The New Standards in BPM Training

 

Reuel Sample:
Lloyd Dugan, as many people know, is widely recognized as a thought leader in the development and use of leading modeling languages, methodologies and tools covering from the level of enterprise architecture and business architecture down through business process management, adaptive case management and service oriented architecture. He is all over the place but specializes in the use of standard languages for describing business processes and services, particularly the business process model and notation from the Object Management Group. And we're going to be talking about OMG a lot tonight, Lloyd, so I hope you're ready to go.

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Lloyd Dugan:
Absolutely.

Reuel Sample:
What is the update to the training standards? We have talked about these in previous podcasts with you and me, and we have talked about it in your interviews with some other of our guests. We've given some teasers about the training standards that you are involved in over at the Object Management Group, OMG. What's going on over there, give an update?

Lloyd Dugan:
So the OMG has a set of certifications called the OMG Certified Expert in BPM, 2. That's a mouthful. So we just call it OCEB-2, which is the acronym that spells out. And the 2 is sort of in relation to BPMn, but it's really more about the second version of the BPM certifications, because that's what these are. They had an earlier version, which was just OCEB without the 2 attached to it. So the the certifications they put in place a few years back were about this second round of certification exams in the area of BPM. With the OMG certification exams, there is a very deep and broad in both respects set of topical coverages by these exams. These exams are not for the casual practitioner. They require a study and the passing levels can be quite high and you basically have to know the discipline in a variety of ways. Not just the what is BPM, business process management, mean, but you know, the related disciplines, architectural frameworks, business architecture, service frameworks like ITil and so forth. The list goes on and on and on it, honestly, and this is no exaggeration, could be seen as a sort of MBA like curriculum that you would eventually have to cover in order to get all the requisite certifications.

Lloyd Dugan:
There were five in the OMG OCEB-2 path. The entry level exam exam and certification. And then it splits. There's an intermediate and advanced for purely technical topics. And then a parallel set for business, intermediate and technical for the business type business related topics. And that's the way it's been for for some years. There is been in the last several months an effort by the OMG to refresh its exam material to run on the new online platform that its test developer and and platform under Pearson Vue, which is the company that runs the testing service, is running it. And there has been an ongoing effort to make sure that the exams are still run on the new, purely web based platform. So that's done right. I had a small part in helping that, but large by and large I did a couple of the exams in that regard, but someone else picked up to the rest of them.

Reuel Sample:
So the exams are fully integrated onto Pearson Vue's platform.

Lloyd Dugan:
All but one. And it's that last one which was halfway under development when the person at the OMG basically retired and took most of this knowledge with him. But this one exam was kind of left in suspense and so. As the other effort concluded, a new effort was restarted to bring subject matter experts back to the table, so to speak. The virtual table being that these are all Zoom calls to essentially complete the exam. So that means we're looking at the questions that were there reviewing them, making edits if we think they're needed and then the group meets to evaluate whether the questions amount to something good enough to include on the exam. There's a protocol for that. We have to at least two people there to even talk about it, three people to confirm its inclusion. We have to source it, meaning that every question has to point to a particular source when it comes to the standards themselves, that's obviously pretty straightforward. But for all the other concepts that are being tested now, we have to find new URLs or book titles. IBSN references for what kind of book it is and so on, so forth. And this is very time consuming stuff.

Reuel Sample:
This isn't a superficial review. This is a thorough review and update of all the training.

Lloyd Dugan:
Yes, for this exam, and it's it's going to end up, I think, generating something on the order of 200 questions. We've reviewed over half of them, but we still need to create about a quarter of them. So there's a lot of work in front of us still. Eventually, the questions will put into be put into beta versions of the exam and then put through their drill through the drill of being taken in by the volunteers, so to speak, to take these exams for testing purposes. So the second patricians, that's the term of art here can look at the results, decide which questions work best and then settle on the final set and then present those back to the OMG. And then we can call that last exam complete. And that I expect it will be done before the too much longer into the fall. I would say probably sometime in November, but I really have no no direct control over that, and we just kind of have to count on enough people showing up often enough and have enough time to do this because this is all voluntary.

Reuel Sample:
What is really interesting here, Lloyd, is that you don't just have one person throwing in a question. You've got what did you say two people who put the question out and three people to approve it?

Lloyd Dugan:
Oh, no, that's that's just that a minimum in terms of the total number of people involved. I think it's like four or five. And but they need two people to show up to even start reviewing stuff, and they need three to sign off on it. That's the protocol that the second metrician company called Items Experts is pushing us through. So it seems reasonable. I mean, I am quite frankly in awe of the the technology and the discipline that these folks are bringing to the table. But it is slow going and it certainly has been instructive to me. I have created my own exams, and I do my own training and I've created my own versions of exams to work in the background. And I feel like my efforts look very amateurish now that I know it's actually evolved. But like I said, you know, we'll we'll get this out of the way. And then the question is what comes next and what will come next is what we covered in some sense in the very first podcast we did with Denis Gagné from Tri-City, it's the BPM Plus stuff. So that podcast was about BPM plus - health. Health being the business domain, but BPM plus itself is just the unification of the three modeling standards - Business Process Model Notation or BPMn for process modeling, Decision Modeling Notation or DMn for decision logic and CMMn - Case Management Model and Notation for case modeling.

