The ABPMP Common Book of Knowledge

I’ve read the majority of the CBOK since joining last week and have to say I’m deflated by it. As a BPM evangelist I’m very passionate about the profession I serve and yet all I seem to hear these days is BAM this, BI that.

What the CBOK represents is very exclusive (hardly ‘common’ then!) and it is still very IT focussed e.g. Process Modelling must teach BPMN and must teach people to use software tools! Nonsense.

This should be a people’s choice.

This body of work means that all the BPM, Six Sigma, Lean, TQM, ISO, EFQM camps have to either ignore it or embrace it and accept that BPM as a business discipline and method is dead. Process and Process Management is much wider than this document and potentialy many members of the ABPMP may see this.

My other concern is that for a body of work to take so long to develop almost certainly means that it’s outdated as soon as it’s published. The same goes for the Certification which was touted some years ago by the ABPMP. I cannot understand the singular focus of creating a certified course by everyone these days when we have no standard to judge it upon. The CBOK is a long way from being that standard so announcing a course based on it is pointless.

These works cannot be produced in an exclusive round table environment, it needs feedback and input from everyone in the community, whether professional or vendor. If the majority does not have a voice then it cannot be a defacto standard approach or widely recognised.

And this is the problem with BPM right now. Too many factions all vying for attention and claiming to have the one true view of BPM and in greater numbers. Unfortunately we all know quantity is no measure of quality. The BPMI claims to have 40,000 members but 99.9% are voiceless so what does that tell you.

The only way for BPM to truly survive and adapt is for a collaborative effort to exist, pool resource, thoughts and ideas and share them for all. And for this to be FREELY available. If people are passionate about their work then they’ll donate their time, I see no reason for ‘not for profit’ organisations to charge for membership or access information which can serve a greater number of people and evolve the practice for the 21st century and these demanding conditions we face right now.

If BPM implodes or disappears it’s because this fractuous mentality we seem to be hell bent on pursuing caused it to.

I won’t let it happen, and there are others who feel the same at the BPM Nexus.

This isn’t a scathing attack on the ABPMP but the general state of the BPM industry. I’ll walk away with a bloody nose and a few cuts and bruises no doubt but the message is out and that’s what matters most.



10 responses to “The ABPMP Common Book of Knowledge

  1. Theo,Have you looked at creating a wiki on BPM? That way anyone can contribute. The community can post information, comments, etc.I have not participated in one, but I have seen some in use and they could provide a mechanism for what you are trying to achieve.Regards,Dan

  2. “These works cannot be produced in an exclusive round table environment, it needs feedback and input from everyone in the community, whether professional or vendor. If the majority does not have a voice then it cannot be a defacto standard approach or widely recognised.”I wonder why we can’t have the BoK for BPM be wiki-fied – as you say, an exclusive round table can’t accomodate all the myriad views. it feels to me like we need a wiki and perhaps a governing or editing body to help carve some method out of the madness. Of course, this requires the experts to share what they know without remuneration directly arising (except possibly through the popularity of their own ideas and contributions).

