[ProdDecision-making is hard. Especially when you’re faced with larger, higher-impact decisions, it’s easy to overthink them and doubt yourself. But thankfully, tools and frameworks like cost benefit analyses can help.
A digital cost benefit analysis (CBA) is similar to a pros and cons list, where you outline all the projected benefits of launching a new project, idea, or strategy, compared to the costs. But unlike those paper sheets, you can create a cost benefit analysis template once, then reuse and customize it for every new decision—saving you countless hours down the road.
Your cost benefit analysis template is a decision-making tool for project planning to help you decide whether or not you should move forward with a project. This template helps you visualize the total costs if you move forward with a project (including unexpected costs), compared to the total benefits.
Your cost benefit analysis template is a blank slate for every new project idea. With it, you can determine the feasibility of any project and decide if it’s worth pursuing. Using a template saves you the added work of creating an analysis from scratch each time, and helps you choose the best course of action based on simple math.
You won’t need to use your template for every new project. To get the most out of it, run a CBA:
When you have limited resources or cash flow, and you aren’t sure what to prioritize.
In your template, you’ll want space to calculate the costs, benefits, and risks to determine the total monetary value of your project. Be sure that you pay attention to intangible benefits and costs that can impact your bottom line, such as office heating bills in the wintertime.
To simplify your CBA, create your template with project management software. This can help you:
Save your template and make it accessible to all stakeholders.
Categorize each asset as an indirect or direct cost or benefit.
Attach a value to every item (including intangible costs).
Automatically calculate your breakeven and cost ratio for each analysis.
Track the progress of your cost benefit analyses over any timeframe.
In a cost benefit analysis: inputs = costs and outputs = benefits.
For your template, create a section for both inputs and outputs. To get the total project cost, factor in both the indirect and direct costs and benefits for your project, as well as the risks. For example, if you’re developing a new software program, you’d add in the physical items you need for the software (computers and a team) as well as potential costs, such as increased WiFi charges.
Other examples of inputs:
Salaries for new team members
Paid trainings or software
Other examples of outputs:
Production increase of 10%
Higher customer satisfaction
You might notice that some of your costs and benefits are non-monetary. When this is the case, do your best to assign a dollar amount. For example, higher customer satisfaction is linked to higher sales. Knowing this, try to project how much you think sales will increase over a period of time if you’re able to boost customer satisfaction with your new project.
Once it’s created, you can use your simple cost benefit analysis template anytime you need to run a CBA. But the best times to run them are:
Before the project lifecycle starts.
To create a customer-facing description of your product or service tiers (i.e., the pricing plan you list on your website or marketing materials).
To see if you have available resources for a project.
When you need to show a return on your investment.
List View. List View is a grid-style view that makes it easy to see all of your project’s information at a glance. Like a to-do list or a spreadsheet, List View displays all of your tasks at once so you can not only see task titles and due dates, but also view any relevant custom fields like Priority, Status, or more. Unlock effortless collaboration by giving your entire team visibility into who’s doing what by when.
Goals. Goals in Asana directly connect to the work you’re doing to hit them, making it easy for team members to see what they’re working towards. More often than not, our goals live separate from the work that goes into achieving them. By connecting your team and company goals to the work that supports them, team members have real-time insight and clarity into how their work directly contributes to your team—and company—success. As a result, team members can make better decisions. If necessary, they can identify the projects that support the company’s strategy and prioritize work that delivers measurable results.
Automation. Automate manual work so your team spends less time on the busy work and more time on the tasks you hired them for. Rules in Asana function on a basis of triggers and actions—essentially “when X happens, do Y.” Use Rules to automatically assign work, adjust due dates, set custom fields, notify stakeholders, and more. From ad hoc automations to entire workflows, Rules gives your team time back for skilled and strategic work.
Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization.
Microsoft Teams. With the Microsoft Teams + Asana integration, you can search for and share the information you need without leaving Teams. Easily connect your Teams conversations to actionable items in Asana. Plus, create, assign, and view tasks during a Teams Meeting without needing to switch to your browser.
Salesforce. Remove bottlenecks by enabling sales, customer success, and service teams to communicate directly with their support teams in Asana. Share attachments and create actionable, trackable tasks for pre-sales needs. With Service Cloud, connect your implementation and service teams with supporting teams in Asana to deliver amazing customer experiences.
Slack. Turn ideas, work requests, and action items from Slack into trackable tasks and comments in Asana. Go from quick questions and action items to tasks with assignees and due dates. Easily capture work so requests and to-dos don’t get lost in Slack.
Google Workplace. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.
A digital cost benefit analysis template is a reusable template to determine the direct and indirect costs, benefits, and risks of a potential project. When created with project management software, you can easily customize your CBA template to use for every new high-impact project.
A risk analysis looks solely at the risks of a possible project, whereas a cost benefit analysis looks at the costs, risks, and benefits associated with a project.
If you’re in project planning or project management, having a cost benefit analysis template will save you countless hours of administrative work. Once you’ve created your template, you can quickly and easily reuse it for every new project.
Cost benefit analysis templates are a structured way to help you make decisions. Before you give the final go ahead on a project, you can use a CBA template to review the impact it would have on your cash flow, and then decide if it feels worth it.
Learn how to create a customizable template in Asana with a free Premium trial today.