The next stage in the BPMG saga

Remember BPMG (later reincarnated as BPTG)? I wrote previously about the original troubles when Steve Towers and Terry Schurter (two of the key people at BPMG) left and started Bennu Group, a competing training organization. If that wasn’t bad enough, they also redirected the BPMG domain to their own website, in what many consider to be an incredible show of bad faith.

That was just over a year ago, and today it appears that Bennu Group is dissolving. From an email sent yesterday from Terry Schurter to a participant registered for an upcoming course:

I must inform you that the Dallas CPP class offered by Bennu Group has been canceled as Bennu Group LLC is now in dissolution.

If you would like to receive a refund of your purchase please let me know and I will process your refund promptly.

Alternatively, if you would like to attend a CPP class on the same day and same location with myself as the instructor I can transfer you over to that course at no additional cost.

Then, in a follow-up email:

It will be announced tomorrow morning that I, Alex Morse and Don Smith [the latter two also from Bennu Group] have formed a new organization – the International Process and Performance Institute (IPAPI). This is a not-for-profit organization formed in the state of Texas and will be carrying forward the CEM vision.

Certification (IPAPI CPPTM) will be granted under the new organization. The material for the course is based on the same fundamentals used in the Bennu Group program, revised to reflect the learning from delivering that program for a bit over a year. The primary revisions include simplification of explanations and context along with discussion on flexibility that can be employed with the techniques presented. We also include additional new resources and templates for class participants to help make using the techniques easier, simpler and more successful. We will be using at least 3 case studies for hands-on activities in the class.

I am personally very excited about the new direction. The movement to a not-for-profit is a very important step (if you decide to attend my class you will be given a free one-year’s membership in IPAPI). You will also receive one year’s access to the online training which is again a revised and updated version of what was offered by Bennu Group.

The IPAPI.org domain was registered by Alex Morse over a month ago, so this has been brewing for a while. If you check LinkedIn, there were only four employees of Bennu Group; after this latest round of musical chairs, Steve Towers is the one left standing on the outside as the other three start a new venture of the backs of the work started by BPMG and continued by Bennu Group.

This raises a number of interested questions, not the least of which is about the value of BPM certification from training organizations like this. To state that they offer certification for their courses seems a bit hollow and self-serving: what sort of accreditation do they have to make a claim for the ability to offer certification? And more importantly, when the music starts again in a year or so, who wants to be holding certification from an organization that no longer exists?

My advice: take training with any organization that appears to offer what you need, but pay little or no attention to claims of certification unless it is a widely-recognized organization (think Microsoft or IEEE here) with a well-established training and certification program.

Note: I’m receiving this information (and the email quoted above) third-hand, so there could, of course, be inaccuracies.

8 thoughts on “The next stage in the BPMG saga

  1. Sandy, I would point people interested in certification to http://www.omg.org/oceb which is a certification backed by OMG. At the very least, an organization with staying power. The exams are divided into business and technical tracks, with one fundamentals exam that covers both at a level that technical and business people should be able to handle if they are qualified.

    I believe an ecosystem of content and training will start to appear around these certifications, I’m sure some is already in progress. In the end, the real value may be in the preparation for the exams, rather than the certification itself, but I found that when I took the fundamental exam, it reminded me of many things that I had shuffled to the back of my brain somewhere, so even the test-taking was a bit educational. Perhaps the folks you discuss above should consider adapting their training to someone else’s certification – that would take some of the concerns out for those taking the courses.

  2. Scott, I agree that OMG has more legs in this area, but ultimately (as you say) the real value may be in the training and exam preparation rather than the certification itself.

    I’d love to hear from anyone who has any sort of BPM certification on whether the certification itself has benefited them in their job, or just the training that led to the certification.

  3. Well, OMG certification isn’t “live” yet for BPM professionals… its still in beta… so it is too early to tell if it will help someone with their career or with their current job. However, I suspect it will quickly gain currency relative to any other certification in this area, and become the de facto standard.

  4. Tom, I expect that you will have some questions with him along this subject, that is, the real value of BPM certification? I may have already departed BRF by then so may not be able to heckle from the audience.

  5. I’d like to briefly revive this discussion because I haven’t heard any more on the topic ever since. I’ve been in touch with Steve personally and people from Terry’s camp and both claim to be the founders of the CPP Examination. In fact both are offering competing CPP courses and because I now see 2 such courses, I don’t know which to choose. Any suggestions? Should I got for either? None?

    You can see details here:

    IPAPI: https://ipapi.org/certification.php
    BPGroup: http://www.bp2009.com/

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  6. FR, they were definitely together at Bennu when it was created, so possibly they can both lay claim to doing so. I haven’t looked at either course in detail, but I believe that you should disregard any benefits of “certification” — since these organizations are unknown and their certification is worth only the paper it’s printed on at this time — and focus on the content. If it delivers the content that you require, then it’s for you. That being said, there are many other BPM-related paid courses and free material available, so look around before being blinded by the promise of certification.

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