious about what it entails to conduct a feasibility study. Well, the process is very simple and relatable. Just imagine you have an exciting idea for a project. It could be to build a great community library or organize a fun cultural festival.
While your idea may excite you, the project size may scare you off. As a result, you may wonder how successful project managers handle heavy projects like a piece of cake. Meanwhile, in reality, taking up a project is a no-brainer.
Experienced project managers leverage a remarkable tool that works like pure magic. This amazing tool is known as a feasibility study. It helps them assess a project’s feasibility before diving in.
But sadly, about 60% of Nigerian projects fail due to poor planning and the inability of project managers to assess their project possibilities using a feasibility study.
The good news is that you can avoid this experience by learning how to conduct a feasibility study as a project manager. Interestingly, that’s what this guide proposes to do for you in four simple steps. You just tag along.
First, let’s get to know who a project manager is.
Who is a Project Manager?
For every project, there’s a manager—what some may call a leader. In agreement with this, a project manager is like a team captain who plans, organizes, and ensures everything runs smoothly.
A project manager leads and coordinates a group (of people) to finish a specific task or project. For example, imagine a project that involves building an excellent community library.
Of course, you’ll agree that there needs to be someone who will act as the master builder. Yes, one who will guide the team to success by assigning tasks, maintaining order, and solving any issues.
You can often call such a leader who keeps everyone focused on reaching the project’s goal a Project Manager.
Now, why should a project manager conduct a feasibility study when he/she can manage the project with the help of the team members? Let’s find out.
Why You Should Conduct a Feasibility Study
Beyond a doubt, project managers need to make smart decisions to succeed at the various projects entrusted to them. It’s at this point, a feasibility study comes in handy.
Through a feasibility study, a project manager can explore all the possibilities and check if a project is possible and worthwhile. That’s why, as a project manager, you need to see conducting a feasibility study as solving a detective case for fun. With a feasibility study, you find risks, explore ideas, and ensure the project matches what your organization wants.
A feasibility study is like a road map for the success of every project. That’s because it saves you (and your organization) from financial challenges and aids you to make the best choices.
Role of a Project Manager in Conducting a Feasibility Study
Just as said earlier, a project manager is like a team’s captain, who can determine the workability of a project. Thus, the main job of every project manager is to achieve the project’s goals by organizing and leading the study.
As a project manager, you act as a detective. That’s because you gather important information and uncover possible obstacles or limitations as far as the project execution is concerned. But you don’t do all these in isolation.
Instead, you work closely with your project team to check if it’s possible to make it happen. In other words, like a mastermind, the project manager keeps everything on track and helps make vital decisions.
That’s why you cannot overemphasize the significance of why a project manager should be wise and have leadership skills. Beyond a doubt, these traits are like magical powers that ensure a project’s success.
Let’s look at this brief Illustration…
Assume you’re the project manager of a laudable project that involves the creation of a magnificent new playground in a park.
You’ll agree that, while there are many things to consider, you first want to investigate if there’s enough space. Moreso, you want to check for safety concerns and find out people’s preferences before diving into the project.
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How to Prepare a Project’s Feasibility Study
We’ve considered the benefits of conducting a feasibility study. However, to be factual, the entire process can be daunting for project managers. Especially if they are new to project management.
In any case, this section will inform you about everything you need to know before conducting a feasibility study. As we proceed, we have:
Define the project scope and objectives
As a project manager, it’s important to decide what a project is all about as you prepare for its feasibility study. This involves figuring out what you need to do and what you want to achieve. It’s just like drawing a picture of what the project will look like.
On the other hand, defining a project’s scope helps you (and your team) build a strong base to ensure everything goes smoothly. That way, the study focuses on the right things and checks if the project can work out.
Identify the feasibility study team and their roles
Here’s another #golden tip: before starting a feasibility study, as a project manager, ensure you gather a team for the study. It’s more like selecting the perfect players for a game.