  3. In some aspects I agree with processmaverik’s comments, but not with everything he says in his blog.He makes clear that it is a positive critique to the BPM practice, rather than a call against ABMPM’s C-BOK.I understand his main points are:1) ABPMP’s C-BOK is being developed by a committee, not by the community: Almost every sustainable standard and model has been developed by closed (even elitist) committees, like PMI, SEI, OMG, etc. The advantage is focus, dedication, possible funding to ensure maintenance and some degree of responsibility. Probably most of the surviving BPM works have been produced by this type of groups. It would be nice to have references resulting from spontaneous collective-collaboration (like wikipedia), but many voices would question its quality, not to mention its risks and lack of potential funding to guarantee continuity. Nevertheless ABPMP members can submit their feedback for future editions of C-BOK (similarly can be done for CMMI, PMBOK, BABOK, SWEBOK, etc.) Everybody would agree that peer review is needed for every BOK circulating around. Some of these bodies don’t accept volunteer’s contributions, like (free of charge) translations of their references. Even if these documents can be downloaded for free, there are harsh copyright restrictions to prevent unauthorized contributions.2) C-BOK & CBPP developments are way too slow: True, I agree. That is one disadvantage of committees’ work, especially when there is no funding supporting their activities. Even in cases like the SEI’s CMMI (funded by DoD), releasing new products take a long time because of the approvals, politics, internal consultation, etc. Usually they release mature, final works that are “safe” to be used. It would be even slower if the initiative is taken by a major official organization (ISO for example). Collaborative works on the contrary can be made available at blog-speed, but they risk to be incomplete and untested for practical use. I wouldn’t base a BPM professional certification program on moving ground. If it is timely or not, it would be determined by other alternative initiatives, so far it seems there is no other major BPM BOK initiative in sight, only OCEB for certification.(btw OCEB points to reference books and articles, but it doesn’t identify a body of knowledge so far)3) CBPP (ABPMP) and OCEB (OMG) are overlapping: let’s hope not, it would be very damaging for BPM. Once CBPP is released and community knowledge matures it would be become clearer where is pointing out. For many years industry people perceived ISO 9000 and CMMI in a front collision course, until the industry implemented and understood their respective objectives and purpose.4) There is no mature reference yet in place to base BPM professional certifications: if it is that the case, then BPM as a discipline is not mature yet. C-BOK is an attempt to come out of the woods, to tell the WHAT (no the HOW) a BPM practitioner should master. I wish processmaverick would have pointed to a better alternative, rather than leaving the impression that is up to tribes and warriors to apply BPM.5) Is ABPMP C-BOK or else Six Sigma, Lean, TQM, ISO, EFQM, CMMI, etc.: I do not agree, these models and methodologies have very specific objectives and are under the umbrella of BPM. I don’t have the impression that C-BOK is trying to replace them. This reasoning is like saying `ìf we have the Constitution then we don’t need city bylaws or traffic regulations)`6) The access to C-BOK is restricted to ABPMP members: true, same is for PMBOK, BABOK, IEEE, ISO, etc. Is probably the only incentive to have people actually paying for the ABPMP registration. ABPMP sends 50% of each registration to the respective chapters where the member belongs. It would be nice to download everything for free. Other organizations with adequate funding can afford to give for free downloadable versions (CMMI, eSCM, etc.)7) C-BOK is IT focussed because refers to BPMN: I hardly can see that using a graphical convention to graph a sequence of steps is “IT or software oriented” That comment is nonsensical and exaggerated. 8) Fractious mentality corroding BPM: Finally an idea that I fully agree, there are far too many initiatives and software vendors claiming to be THE BPM. We need to create a Unified BPM BOK in the next decade and clean the dark ages of diverge and do not listening to each other initiated in the ancient era of the process management prophets and hagiography (Davenport, Hammer, Juran, Watts Humphrey, etc.). In the future we, as a community of BPM practitioners, should push for a convergence of ABPMP, OMG, and the like. Thanks processmaverick for waking up a constructive discussion on ABPMP

  4. Rferreing to Luciano’s comments: I also agree with some of processmaverick’s views. Especially those related to the somewhat fragmented state of the BPM community. And I agree with Luciano’s last sentence as well: processmaverick’s comment has woken up a discussion that we sorely need. All comments seem to point in one direction, indicating that there is only one thing to do for processmaverick, for Luciano, for me and for all: take what we have (the CBOK and the professional certification scheme) and contribute to improve. I personally want to thank the ABPMP for creating the CBOK so that we have a staring point. There are always the first versions of everything. And they are always monumentally important, seldom because they are perfect, but because they put the vehicle of creation into first gear and start moving it. That given, maybe we should should start discussing how we want to facilitate contribution and improvement. Wiki is already mentioned by Dan and sfrancisatx. We also need to look at how we want to organize contribution and improvement — say for example through a core ABPMP group for development + a selected group of ABPMP reviewers + all ABPMP members as invited contributors, and maybe the whole BPM community as commentors/requestors. Or maybe through using the Wikipedia model where ABPMP assigns moderators to verify quality but everybody contributes — also allowing for several views of the “truth” to co-exist.Consider this as a personal invitation to all ABPMP members to start posting proposals for how we should maintain and improve CBOK & certification (and maybe create other assets) for strengthening the BPM community.I am looking forward to comments…Dr. M. Naci Akkøk(ABPMP member, BPM practitioner and BPM/SOA academician for the last 25 years or so, also Chief BPM/SOA Architect for the Nordics at Oracle).Note: Do ask me how being SOA/BPM academician was possible for 25 years ago 🙂

