Which BPM training is best?  Well, the proof is in the pudding – in the results for the organization and in the results for the resources.  For the organization you want to see process improvements implemented and success metrics achieved.  For the resources –leaders, managers, and employees– you want understanding and advocacy of the principles, new skills and continued usage of the skills.  So the answer to this question—Which BPM Training is Best?—is in the approach to training, not the specific vendor, instructor, or content.

There are all kinds of training methods.  The basic ones are

  1. Presentation:  in college it was lecture; today it is death by Powerpoint 
  2. Self study: be it a booklet (Traffic school still has them) or on demand on-line courses
  3. Workshop: small groups come together to learn something in their group (This is my definition to separate it from presentation, which is people coming mostly individually to learn from the presenter.)
  4. Apprentice:  a master teaches one on one from his/her experience

Training can be conducted using different media—online formats, videoconference, teleconferencing, or face to face. And methods might include interactive exercises like questions and answers, case studies, skill practice exercises, group discussions, and tests.

So which of these gets the best results? Results need to be measured. Where did the organization people resources start and what do you want to accomplish? I think the Presentation and Self study style are fine if you want to increase the skills of individual employees but without support when those employees get back to their organizations their learning may just enhance their education and not get applied.  If you want to get more results with these two types of methods, engage a team  (3-6 or more) people together with a real project they have to complete already identified when they attend the training.

The Apprentice method has several benefits:  it’s learning one-on-one with a real expert.  Assuming the Master is a good teacher – he demonstrates first, does it with you, watches you do it and coaches, and then sets you off on your own with a review again later.  This see and do method gives the learner lots of time to practice with immediate feedback.  The major drawbacks to this method are 1) it’s scalability because of doing it one-on-one are reduced and 2) it can produce a lot of variation in method, as different Masters may use quite different methods. 

The Workshop method brings people together in groups, and these are particular groups.  I suggest THE TEAM that will work on each BPM project you currently are addressing.  In other words, for the best success with a BPM project, start with some prework—writing a  charter for project ahead of time with the executive sponsor and process owner, and as part of that charter, identify the resources/people on the team.  Then send the team to  the workshop together.

Increase the results exponentially by having the workshop focus on real work – have each team work on their project during the workshop.  This method is called Action Learning.  Action Learning is an educational process where people work and learn together by tackling real issues and reflecting on their actions. I think the ultimate action learning process is captured with a great basketball team, who starts playing the opponents and adjusts their game as they go in real time  and with quick team coaching sessions on the sideline.

What this means in an i4Process workshop is the team learns skills and uses them right away, applying them to the next steps in their own process.  So they are learning skills in the workshop and doing real work in the workshop.   They have already completed some of the discovery, analysis or redesign phases in the workshop. Then they go apply the skills in the workplace and gain more insights (for future improvements to the work process) and reflect on what is working or not working in their group and organization. 

Want to learn more?  Sign up for my live-online BPMessentials workshop, Starting and Organizing a BPM Project (June 18 and19, 2013) and Analyzing and Optimizing BPM Processes (July 30 and 31, 2013)  Find out how to build high level maps with process owners and project leads, how to write a charter in 90 minutes, how to get the right members for a BPM team, how to document process models in the BPMN standard, using the free ITP software, how to use the 4 required techniques to analyze processes, and creative ways to build optimized processes

Part 2 of this blog will cover the framework of the Core Workshops in the Workshop method;  Part 3 will cover the leadership sessions and team meetings.

Shelley Sweet
Author: Shelley SweetWebsite: http://www.i4process.com/
President, i4Process

Shelley Sweet, President of i4Process, Inc., is a leading BPM expert with over 20 years of experience. She has educated hundreds of individuals and organizations on how to better develop and manage their business process improvement projects through her successful consulting engagements and popular training workshops. She is the author of The BPI Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Guide to Make Your Business Process Improvement Projects Simple, Structured, and Successful (Cody-Cassidy Press, February 2014). She can be reached by email: [email protected], phone 650-493-1300, or visit her website at www.i4Process.com

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