While some may be great at calculations, some might be experts in certain things, and others may be great decision-makers. With this awesome team, you can check all the vital things and tell if the project is workable (or not).
Everyone in the feasibility study team must work collaboratively to find the answers needed for a successful outcome of the project.
Establish a clear timeline and budget for the study
As a project manager, you must plan how much time and money you’ll need to invest before starting a feasibility study. You can compare that to creating a schedule and a budget.
The schedule shows when each step should happen, while the budget or money plan ensures you have enough funds. This schedule and budget keep things organized, just like following a map so everything goes well.
For instance, if a project manager wants to build a new playground, he/she makes a schedule for buying materials and hiring workers. Also, with a money plan, he/she ensures the team has enough money for the swings and slides. That way, the playground project will go smoothly without any problems.
How to Conduct a Feasibility Study in 4 Simple Steps
Step 1: Gathering and analyzing project requirements.
As the first step in conducting a feasibility study, gathering and analyzing the project’s requirements can be overwhelming for project managers. However, the steps below simplify the whole process:
#1. Identify project constraints and limitations
When gathering and analyzing project requirements as a project manager, you need to know the limits and rules. These are like the boundaries that tell you what you can and can’t do.
For example, if you want to plan a party but have a limited budget and space, you need to work within those limits. That way, you can make realistic plans and keep everything on track.
#2. Assess technical feasibility
As a project manager, it’s crucial to see if the project is doable from a technical point of view. This means checking if you have the right tools, skills, and resources.
For example, let’s say you want to build a bungalow in the backyard of a building as a landlord (or a project manager). To make this happen, first, gather the necessary materials and get the appropriate knowledge needed for the construction process.
Make sure you plan wisely and prevent potential issues by assessing the technical feasibility. In the same manner, ensure you have all the required resources to build a sturdy, modern bungalow that stands out in your neighbourhood.
#3. Evaluate economic viability
As a project manager in Nigeria, assessing if a project makes economically viable is also a paramount part of a feasibility study. You need to consider if the project will make money, be cost-effective, and last long in the local economy.
For example, before building a new factory, your feasibility study must answer the following questions:
- Is there enough demand for what the factory wants to produce?
- Are there adequate resources to embark on production to meet the determined level of demands?
- Is there any potential profit, even as it helps Nigeria’s economy?
#4. Analyze legal and regulatory requirements
A project manager must follow the laws and regulations that impact your project. For example, before starting a construction project in Nigeria, the project manager in charge must study the building codes, permits, and environmental regulations. All these requirements need to be considered because they can influence the smooth execution of a project.
Non-violation of these legal frameworks can also help you avoid fines and ensure the successful outcome of your project(s).
#5. Examine operational feasibility
At this point in a feasibility study, it is essential to assess if there are enough resources, technology, and skilled workers to make a project successful. Here’s where the need for examining a project’s operational feasibility is vital.
For instance, before building a hospital, you need to consider basic things such as infrastructure, workforce capabilities, and logistical challenges. Doing this in turn, ensures a realistic and achievable project outcome.
Step 2: Performing risk assessment and management
For every project, there are risks involved. Here’s the reason a project manager must examine risks associated with the project and plan how to manage them.
You can reduce the impact of unexpected events by creating smart plans to deal with these risks. For example, before embarking on a bridge construction project, consider factors such as weather conditions and soil stability. This helps to cut down construction delays and ensures the project’s success.
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Step 3: Evaluating alternative solutions or approaches
When conducting a feasibility study as a project manager, evaluating different solutions or approaches is important. This practice means looking at various options while thinking about their good and bad sides. After comparing various options, you can go for the best solution based on factors like cost, viability, and satisfaction of wants.
Imagine you’re the project manager for a power generation project in one of the Nigerian villages. Without a doubt, you may have to decide what kind of energy to use. And, of course, in picking one, you consider the best. You may have to select from solar power, wind power, or biomass.
