Steps to Write a Technical Feasibility Study (With Tips)
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Large projects often require extensive research and planning to determine whether they're viable. This can be especially true when working on a production team that plans to develop and market a new product, technology, or service. If you work in product development, project management, marketing, or sales, understanding how to determine whether the logistics of a project are feasible can be a helpful skill. In this article, we explain what a technical feasibility study is, reveal why it's important, offer pointers for writing one, and provide tips for conducting a study.
What is a technical feasibility study?
To determine whether a project is technically viable, professionals often conduct a technical feasibility study. This process allows them to decide if they have the technical abilities, funds, resources, and capacity to produce a new product, technology, or service. Business and project management often involves extensive research into how a project might unfold, including details like sourcing production materials to developing the product, technology, or service, and tracking sales. This process allows businesses to consider the logistics involved, which can often foretell any hidden issues or challenges and investigate workable solutions prior to investing time, money, and resources.
Why are feasibility studies important?
Developing and launching a new product, technology, or service can be costly, especially for startups, which can have limited resources. One way to determine if it can take on the risk is to conduct a feasibility study that can reveal details of the technology that might otherwise be overlooked. This process can give companies a realistic look at what it might take to bring the product, technology, or service to market and whether they can continue with their plans. After production, distribution and sales can involve many specifics that require a detailed plan, including resource management and potential budgetary constraints.
Conducting a study can help businesses analyze other details, such as the size of their production team, distribution facilities, specific marketing strategies, and other process components. A good planning strategy can often safeguard a company and all project participants against potential pitfalls and provide a solid working plan for production, distribution, and sales. Understanding the logistics of a technical project beforehand can often result in a more successful product launch and provide a template to guide participants. Other reasons a feasibility study can be important for the technological logistics of a project include:
Determining whether a company has the existing technology to develop a product
Exploring whether a company has enough technologically capable employees who can deliver the product with the existing timeframes, budget, and technology
Reviewing whether the company might require further technical resources, what type, and the cost
Deciding whether the existing technology is suitable for the production team and can ensure they meet the project requirements
Investigating whether the existing technology meets the client's project requirements, and if not, if the client might continue with development
Establishing whether the company can meet all legal requirements, such as specific copyrights
Components of writing a feasibility study
Most feasibility studies contain similar foundational information. While some studies might vary depending on the project requirements and participants, writing a feasibility study can be fairly straightforward when you have guidelines. These are the fundamental components of most feasibility studies and the order in which they usually appear:
Project overview: Often called the executive summary, this section provides a condensed description of the project.
New product, technology, or service details: This section is a detailed look at what is being produced.
All technological elements: Readers can find details in this section about the company's current technical capabilities. It may show if it can use this technology to produce the new product, technology, or service, or if it might require upgrading or changing, and the cost.
Current and intended markets: This typically describes the intended markets for the new product, technology, or service, which might include local, national, or global markets and important details of each.
Proposed marketing approach: This section provides an opportunity to detail the marketing strategy based on the existing plan. It might also include any flexible elements if the markets change.
Project's organizational requirements: This describes the company's available production, distribution, marketing, and other individuals who might work on the project.
Timeframes and schedules: This area typically describes any timelines, milestones, and other important scheduling dates required for the project's completion.
Financial costs: This details the expected costs and current available budget, and might include suggestions for finding additional funding as required.
Summary and recommendations: This area is a brief description of the major components of the project and provides recommendations based on the study's findings.
Tips for conducting a strong feasibility study
A well-researched feasibility study can be extremely valuable for the ultimate success of a project because it outlines what the company can expect. A knowledgeable team can be a great asset to the study, so it's often beneficial to choose individuals that show expertise in the various areas the study examines. Experts can also provide legitimacy to the study's findings and help companies make informed decisions about a project's feasibility. Here are several other tips you might consider when conducting and writing a feasibility study:
Create a solid outline
When beginning a feasibility study, it's often beneficial to begin by outlining the project and the intended steps. For instance, determining each step of the production process can help bring the project into perspective and give participants a more realistic view of what might be involved. Consider examining elements such as projected production costs, necessary materials, human capital, marketing approaches, and costing strategies. This process can also help define the important aspects of the study for the executive summary when compiling the written study.
Establish a unique selling proposition
With growing access to global markets, it can often become important to find new products and marketing strategies that allow a company to highlight its differences and establish a solid market. Establishing a unique selling proposition can be a crucial component of this process, as this is what can make a product or service special for consumers. It's also important to study existing industry trends when trying to create this proposition.
Describe any potential issues
Knowing the potential pitfalls or challenges the project might encounter beforehand can often save valuable time, money, and resources. The study team can consider planning solutions to these potential barriers, so these challenges don't sidetrack the team if they occur. For example, consider what might occur if the main product component is out of supply at the proposed supplier. Having a prepared solution, such as alternative vendors, can be an important element of a successful project.
Examine the costs
Companies develop products and services with an expectation of being profitable. Reviewing all expected and potential costs of the budget before starting the production process can help keep a project feasible and successful. Consider creating specific budgets for various project components, including potential price points, production costs, wages, repayment of any funding sources or debts, and unexpected costs, for example.
Perform a comprehensive market study
An in-depth market analysis can help determine the feasibility of a project. Market evaluations can be important when defining a target consumer, market competition, and any gaps for potential new product development. Consider trends in likely markets for product distribution. When deciding on a marketing strategy, it's often helpful to consider such tools as consumer surveys and polls that can offer valuable feedback, for instance.
Consider using existing templates
Conducting a feasibility study can be a lot of work, but it can provide valuable information for businesses that make the investment in time and money worthwhile. When it comes time to write the feasibility study, it can often help to have all the data grouped and organized into the major sections. There are often templates that can also serve as a useful spreadsheet to keep track of the information for a larger written document.
Weigh the relative risk and rewards
After completing the feasibility study, it can typically reveal whether the reward of the project is greater than the risk. Often, the risk can involve several potential challenges, such as the financial or even the human capital costs of the project. While the rewards aren't always immediate, they may be beneficial later and make the investment in money, time, and resources well worth gradually.
Review labour requirements
Sometimes, when conducting a feasibility study, researchers might miss or underestimate the total labour costs in the total costs of production. It may take longer than expected for certain tasks, especially when they come with challenges. It's often helpful to consider reviewing labour costs as a project may require additional team members for certain tasks, and depending on the project, possibly specialists, which can be costly.
Establish realistic and manageable milestones
The study can help businesses set realistic goals for the project. Creating manageable timelines that break each stage of the project into separate deadlines can result in more realistic and workable deadlines. Specified milestones can often make everyone aware of important deadlines and dates and help the project be more successful.
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