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.

University of Exeter to offer Masters in BPM

Exeter’s Centre for Research in Strategic Processes and Operartions is partnering with BPTG (the part of BPMG that didn’t make off with the domain name) as part of their soon-to-be-launched Masters in Business Process Management. From the BPTG press release:

The Masters Programme has 10 modules and a dissertation and can be completed over three years. The modules include:

  • Business Process Foundations
  • Business Process Measurement
  • Business Process Improvement
  • Operations Management
  • Business Process Modelling
  • Business Process Change Management
  • Services Management
  • Research Methods
  • Customer Value and Process
  • Business Process Leadership

Looks like some good content here, although I think that BPTG needs to just get over the whole BPMG debacle and stop including phrases like this in their emails: “Some providers distribute course and other certificates like confetti, the authenticity and veracity of which, beyond simple attendance, have no discernable pedigree.”

BPM Chapter meeting in Toronto, October 12

On the morning of October 12th, the BPT Group — which rose from the ashes of the BPMG — is having a general-purpose BPM chapter meeting in Toronto open to anyone interested in BPM. Although the agenda is heavily weighted in favour of a demonstration by Metastorm, who are hosting the event, it will be an opportunity to meet other people interested in BPM. Jim Baird, who is organizing this, is actively looking for BPM practitioners to speak at future chapter meetings, so please let him know if you’re willing to talk about your BPM project or know of someone else who might.

Here’s the details for the meeting on October 12th:

Location:

O Beirao Restaurant, 5468 Dundas St. West (side banquet hall entrance). If you’re on public transit, you can walk west from the Kipling station in 10-15 minutes or catch a westbound bus out of the station (such as the 111 East Mall). I’m not sure of the parking situation but there’s sure to be some around.

Agenda:

  • 8:30 – 9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 9:10 Welcome and Introduction, James Baird – BPTG North America and Australia
  • 9:10 – 9:15 Welcome from Metastorm (session host), Michael Szczerba – Account Executive – Americas
  • 9:15 – 9:45 BPM or Requirements Analysis – Where to Start?, James Baird
    • The links between BPM and gathering business and system requirements
    • Different approaches to documenting processes
    • How organizations are implementing BPM
    • Measuring BPM success
    • The importance of Business and IT involvement
    • Choosing your first BPM project
  • 9:45 – 10:00 Question and Answer / Discussion period
  • 10:00 – 10:15 Coffee Break
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Demonstration of ProVision BPM by Metastorm, Michael Szczerba
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Networking opportunity and discussion of future topics

You’ll need to RSVP Tuesday, October 9th if you want to attend, to Judith Baird at 416-252-8405 or [email protected].

BPMG held a couple of chapter meetings here before the big blow-up earlier this year; one of them was very well attended, the other (due to bad weather) was much less so. In any case, I think that these meetings are a good way to get more of a BPM community going in Toronto, although we definitely need to get some practitioners speaking at them.

BPMG reincarnated

The past few months have seen strange happenings with BPMG. I wrote about the original hint of troubles, when Steve Towers and Terry Schurter jumped ship and Terry redirected the BPMG domain to his own competing website, then the follow-up a month later when BPMG appeared to have truly shut down. They’re not down for the count, however; this morning I received the following email:

Welcome to the BPTGroup website www.bptg.org

The following facilities and services are up and running or scheduled for the new site

  • a full range of training and development programmes for open course and in-house delivery
  • a comprehensive, degree-level programme for business change professionals designed to be  internalised by organisations to provide a future structure for developing change expertise
  • an accreditation process that is quick, efficient and authenticated
  • insight to the 8 Omega methodology and maturity assessment process
  • core sections dedicated to Strategy, People, Process and Enabling Technologies including articles, reviews, presentations and a comprehensive cross-referencing system
  • the introduction of the BPTG global partners
  • the International BPTG Chapters web facility
  • executive briefings, coaching and mentoring, process audit services are offered to organisations as they endeavour to move effectively through the cultural and other issues of change surrounding their transformation to process-focused operations.

The deliberate sabotage of the BPMG website impacted its members, staff and associates worldwide and raises many issues, ethical as well as legal, about the integrity of the organisation and the individuals involved.  The actions that created that situation are totally at variance with the core BPM principle that serving the customers best interests should inform all our actions. 

However, as you will see from our home page, many of the BPMG key people have expressed their opinion very clearly by readily joining the BPTGroup.  We also welcome new faces and expertise, and there are others on the way.

Website functionality will be enhanced in two further phases over the next few months ? we will be introducing new features, new courses and services to our fellow process professionals ? and we want you to help us in this development process. 

One final point before I leave you to explore the BPTGroup website. 

Why BPTGroup? After the BPMG debacle I am sure many of you would expect us to avoid any association with similar phrasing.  Quite the reverse.  The principal movers behind BPTGroup were proud of what we had created in the BPMG and the services we provided to our members.  Although in no way responsible or accountable for the destruction wrought, we want to help rectify the undoubted damage done to an ethical and principled global community and we invite you to join us in these endeavours. 

Please, express your opinion by your action ? help us to help you.

A number of delegates were seriously inconvenienced by the collapse of the BPMG and some lost their fee pre-payments.  We make this offer to those people ? when the BPTGroup next run a commercially viable programme in a location convenient to you we will invite you to join us and waive all professional fees for that course.  Please contact us now to enable our people to keep you informed of convenient courses.

Thank-you for your previous support and interest ? we look forward to the opportunity to work with you again.

Regards,

David Lyneham-Brown

CEO

They have some of the original people on board, including Mark McGregor and Jim Baird (who offered to provide BPMG courses for free to people who had paid for them). A lot of people are unlikely to trust Steve and Terry after the stunt that they pulled — I don’t know the whole story, but it appears to be pretty unprofessional behaviour — but they were two of the very visible faces of the old BPMG, and it’s difficult to see if BPTG will be able to regain the momentum. I don’t think that it’s necessary to have visible faces for an online community like this; certainly there’s others, like BPMInstitute, that are run by very competent people who choose not to put themselves in the spotlight, but to show off the content instead.

BPTG is offering a free membership right now, and I have no idea if they plan to go back to a two-tiered model that drew such criticism in the past. Personally, I don’t think that there’s any place in the market for a paid site for most of the content that they offer; there are a lot of other content sites related to BPM that get their revenue from advertising, vendor-sponsored content such as webinars and white papers, and live training and conferences.