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Association of International Project Management Officers - AIPMO®

Writing Effective Business Cases for Business Development, Project Portfolio Environments and Individual Initiatives

The certification for effective business case writing and approval within and outside of project, program and portfolio management, is a specialist certification granted by the Association of International Project Management Officers (AIPMO)®.

Certified BC-IPMO® Business Case professionals have demonstrated, through a combination of formal training and competency assessment, that they have an in-depth understanding of the principles behind an effective business case and why it is needed. They understand how to manage complex processes to create robust, successful business cases, consistently and efficiently using a business case writing framework.

This course presents the AIPMO 9C’s, an innovative, 21st century principle-based lifecycle-based approach to business case structures, content, and the case building process. AIPMO has designed the framework with experts to cover and integrate projects, programs and portfolios using a systems approach to business case writing, that supports Agile, waterfall and hybrid methodologies.

This is the first business case certification that covers all three levels of a project, program and portfolio, aligned with the PPP lifecycles. This course certification is uniquely designed to build a principle-driven case building culture in the organization, i.e., the course is designed to enable improvement in business case competency and benchmarked in AIPMO’s Business Case Maturity ModelTM.

The AIPMO is an industry recognized international certification authority that understands the importance of creating a business case culture and presenting robust business cases irrespective of industry.

9c AIPMO Business Case Lifecycle Framework

Who Should Attend the BC-IPMO?

  • Business development managers, marketing and product managers who support their clients in making business decisions
  • PMO/IT Directors/Directors, Portfolio managers and senior management
  • Finance Controllers, PMO Core team members
  • Senior project/program management professionals
  • Senior consultants (involved in projects and/or organizational change)
  • Engineers and subject matter experts involved in writing business cases
  • Business and university school faculty
  • Those responsible for compliance with government regulations or for working with regulatory agencies

Key Certification Course Take Aways

  • Explain the importance of a framework approach to creating robust business cases
  • Articulate the importance of systems thinking in developing business cases
  • Assess how to define business case principles and the importance of principles within the business case framework. Analyze how principle-driven case building facilitates agile development and agile management
  • Analyze how business cases are created in a project/program portfolio environment including agile, traditional and hybrid environments
  • Recognize and mitigate the risks of business case manipulation, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance
  • Compare your business cases and the surrounding environment with AIPMO’s Business Case Maturity Model and synthesize value by aligning good practices
  • Assess how to create a business case service from a PMO perspective and how to determine the capabilities to run this service for projects and programs

What You Need to Know


Classroom training: 5 days:


The training approach includes:

● Lecture
● Team exercises
● Group discussions
● Detailed five-day case study
● Presentations and role play
● Personal coaching
● Examination


  • Ideally some experience in PMO, project, program, portfolio management
  • Working with spreadsheets (data entry and formulas) and basic understanding of finance
  • Ideally some exposure to business cases

Certification Exam

  • Exam given at the end of the course moderated by the instructor:
    • Part I – 1 hour with 30 multiple choice questions
    • Part II – 45 minutes with three scenarios and three multiple choice questions for each scenario
  • Delegates will need to take an exam and submit a completed case study before the last in-class session for marking.
  • Delegates will need to pass both the examination and the case study criteria to receive certification

Detailed Course Outline

  • How Organizational Vision, Mission and Operational Objectives are linked to the realization of organization strategy through project portfolios
  • Understand project, program, product life cycles and their input in the determination of the scope a business case
  • Governance principles, Management Principles, Principle-based frameworks
  • Principle-based business case development - how this leads to better outcomes
  • How the 9C framework provides alignment and integration between projects, programs and portfolios
  • Impact of methodology selection on risks and cost estimations within the business case
  • Understanding the difference between project management success and project success and how to reflect this within the business case
  • Mapping project, program and portfolio success factors to the Business Case - Golden Thread
  • Success factors and success criteria for the business case
  • Type 1 and Type 2 errors - impact on assumptions and financial estimations on the business case
  • Stakeholders and their impact on the business case creation and approval process
  • ‘Constantly changing factors’ and the impact on the business case
  • Importance of understanding the ten plus critical situational factors
  • Why action scenarios are important for Comparison and Evaluation
  • Why the business case is no longer optional, taking a systems view of business case development

  • Understanding business case role in project, program and portfolio management, business management, and how governance types influences the 9C framework
  • Typical triggers for business cases, producing problem or opportunity statements
  • Defining the need in a problem or an opportunity statement
  • What is case alignment and integration - how cases fit into programs and portfolios, why business cases are best considered in the context of programs and portfolios
  • How case alignment and integration prevent duplication of work and inefficient use of resources
  • Targeting strategic objectives and critical stakeholder needs
  • Identifying critical situational factors: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • Scooping resource needs and resource availability: time, budget, and sponsor support
  • Creating alternative action scenarios for evaluation and comparison
  • Building in practical value for decision makers and stakeholders

  • Building-In transparency: Why stakeholders must see and understand the source of case results
  • Facts and assumptions, the important interrelationship
  • How case credibility suffers when stakeholder information needs are not met.
  • Exposing the cause and effect chain from proposed actions to projected outcomes.
  • Legitimizing and communicating a compelling benefit rational.
  • Building a comprehensive benefits and cost model with self-evident validity.
  • How business case ‘proof’ relies on scenario comparisons.
  • Determining which assumptions drive cost and benefit outcomes
  • Measuring and minimizing uncertainty and risks.

  • Why projected cash inflows and outflows are the basis for describing project financial outcomes
  • How to summarize and analyse scenario cash flow results
  • Messages and “takeaways” for stakeholders in financial metrics: NPV, ROI, Payback period, and IRR
  • How key business ratio results link to strategic business objectives.
  • Legitimizing and valuing non-financial outcomes (such key performance indicator impacts).
  • Proving that a recommended action scenario is the better business decision.