  5. ProcessMaverick has brought invaluable contributions to our discussion, although some lack of diplomacy has deviated the debate away from its purpose. First, I would like to congratulate with Luciano Guerrero, Sandra Lusk and Professor Naci Akkøk for bringing maturity and sanity to this forum and moving us to the next level — BPM really needs professionals of their stature. Although CBOK has been written by a committee not a community, I would testify that is not an elitist committee, once I have a seat on it, and I am from Brazil. And, not only USA and Brazil have representatives, but France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria are represented as well. More importantly is that CBOK is being translated into languages other than English, such as German, French and Portuguese. When ProcessMaverick says CBOK should be built in a more democratic fashion, of course, he is considering that we do not live in an English-speaking planet, and translations to major languages is the way to include more people around the world, as they can understand so they can practice and send feedbacks for a continuous improvement. Quite surprisingly to note UK has not been part of ABPMP or IABPM! I think it should, and quickly. I hope others come and join soon, including China, India, Middle East and Spanish-speaking countries. This is the way to thrive, as BPM professionals we all know that process improvement is a never-ending activity, and it is not possible to start with a clean slate every day.

  6. All, Firstly, if you’re going to cut and paste comments from my Blog back to the LinkedIn forum, a little bit of professional courtesy wouldn’t go amiss to use my name, and not ProcessMaverick… Secondly, a lot of these comments are extremely valid yet somewhat insular in nature. Most of the core arguments I make are actually going unheeded and the focus is not all about the CBOK. For BPM to survive and not implode we all need to embrace a wider context and lose a ‘business’ model that excludes the entire community from uniting. All these points I’ve raised have simultaneously highlighted that the ABPMP has not considered looking outside its own walls and that I’ve succeeded in giving away the crown jewels to allow you to continue as is with new ideas, fragmented again. If that’s a reflection of what’s happened then I’ve failed in an attempt to open up the ABPMP to collaborate for a greater purpose. If there isn’t a serious effort for unification then BPM will always be a broken discipline, marred by internal wrangling for positioning, multiple ‘certification’ methods and no common message to the world at large. And instead of evolution we stare at extinction.

  7. I agree that a wiki format is a good fit for a rapidly growing and evolving field such as BPM. Phil Gilbert & team at Lombardi have nearly finished setup and implementation of an open source (and BPMS vendor-neutral) initiative on Wikiversity for BPM program governance through the establishment of “charters” that you would probably find very interesting:’ll be speaking about this initiative at Lombardi’s Driven conference this week (4/20 – 4/24). I find both the approach and content very useful.

  8. Dan,Part of what we’re doing over at the Nexus is to write both the Accord document and a Wiki.Right now it’s in the form of a rough Glossary until it’s agreed then it’ll be posted out in Wiki form.

  9. Alana,Great find. However my concern is that it’s vendor led and driven. Looking at the content it’s more about BPM the solution than BPM the discipline and practice

  10. We have created a BPM BoK in Germany using Mediawiki, in 2005, with about 50 people. The good thing was that everyone could contribute, but then again it was very hard to merge all the ideas, opinions, synonyms etcetera into something end-user-friendly. In the end, the biggest part of the work was done by just a few persons (3-6), because otherwise it would have ended up as a collection of articles without any “leitmotif”. Our German group is co-founder of IABPM, which is now in a cooperation with ABPMP. I do like the CBOK, and we already translated it into German.

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