When to use BOSCARD instead of a Project initiation document

Well the simple answer is – when the solution is complex and time is short –

When looking to gain support and approval for your next project, it might be worth thinking BOSCARD.

The BOSCARD is a strategic planning tool used to provide the terms-of-reference for new projects. It is thought to have originated with consulting company Cap Gemini in the 1980s.

The acronym stands for background, objectives, scope, constraints, assumptions, risks and deliverables. These headings are commonly found in terms-of-reference and project initiation documents.

Background Provide background information that includes the reasons for creating the project and mentions the key stakeholders who will benefit from the project result.
Objectives Describe the project goals and link each of them with related, SMART project objectives.
Scope Provide a high-level description of the features and functions that characterise the product, service, or result the project is meant to deliver.
Constraints Identify the specific constraints or restrictions that limit or place conditions on the project, especially those associated with project scope.
Assumptions Specify all factors that are, for planning purposes, considered to be true. During the planning process these assumptions will be validated.
Risks Outline the risks identified at the start of the project. Include a quick assessment of the significance of each risk and how to address them.
Deliverables Define the key deliverables the project is required to produce in order to achieve the stated objectives.

SMART in this context means goals that are SMART – specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based.

When initiating a project it is important that all parties involved agree in considerable detail what the project is to achieve before it starts. Failure to gain formal agreement almost always leads to some expectations not being met.The good thing about the BOSCARD is it provides a quick way of delivering all the important project information to stakeholders, without having to complete a full Project Initiation Document.