Lloyd Dugan:
And that has been used by a growing community of practice practitioners in the health care communities to model stuff clinical care pathways using those three languages, and then they want to take it eventually all the way to looking at how these models can be rendered executable. Right now, the focus is on getting the understanding of the modeling. Language is more widely understood and better understood by the practitioner community as it stands. And that is going to be the next thing. I am trying to work within the confines, if you will, of the OMG and the BPM Plus practitioner community to pitch this idea of a BPM plus certification path. Much simpler than what is there for OCEB-2. Like, instead of five exams, we just have to instead of work, including a whole bunch of other material in there, that's related. Keep the focus on just being able to apply the three standards that's different, like I said, OCEB tests and stuff, that's outside of what people might normally think of business process management, topical coverage. But it's not really if you are going to be a dedicated practitioner in that space. So we don't need to have the kind of deep and broad knowledge that the OCEB-2 test takers have to have in order to get those certifications.

Lloyd Dugan:
And if they and there's no reason to get rid of those right people still want to get them, they can do that. But the BPM Plus will represent a new kind of certification pathway, one that's really more about gaining engagement by practitioners rather than weeding out the weak, if you will. And we'll have to see where it goes. We're almost a year away from having the first real milestone achieved, but I do expect that once this other exam renewal process is done before the end of the year, that will then be shifting to try to bring out and bring off, if you will, the other this bpm plus certification path. I'm very excited about that because there is again, as evidenced on the various calls and working groups that I've been attending because there are several working groups in this community of practice that there is real interest here. There is a desire to get smarter about these modeling languages and to create a training pathway and a pathway that leads to some kind of certification is a well trodden and well recognized path for making sure that the competencies have been earned and can be applied. So again, I'm very excited about what the rest of this year and next year will mean for those of us in the BPM and BPM related training practices.

Reuel Sample:
Some people would have a reaction as - Well you're you're reducing the standards and you're really not doing that. You're just creating a you're not you're not demolishing the highway, you're just creating another highway.

Lloyd Dugan:
I'm going to draw a parallel here, When I venture to look at YouTube stuff, for example, you know, I'm always going to run across a YouTube about this really clever math problem, which, you know, I'm just a math geek, so I will be drawn into it to see if I can understand it and be replicate the solution. And usually I can't. So I just have to follow what the YouTube video is demonstrating to me. And of course, I feel mentally inadequate after after having done it. But the point is is that should not be the standard, right? You know, it shouldn't be that I'm able to prove X, Y and Z in the math room in order to just basically apply math in most ordinary circumstances. That doesn't make any sense. So in the OCEB-2 certification, there is a level of comprehension of this stuff that's deep and broad on stuff. And if the purpose is to apply the modeling languages in the context of the broader discipline of business process management, ok. But that's not really the intent here, right? Because these clinical care pathways and the first pilot for this was done using prenatal care as the pathway. That is intended to create a standardized representation of what good health care practices should look like. That's, you know, that's very different from the usual moniker of BPM is there to help re-engineer processes or to help bring greater coherence on the development of supporting applications and so on and so forth. You know, that's also valid and that's your thing. Then you've still got the OCEB-2 certification path to to follow.

Lloyd Dugan:
But for those in the BPM place health practices, they're focused on trying to model how clinical care is delivered. And that's it. And given that narrowness of focus, at least within the health domain, their need is not about the broader aspects of business process management. Their need is how do I know which of these modeling standards to use and when? And what do I use and how do I keep everything in sync because it's very difficult to do to use all three modern languages in an integrated way? It's typically not taught. So it presents some challenges, and it has to be done in a way that engages people that entices people into joining this practitioner community. Not it doesn't have to be like the weeder course when you went to college, right? There's always that weeder course for pre-med intended to scare people out of pursuing a pre-med major, if that really wasn't their intention. Right? So I see the OCEB-2 like that. It's really there to weed people out that aren't going to be serious about the depth and breadth of this, this topical set of topical coverages. But BPM Plus is different. What we want to do is get engagement and I have high faith, a lot of faith that it will appeal to a broader audience as a result. And that there will be generally as many, if not more, certifications in this new path than there are for OCEB-2. But again, it's appealing to a different market, so everything is win win all around for everybody.

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Reuel Sample

Reuel Sample is the content manager for BPM.com. He is also the owner of Act242 Marketing and Consulting. A former pastor and Navy Chaplain, Reuel's interests include process, sailing, automation in marketing, and small business development.