Step 4: Documenting and presenting the feasibility study
All the efforts invested in conducting a feasibility study will indeed be futile if there’s no proper documentation. That’s why as a project manager, it’s expedient you write down and organize all the salient information.
These pieces of information should include your study findings, feasibility analysis, and your study’s recommendations. After considering everything, prepare a report to present to the project’s key stakeholders, including your team and decision-makers.
Now, this may bother you, what does the structure of a feasibility study report look like? Keep reading.
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Structure of a Feasibility Study Report: Master the Key Components
The structure of a feasibility study report can vary from one project manager to another. However, below are certain core components that remain consistent across all studies:
The executive summary is a major component of a feasibility study report. It’s usually the first part you see. It provides a concise overview of the project’s key findings and recommendations.
An executive summary of a feasibility study report serves as a snapshot of the entire study. It gives decision-makers a quick grasp of its whole essence. It features a summary of objectives, methods, major findings, and conclusions. All these work together to help stakeholders make informed decisions.
Introduction and background
The introduction and background section of a feasibility study report provides vital context and rationale for conducting the study. This section talks about the project’s background, goals, and what it aims to achieve. It helps readers understand the project’s origin, significance, and the problem it’s trying to solve.
For example, in a feasibility study report about renewable energy, this section explains the increasing demand for clean energy. It also highlights the importance of exploring alternatives to fossil fuels.
Method and approach
A feasibility study report, through this section, explains how information was gathered and analyzed. This section describes the research plan, where the data came from, and the tools used. Interestingly, this makes the study transparent and enables others to assess its credibility.
For instance, in a feasibility study for a new product, this section explains the methods used to collect information. It also outlines the methods the project team employed to gather information. Some methods include surveys, focus groups, and competitor analysis.
Findings and analysis
In a feasibility study report, this section tells how the project team collected and analyzed data. Accordingly, you can say the finding and analysis category gives a detailed analysis of the feasibility study.
Feasibility analysis helps to make the study clear and allows others to check if it’s reliable. Imagine you’re the project manager for a project which entails the development of a new product. When creating a report for your feasibility study, this section outlines using surveys and focus groups to research competitors.
Finally, recommendations are a vital part of a feasibility study report as they give expert advice for making decisions. No wonder industry specialists uphold that good recommendations check if a project can work and suggest practical steps for success.
Of course, these suggestions come from detailed analysis and aim to use resources wisely, reduce risks, and get the best results. For example, in a real-life case, a feasibility study for a renewable energy project might suggest working with local communities to gain support and make the project sustainable in the long run.
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How to Communicate Feasibility Study Findings to Stakeholders in 2 Steps
Newbie project managers often think that after conducting a feasibility study, they only need to write a report. But in reality, as a project manager, you should also try to communicate your study findings to stakeholders.
Don’t fret. You can do just that in two steps:
Preparing an effective presentation
As a project manager, effective sharing of the feasibility analysis results with stakeholders requires a well-crafted presentation. You can begin by defining the presentation’s purpose and selecting key points to convey. Also, gather relevant data and organize it logically.
Thereafter, craft a captivating narrative using clear language and visuals to engage your audience. Lastly, practice your speech to deliver a confident and impactful presentation.
If you analyze the feasibility of a new product, your presentation should incorporate information on market demand, cost projections, and potential stakeholder benefits.
Addressing questions and concerns
Listening attentively is essential while you share the results of your study with others. You should listen carefully to their questions and worries. Explain things clearly and provide evidence to ease their concerns.
If they worry about the project’s finances, present a detailed cost-benefit analysis and highlight the potential profits. By practising this, you can build trust and be open with stakeholders.
Conducting a feasibility study as a project manager is crucial for ensuring a project’s success. It provides valuable insights into a project’s viability and potential risks.
To this end, project managers can achieve successful project execution by applying the highlighted steps in this post. They can also make informed decisions and mitigate potential challenges in the process.
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