Process Knowledge Call to Action

I spent a good part of today with Michael Rosemann and Wasana Bandara of Queensland University of Technology, Paul Harmon and Celia Wolf  of BPTrends, Kathleen Barret and Kevin Brennan of IIBA, and Brenda Michelson of Elemental Links to plan a new initiative around a body of knowledge (BoK) for business process knowledge. The idea for a non-commercial, open source style BoK came from a paper written by Wasana, Michael and Paul, “Professionalizing Business Process Management: Towards a Common Body of Knowledge for BPM”, presented by Wasana in this afternoon’s research session at BPM 2010.

We’ve created a Call to Action for all interested parties, which provides a bit more detail:

Dr. Bandara’s paper, co-authored by Paul Harmon of BPTrends and Dr. Michael Rosemann of QUT, calls for the creation of a comprehensive, extensible, open source, community-driven Business Process Management Body of Knowledge (BoK).  To be deemed successful, the resultant BoK must be understandable and relevant to business process management professionals, academics and industry technology and service providers.

To realize the vision of a truly open, comprehensive and accessible process knowledge base, the entire business process community – practitioners, methodologists, academics, vendors, analysts and pundits – must get involved.

In this call for action stage, we are seeking business process community members who are interested in contributing to, or supporting, the BoK creation effort.

There’s a form on that page for you to indicate your interest, with a number of categories to indicate your primary and secondary interests in being involved with a process knowledge BoK:

  • Advocate
  • BPM Practitioner / End-user
  • Community Reviewer
  • Content Contributor
  • Funding Sponsor
  • Media Sponsor

I’m involved in this because I believe that we need an open source, Creative Commons sort of BoK in BPM, created by a broad community and acting as a meta BoK (pointing to other related BoKs) as well as containing unique content. I’m particularly interested in enabling more community involvement to really open things up, not just in community contributions of content, but also in community tagging for the purposes of creating personalized views onto the BoK as well as generating a folksonomy. I have a hard time getting on board with proprietary walled gardens of any sort, and especially in the area of information that should be freely available to all types of BPM stakeholders (free as in beer), and freely reusable in a variety of contexts (free as in speech) – the idea is that the Process Knowledge BoK is free in both of those respects. And speaking of free, this is not a commercial venture for me: I’m volunteering my time as a special advisor because I think that it’s an important initiative.

In addition to just indicating your interest by filling out the form on the website, we’re looking for a small number of organizations to participate in our Catalyst program over the next three months while we prepare for the official launch: we’ll be getting the initiative set up, expanding the website into a proper collaboration space in preparation for content creation, and sorting out the methodology, process and ontology for the BoK. To be clear, by “participate”, I mean “write a check”, and in exchange for a bit of near-term seed funding, you’ll get a package of goodies including participation in press releases, ads on the BPTrends and OMG websites and newsletters, and a credit towards our ongoing sponsorship program. You also get bragging rights as a thought leader in supporting this new BoK. Ping me if you’re interested.

21 thoughts on “Process Knowledge Call to Action

  1. Sandy,

    Don’t you think that a BoK in the BPM field will inhibit innovation like it did in the project management field? Remember that some time ago agile practitioners were not considered real project management professionals because they did not follow PMI BoK guidelines. Now, a ScrumMaster is a much more requested professional than a PMP.

    Regards,
    Luis Bender

  2. Luis, I encourage you to take a look at what we’re proposing, and how it is different from something like PMP. We are not proposing a certification organization, but rather an open body of knowledge that other organizations may choose to use as a basis for a certification program, as well as a freely available source of information on BPM.

  3. Sandy, yes, I understand that the model you’re proposing for the BoK development is much more open and collaborative than what the PMI (or IIBA or ABPMP) does. So I propose you to change the designation from “BoK” to something else to express this difference. For me (and I guess for others, too), the word BoK implies some kind of closed developed content, that’s what BoK “owners” have promoted so far.

    Collectively constructing knowledge is a big challenge, but it can worth the effort. Take for instance the Wikipedia. It would be really awesome if something like the Wikipedia could be developed to the field of business process management. Good luck.

  4. Wikipedia is exactly the model that I’d like to see, too. Do you have a suggestion for a name besides BoK? That came from Wasana’s paper and although it’s accurate, I understand that there might be negative connotations.

  5. @ Luis and Sandy – That’s a great point on the “BoK” term. I’d be very interested in other names. I wholeheartedly agree on the “Wikipedia” model, however I’d rather steer away from “Process-o-pedia” and that ilk. Great to see all the interest here. -Brenda (Process Knowledge Initiative squirrel-herder)

  6. Just brainstorming the name… some may sound strange, but just brainstorming…

    Process Knowledge Center
    Process Knowledge Source
    Process Knowledge Network
    Process Knowledge Portal
    Process Knowledge Board
    Process Knowledge Cloud
    Process Knowledge Garden
    Process Knowledge Lab

  7. I definitely support the development of an open collaborative community wide body of knowledge (or something else, e.g. process knowledge centre) for business process management.

    This will be a dynamic collaborative process – main challenge is process governance to ensure “information quality” which invariably implies reviews by a select group (for inclusion or exclusion). You would need to have some level of “quality assurance” if the view is to have organisations used this as part of their certification program.

    I am still in favour of the open community collaborative approach, with multiple threads for “divergent” views. This may or may not be aligned with the intent of the “call for action”. Am I missing something here?

  8. Tony, the idea is to have a shared body of knowledge, although organizations will be free to take that information and use it in various ways, likely governed by a fairly open Creative Commons licence. That gives you the freedom to use it to develop your own certification course, for example, or layer on other information that might be specific to your industry. As for divergent views, we hope to be able to represent those as much as possible.

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