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Background and Introduction to the Better Business Cases Certification

BBC hero panel_1I braved myself to undertake the foundation course for the Better Business Cases certification last week and I must say although it was a steep learning curve for me, it was interesting as well as very insightful. Remember as a marketing professional I was approaching the course not only to get a better understanding about the topic – but also understand the thoughts of ‘real candidates’ that will be using the knowledge gained from this course in their day jobs. So here are my thoughts… Where is the need? From speaking to the attendees I realized that change initiatives often fail at the first hurdle as the business case fails to convince senior management of the ROI. This creates a major problem for the project teams as they struggle to secure funding for essential change initiatives simply because they have not been able to justify the need for this change to those who authorize funding for the project.

This is where creating an effective business case comes into place to help secure funding for such initiatives and get a management buy-in.

Better Business Cases supports all stages of developing a business case and complements the HM Treasury’s Green Book guidance. The entire course and the examination are based on the Five Case Model, which is the UK government’s best practice approach to planning and spending proposals.

The model provides a step-by-step guide to developing a business case that:

  • Establishes a clear need for intervention (a case for change).
  • Sets clear objectives in terms of return on investment.
  • Considers a wide range of potential solutions ensuring an optimal balance of benefits, cost and risks.
  • Sets out arrangements to ensure successful delivery of the proposal.

So, what does this Five Case Model comprise of?

The model requires consideration of:

  • The strategic case – strategic fit and clear investment objectives.
  • The economic case – optimizing value for money.
  • The commercial case – attractiveness to the market and procurement arrangements.
  • The financial case – affordability.
  • The management case – deliverability and plans for delivery.

How does it ultimately help you and your organization?

For organizations this results in:

  • Reduction in unnecessary spending and consultancy costs.
  • A process and guidance designed to optimize value from change initiatives.
  • A clear, proportionate approval process and improved, more informed decision making.
  • Complements existing best practice such as PRINCE2® & MSP®.
  • One day courses minimize disruption to business as usual.

For you as an individual this results in:

  • Improved understanding of the Better Business Cases process, relevant not only to those producing business cases and spending proposals, but also those reviewing.
  • Understanding of an established and proven methodology which can be applied at both strategic (macro) and tactical (micro) levels.
  • Recognized certification for a core business competency for so many in mid and senior management roles.

I realized that although this course was originally written for the public sector it is applicable to both private and public organizations. In fact one of the course attendees was from a private sector within the construction industry and someone that gets involved in reviewing and approving business cases for new and existing construction projects. In my opinion this certificate is relevant to those responsible for developing and producing spending proposals or their assessment and approval. To be specific, you could be an:

  • Accounting officer.
  • Senior Responsible Owner (SRO).
  • Portfolio/Programme/Project Director/Manager.
  • Director of Finance/Procurement and Planning.
  • Member of approval and manager boards.

My take home:

A course from APMG International in conjunction with the HM Treasury, definitely adds value to your professional portfolio, not just as a credible certification, but also gives you the tools and techniques to produce a robust business case. These tools help in taking into consideration various internal and external environmental challenges that you may face through the course of developing the business case and also through the delivery of the project post funding approval. This, is my opinion will go a long way in showcasing the true value of the project to the approver as you will be equipped with a good SWOT analysis for the project beforehand.

Remember if you have any further questions regarding this certification you can contact us at APMG International by emailing

Good luck.

Posted in Exams, Qualifications.

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