Key takeaways

  • A feasibility study is an essential analytical tool that evaluates the viability of a proposed project on multiple fronts, such as financials, technical requirements, and market demand.
  • Conducted during the project initiation phase, this type of study serves as an early checkpoint to identify potential roadblocks and assess risks.
  • Feasibility studies act as the first line of defense against project failure, saving time, money, and resources.

What is a feasibility study?

A feasibility study is an analytical tool used to evaluate the practicality of a proposed project or business idea. It assesses various factors such as financial viability, technical requirements, legal constraints, and market demand. The study aims to answer the question “Are the goals of this project realistically attainable?” by examining data, studies, and other relevant information.

A feasibility study is a crucial step to take before diving into any project and is generally performed during the project initiation phase of project management. It helps identify potential roadblocks, assess risks, and estimate resource allocation; skipping this step can lead to project failure, wasted resources, and financial losses.

Feasibility studies represent one of the many intricacies of project planning. Understanding the other requirements of this crucial step can give you a well-rounded view of how to set your project up for success.

Steps to conduct a feasibility study

Successfully executing a project hinges on thorough planning and risk assessment. Following this step-by-step guide for conducting a feasibility study will help you meticulously evaluate the viability of your project from the outset.

Step 1: Conduct preliminary analysis

This is where you take a good, hard look at your project to determine whether it’s worth pursuing. At this stage, you should also decide if a more detailed feasibility study is necessary.

A few key criteria usually come into play during this initial assessment. First, consider a general sense of the market demand for your project, the resources you have at your disposal, and some ballpark figures for initial costs. If it’s difficult to get clear estimates, it may be worthwhile to invest additional time and resources in a more comprehensive feasibility study. If no significant roadblocks pop up in this preliminary analysis, then you have the green light to proceed.

Some project management software includes useful features that can help you efficiently collect and organize all this data. These features can be very helpful in decision-making, especially when you’re looking at multiple variables.

Step 2: Create a projected income statement

This vital component of the feasibility study involves forecasting the income, expenses, and profitability associated with the proposed project. The projected income statement is akin to peering into a financial crystal ball to see how the numbers might align.

There are several approaches you can take to assess a project’s financial impact. Historical data and industry benchmarks, for example, can serve as reliable guides. These projections are important for assessing financial feasibility and making informed decisions.

The significance of these forecasts cannot be overstated — they help stakeholders understand the project’s potential ROI and ultimately make the go/no-go decision for the project.

Step 3: Survey the market

The market survey stage involves rolling up your sleeves to gather valuable data and insights about your target market(s) and audience(s). Think of it as your project’s reconnaissance mission: You’re scouting the terrain to understand what you’re getting into.

To start, you’ll want to learn your customers’ preferences to see if your project will fulfill a need or solve a problem they currently face. For example, a software company’s research might reveal customer demand for a new feature that aligns with the project’s goals.

Also consider if your project is timely and whether it will make a significant impact now or in the near future, depending on emerging market trends. It may be useful to conduct competitor research as well; knowing what and who you’re up against can help stakeholders decide whether you should move forward with the project and, if so, how you will approach it.

Surveys and interviews are ideal for firsthand quantitative and qualitative data. However, don’t underestimate the power of existing market reports. This preexisting data can offer a broad market landscape view, helping you make data-driven decisions. You can also leverage other research and data collection methods, such as focus groups and publicly available databases like Statista and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Step 4: Review and analyze the data

With all of the necessary information in hand, use tools like a SWOT analysis to evaluate the project’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A risk assessment is another go-to method that can help you identify potential pitfalls that could derail your project.

At this point in the feasibility study, weigh key metrics and indicators like projected ROI, milestone dates, market penetration rates, and possible vulnerabilities. These gauges, when reviewed in tandem, paint a broader picture of your project’s viability and value.

Step 5: Determine the next steps

Use your research-backed analysis to decide whether the project you’ve proposed is the best way to address the problems it intends to address. If the metrics are favorable and the risks are manageable, you should feel confident advancing to the planning phase. Too many red flags, however, may mean you need to go back to the drawing board.

Here’s a little tech tip to make this decision easier: Many project management software dashboards can compile your key metrics and findings neatly in one visual package. It’s like having a project feasibility snapshot right at your fingertips, which makes it much easier for stakeholders to understand important data and make informed decisions.

Types of feasibility studies

There are different types of feasibility studies that each focus on a unique aspect of projects and project planning. By understanding the nuances of each, you’ll become better equipped to make well-informed decisions, mitigate risks, and ultimately steer your project toward success.

Technical feasibility digs into the nuts and bolts of the project. You’re looking at what kind of technology you’ll need, whether it’s available, and if it can be integrated into your current systems. It’s like checking if you have all the ingredients you need before cooking a specific recipe.

This study is all about the money — how much the project will cost and what kinds of economic or profitability benefits it will bring forth. With an economic feasibility study, you’re most often doing a cost-benefit analysis to see if the financials add up in your favor. It’s like weighing the pros and cons but in dollar signs. 

This is your legal checkpoint. You’re looking at any laws or regulations that might create risks or restrict your project. This feasibility study could also involve checking compliance with industry-specific or regional regulations.

An operational feasibility study will help you see how the project fits into your current operations and operational goals and resources. After completing this type of study, you should know if your project will require new workflows and if your team can handle project tasks alongside their current workloads.

This study also evaluates whether the organization has the expertise to accomplish all project goals.

This feasibility study is all about time. You’re considering how long the project will take and whether you can afford any delays. Gantt charts, a feature commonly found in project management software, can be convenient in this type of study.

These visual timelines allow you to map out the entire project schedule, set milestones, and identify potential bottlenecks. You can also easily see if your project’s timeline is realistic or if you need to make adjustments to avoid delays.

A Gantt chart shows an overview of various projects with their respective timelines.’s Gantt charts provide visual roadmaps for multiple projects and their respective timelines. Source:

Feasibility study examples

Feasibility studies add value to the project lifecycle across diverse industries. With each of these examples, the feasibility study is a critical preliminary step to identify potential roadblocks and assess the likelihood of project success.

A construction project feasibility study might focus on land evaluation, zoning laws, and material costs to determine if a new housing development is viable. In this example, the study helps avoid legal snags and ensure profitable land use.

A healthcare feasibility study may assess the demand for a new medical facility in a specific location by looking at factors like local population health statistics and existing healthcare infrastructure. This type of research helps determine whether a new facility would serve the community appropriately and utilize resources effectively.

An IT feasibility study might analyze the technical requirements, cost, and market demand for a new software application to understand whether the development effort would offer a reasonable return on investment. This information helps project teams avoid sinking time and money into software that no one wants or needs.

Free feasibility study template

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Why are feasibility studies crucial in project management?

In project management, feasibility studies help you gauge whether your project is a go or a no-go, saving you time, money, and a lot of headaches in the long run. But it’s not just about giving your project a thumbs-up or down.

Feasibility studies are also invaluable for decision-making and risk assessment. They provide the data and insights you need to make informed choices. Whether it’s deciding on the project scope, budget, or timeline, these studies offer a comprehensive view of what you’re up against.

Plus, feasibility studies help you identify potential roadblocks and risks, allowing you to prepare effective contingency plans. Operating with a feasibility study as your project’s foundation is like giving your team both a roadmap and a weather forecast to help you better navigate your project journey.

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