I’ve attended and spoken at a couple of BPMG conferences, as well as attending the new chapter meetings here in Toronto. I’ve never really understood the organization; some people refer to it as a “buyer’s club”, where membership just gets you discounted on their proprietary training and methods, and I since I’m not interested in their 8 Omega methodology (the name of which still makes me laugh), I haven’t found any reason to pay for a membership since my first time around. The quality of their output can be a bit uneven, and most of it appears to be driven by Steve Towers and Terry Schurter, both of whom I have met at the conferences (in fact, I wrote a review for Terry’s recent book).
This week, some weird things started happening. First, the usual weekly BPM email arrived from Steve Towers, but with a statement “I can’t point you at any articles on the bpmg.org site as it has been down for several days (more on that very soon)” — with no explanation, although the email came from Steve Towers’ address rather than BPMG.
Then, an email from Terry Schurter announcing that he has resigned BPMG, lengthy but no more informative:
Today ends almost 3 years of work with the BPM Group for me and I have many fond memories that I will cherish over the years.
I feel it is important and necessary to share with you a few things about my resignation to help you understand why this change has occurred.
I leave the BPM Group under duress. I will simply say that things have come to the point where what I get from the BPM Group won’t buy any “bread” and I’m not an “open-source” thought leader/CIO.
I retain my positive relationship with Steve Towers and will continue to work with him on the latest hot BPM concepts including CEM, the CEM Method (CEMM), Outside-In, SCOs, etc. CEM, CEMM and much of the other latest insights into the customer focus in BPM are the intellectual property of Bennu Group LLC, Terry Schurter and/or Steve Towers. These resources will no longer be available through the BPM Group but they will remain available…
Because I am not “going away” in fact; I see this as the trigger to take the best concepts forward without the chains of “inside-out” thinking placed on me by some of the directors in the BPM Group (not including Steve Towers of course). The place to visit me and have access to these resources is www.bennugroup.net. I hope you have the chance to stop by and visit.
Of course, I’ll be out there speaking at conferences (visit www.terryschurter.com for more on that) and I will be doing lots of other things as well. Whatever I am up to, you’ll find more about it at the sites listed above.
I hope that during my stay at the BPM Group I have helped to enrich some of your lives in some small way and I hope to have the opportunity to stay in touch with as many of you as possible.
Finally, in closing I wish to apologize for anything that the BPM Group may have promised you that they have failed to deliver on. If I could have left the BPM Group without duress my departure would have been carefully structured to help ensure an orderly exit from the business. Unfortunately that has not turned out to be the case.
As we say on the internet, WTF?
Then yesterday, a missive from BPMG (or what’s left of it):
I am writing to you to inform you of the official company position regarding issues with regard to BPMG and its web site.
I have been a non-executive director, director and shareholder of BPM Ventures Ltd the holding company of BPMG for some years. Recently a dispute has arisen in the company about some invoices and payments that have been claimed to be improper. A board meeting was called to consider the best action for the company until such disputes had been resolved. I have have been appointed managing director and the executive authority of David Lyneham-Brown and Steve Towers have been suspended whilst due enquiries can be made. I must emphasis that there is no implication of wrong doing at this stage by any party but it is normal in these circumstances to suspend individuals until due enquires have been made.
One of the disputes involves a company called Bennu, run by a Mr Terry Schurter. This company had the responsibility, amongst others, of running and maintaining the BPMG web site. One of their invoices has been claimed to be improperly submitted and is in dispute. A matter that I intend to resolve as quickly as possible. However Bennu have taken it upon themselves to re-direct the BPMG web site to their own website. We would like all parties to know that they are improperly doing this and have no grounds or authority for this redirection. We will of course be taking appropriate action but that will take time.
The training that BPMG have so successfully delivered over the past few years has not changed and we intend to continue to honour all training course and responsibilities. To this end David Lyneham-Brown remains involved in the day to day activities of the company and along with our colleague Rose Butler, will remain available for any questions you might have regarding the delivery of BPMG services. In addition both he and Rose will be your contact points for any new bookings. All training materials and IP remain the property of BPMG but customers need to be aware of possible improper use of materials in the future.
It is most regretful that a subcontractor to BPMG has seen fit to take such actions over a minor invoice that has been questioned in its validity and will be resolved in a short time if the submitted invoice is genuine. We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience that this may have caused and we will take all and any actions necessary to protect our customers position and ensure that all services are delivered to the usual high levels of standard that we have always delivered.
Finally, I wish to assure you that the company is solvent (as agreed by the board yesterday) and remains in a position to honor any proper financial commitments made by the company. We will be doing our very best to get normal service resumed as soon as possible.
We will be setting up a web site in the near future where further information will be available.
As a temporary measure you will find us at www.processperformance.com along with details of how to contact us.
The BPMG site is still redirected to Terry Schurter’s Bennu Group website, and Ashton’s letter and the BPMG logos are on the site that Ashton mentions at the end of his letter. The BPMG.org domain registration is private, but presumably Terry has control over it if he was able to redirect to his own site — an action that appears to be in tremendously bad faith, even if not illegal, since I assume that BPMG owns its own trade name and domain name, even if Terry was managing the website and domain records.
Given that the two key visible people at BPMG are no longer on active duty — Terry has resigned and Steve has been suspended by the board — it’s not clear how BPMG can continue to do business.