Feasibility Analysis

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Feasibility analysis - is a detailed study of the workability of the project, solution or any other process. It should be conducted before the implementation stage. Its aim is to detect wether given operation is more likely to be a success or a failure. The study covers different areas of the project, e.g. technical, financial, organisational or legal. The feasibility analysis should be conducted on internal level - focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of the executors which may influence the project, as well as on the external level - taking under consideration the external threats. The analysis methods and examined areas differ among the projects, however the feasibility study can be applied to all kids of proposals. 
The credibility of the study is of great importance, so as the outcomes are reliable and can be used in the decision making process further on. The results of feasibility study help to asses if the project is reasonable and should be finalised.



The feasibility study is relatively flexible (there are no permanent, obligatory components of the study) and can be applied in all kinds of projects. 

Feasibility analysis can be done for the project regardless of its stage, however, it is recommended to already have some project design, but not necessarily the final one. There are no contradictions to making a feasibility analysis for the projects which are already being realised or for the updates to the past projects. However, the study is the most effective for the projects which are still at the planning stage - in case of negative evaluation of the feasibility study the losses are smaller. The study is also exceptionally useful while assessing innovative ideas, which can not be judged based on previous experience or existing patterns (since there are none). Moreover, if conducted before the implementation stage, feasibility study may expose the hidden costs, provide arguments for decision making process and inspire the future changes to the projects. It provides valuable information for the potential investors.

The feasibility study applies to individual projects as well as to cooperative ones. In individual projects feasibility study often uncovers the risks connected with the tasks that project members do not deal with daily. It is not possible to be an expert in each field, especially in complex projects. When it comes to cooperative projects they tend to be more complicated, hence it is easier to overlook some risks and the potential losses are usually higher as well. This is why feasibility study should be conducted for cooperative projects. A good practice is to chose an individual approach for analysing cooperative projects, it provides more detailed and reliable outcomes. Individual members of the bigger projects should be tested and then the common evaluation should be made.

How to organise a study

1. Project definition - visualise the project, see the goal, want to cooperate and share the enthusiasm, set the individual interests, describe the project briefly and understand it, already have some numbers - quantify the project, define the scope of the project (what it deals with and what it doesn’t). Make the project complete before making and analytical study in it. Otherwise it can be a waste of time and money.

2. Group characteristics - prior to conducting feasibility study a group of project members should be wisely chosen. Motivation and ambitions of the members are key to lead to the project’s implementation. However, at different stages of the project a specialists may be needed, e.g. lawyers. analytics, etc. It is essential to identify which actors may be needed in the project and most importantly - establish a strong leadership team. The group should depend on the scale and scope of the project as well. 

3. Group decisions - since the outcomes of the feasibility study may be used as support in decision making process, it is useful to clarify the attitude of group members towards decision making. It is useful knowledge if they are willing to invest into the prior-implementation study? If they are a risk takers or prefer to play it safe? Are they fast to decide or rather use to elaborate for a long time on the best solution? In addition, it should be decided together with representatives if the costs of the study do not exceed the costs of potential failures. Possibly establish a guideline for decision-making.

4. Feasibility study decisions - before beginning the feasibility analysis several issues should be clarified. First of all the project to be studied should be clearly described and its boundaries should be set. Secondly, the main areas of interest of the study should be identified. It is costly and time consuming to investigate all aspects connected with the project on that some precision level. Usually some factors are more significant than others, e.g. low budget, competition market, time limitations. It is recommended to prioritise the research areas. Next, it ought to be decided who would be the conductor of the study, how to analyse the findings, how they would be applied. The prior assumptions and thesis are welcome as well. 

Study Responsible

After making a decision to conduct a study, there are three possibilities of who would be in charge of this study.

Internal study

 The first possibility is to have the analysis done by one of the group members. The advantages are detailed knowledge and deep understanding of the studied project. Additionally, this solution is cheaper than others. Disadvantages of this solution include the increased risk of subjectiveness influencing the outcomes of the study. Group members tend to be determined to realise the project, hence they may overlook some negative factors. Another issue is that team members may not have a wide enough perspective or the reference point, simply because they have not been assessing other projects before. They may be lacking expertise. Last but not least, the potential project investors and sponsors often perceive the internal feasibility studies as less reliable than internal ones. 

External consultancy 
 Hiring an external consultant increases objectivity of the study. However it is more expensive than internal analysis and demands some additional time to explain the project to the consultant in detail and make sure they understand it. Still, the single consultant cannot be an expert in every field, so if this method is chosen it is essential to make sure that that the consultant is an expert in the fields prioritised in the feasibility study. 

Multi-consultancy Asking the specialists from different fields to conduct a feasibility study for the study components corresponding with their specialisation. The solution is appropriate for big, complex projects, which are covering various fields. Since it is the most expensive way of conducting feasibility study the budget of the project needs to be higher as well. It provides the most detailed assessment which is reliable for the investors. People analysing particular factors of the project have wider perspective and can uncover the risks or opportunities which were not thought about before by the team members.

Components of the study

Technology - before proceeding with the next stages of the project it is essential to make sure that technological equipment needed to finalise it is available on the market, the group can afford renting or buying it in the demanded quantity. It is also crucial to check weather the technology can be transported to the site of the project and if it can work properly under the foresaw conditions. The costs of maintenance of the technology are often overlooked such as energy consumption. If machines are used in the project, in order to estimate the production capacity the production time ratio as well as the amount of the input material ought to be calculated before. The technological issues also include the spatial demands of the project.

Legalism - the legal feasibility study should take under consideration weather the project complies with the current local and international law. It is also worth knowing what legal changes are planned by the governments, which may affect the project. It is beneficial to recognise the legal requirements which would possibly have to be fulfilled at all stages of the project, not only the implementation stage. Solving legal issues is time consuming, hence the analysis should be made with the greatest precision to avoid the delays caused by administrative issues. 

Legal feasibility study can be simplified by dividing it into the following stages:

1. Recognise a legal framework - acknowledge and analyse any and all laws and regulations that may concern the project. It should be done before the feasibility study of any other component, since the legal compliance is the primary condition to be fulfilled in all cases.

2. Check if there is a legal power to realise the project and what approvals are needed.

3. Detailed study of the most prominent legal issues - consideration of the cases such as land uses and land ownership, local law (on the project site), private/public financial support, taxes, international regulations if relevant to the project (workforce, currency differences). This part is individual for each project.



Annotated Bibliography

Bryce Tim, The Elements of a Good Feasibility Study, 2015

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