  • Business case risks/opportunities and how to manage them
  • Dealing with uncertainty (positive and negative)
  • A typical risk management system
  • Classifying events under uncertainty
  • Aleatory (chance), epistemic (predictable) and unknown events (risks and opportunities)
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • How to spot on-going changes in initial case assumptions, and how to assess the impact
  • Calculating confidence level estimates for projected financial outcomes, using Monte Carlo analysis (e.g., Net CF, NPV, ROI)
  • Measuring the likelihood of 'high' case and 'low' case financial outcomes
  • How influence diagrams can help assess business cases and make decisions
  • Using Tornado diagrams to visualise upside and downside case sensitivity
  • How to spot contingencies that must be met for the projected results to appear
  • How and when to provide guidance for maximizing returns, controlling costs, and minimizing risk

  • Positioning and prioritizing recommendations based on case results
  • Decision making techniques. Decision errors and their consequences
  • Socializing business case recommendations (findings) with stakeholders
  • The difference between influencing, persuading and manipulating
  • Models for communicating case messages
  • Selecting the business case delivery approach
  • Crafting robust case reports, case presentations
  • Minimizing content for maximum value
  • Facilitating meetings to discuss case recommendations and implementation

  • Building-In transparency: Why stakeholders must see and understand the source of case results
  • Facts and assumptions, the important interrelationship
  • How case credibility suffers when stakeholder information needs are not met
  • Exposing the cause and effect chain from proposed actions to projected outcomes
  • Legitimizing and communicating a compelling benefit rational
  • Building comprehensive benefit and costs model with self-evident validity
  • How business case 'proof' relies on scenario comparisons
  • Determining which assumptions drive cost and benefit outcomes
  • Measuring and minimizing uncertainty and risks

  • Who is accountable for realizing the business case benefits?
  • Roles and responsibilities in realization
  • The need for central and distributed management of change
  • Cascading cycles of benefits realization
  • The valley of tears - how failing to plan benefits realization can result in failure
  • Assessing readiness for change
  • Common causes of resistance to change and response strategies
  • Understanding conflict and moving from opposition to support
  • Periodic case review and corrective action
  • The need to combine quantitative and qualitative data, when reporting

  • The role of the closure process
  • How should closure criteria be developed and when?
  • Why the case closure may occur some time after the project has been closed
  • Knowledge management and the crucial role of tacit knowledge in project success and seeking ways to make it explicit throughout the organization.

  • Definition of principles
  • How principles are used in developing business cases
  • The AIPMO® core and business case principles
  • What are maturity models?
  • Differences between principle-based and process-based maturity models
  • AIPMO's principle-based maturity model with a 'Flex Point'
  • How to carry out a business case maturity assessment
  • Actions resulting from a business case maturity assessment

Review and Personal Case Workshop

● In this workshop, you will have time to work on a business case that you bring to the course
● You will be able to seek advice from the course leader and other participants
● This session will help you to accelerate development of your business case

Part II - The Business Case in Project Portfolio Management

Part II changes the nature of the course; whereas Part I focuses on the construction of robust cases, the remainder of the activities look at the broader world of business cases in projects, programs and portfolios and the context of the Project Management Office.

This will scope in interactions with key stakeholders and the creation, balancing and reshaping of the portfolio, as events in the external environment impact the business and drive changes.

Because of the nature of part II, much of the learning will be via case study analysis, role plays and small group discussions and plenary debates, meaning that the activities will be highly interactive and comparative learning (inter person and inter group) will feature heavily, with theory blocks featuring less significantly than in part I.

  • What is a project portfolio and what value does it create?
  • How to determine if one or more project portfolios are required within an organization
  • Project portfolio objectives vs. individidual project objectives
  • Project, program and portfolio lifecycle 'financial' check-points
  • Project, program and portfolio roles and responsibilities
  • Role of the 'change request board' and the financial aspects of 'change requests'

  • Stakeholder management in a program/portfolio environment
  • Portfolio performance metrics relating back to the business case
  • Individual project contribution to portfolio performance
  • Portfolio risk management
  • Criteria for selecting and authorizing projects for portfolio
  • Criteria for management intervention in individual projects
  • Criteria for terminating project portfolio projects

The 5-Day Business Case Study

The case study takes the participants into the world of strategy formulation in times of uncertainty to create a business case in a new business area. The case study is used in parallel with the course to allow the participants to work in teams and follow a structure that builds upon a real-life scenario. Case study exercises demonstrate the crucial role of timely, complete and strategically aligned business cases in assuring survival and growth of the business.

The case study in Part I focuses on the development of a new product/service in a business seeking to regain market position following tough customer feedback and then the scenario expands in Part II to cover the addition of value-add products and services, with some highly innovative options to create a portfolio of projects.

The activities in Part I are designed to provide good practices in creating business cases, whilst Part II introduces a different level, the often complex interactions between cases in a program and portfolio environment, where analysis and synthesis of value becomes paramount in making sound decisions on where to give priority.

The case study covers both the hard and soft human factors that interact and contribute to the formation of the business case: first at the project and program level, then at the project portfolio level. Best practice frameworks, templates, and example are used in a comprehensive workbook which the participant can take back to the office and apply. The course includes role play and coaching throughout the 5 days. The case study builds on the knowledge gained throughout the course and embeds the knowledge through a series of interactive and engaging exercises designed to allow the practice of tools and techniques. Participants learn and rehearse best-practice presentation principles and skills, which they apply through team presentations and evaluations on business cases they develop during the course.

Further Information on BC-IPMO


Find out more about AIPMO

Delivery Partners

Find out how to attend the course with partner, Causal Capital

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