BPMN Method and Style Class May 7-9 Features Improved "Method"

Our next BPMN Method and Style live-online (virtual classroom) training is May 7-9 from 11am-4pm ET, 8am-1pm PT, or 5pm-10pm CET. This class is the gold standard in BPMN training and certification. It teaches you not only the BPMN shapes and symbols you need to learn (and how to use them correctly!)... and which ones you can safely ignore, but it provides prescriptive guidance that ensures that your BPMN diagrams are clear and complete, shareable across the business and between business and IT. The first problem most organizations face when they get serious about BPM is the fact that their process modeling and documentation efforts to date - which are often extensive - are essentially private artifacts, meaningful only to the person who drew the diagram, or perhaps dependent on an accompanying 200-page business requirements document to make any sense at all. That approach doesn't scale, and it doesn't work. The whole point of a standard like BPMN is that it allows the process model to be shared - across tools, across departments, between business and IT - and convey the process logic unambiguously from the diagram alone. The meaning does not depend on the tool or the modeler. It's baked into the diagramming language.

That is a powerful idea, but it depends on learning how to use the language effectively. That's what our training does. It has three basic elements: First, the vocabulary, the shapes and symbols, what they mean, and when to use them. Also, as I said, which ones you can safely ignore. But that's not enough. The second element is a methodology, a cookbook recipe that starts with a blank page and ends with a complete process model. This isn't from the BPMN spec; it's part of the Method and Style approach. Actually, the BPMN 2.0 spec is more concerned with BPMN as an XML language than as a notation in which the semantics are conveyed by the diagram alone. But the latter is what actual BPMN users want. Method and Style is an additional set of conventions that provide it. The Method does two things. First, it gives beginners a recipe to follow when they're not sure what to do first. But even for experienced modelers, it provides value in the form of consistent model structure. Given the same set of facts about how the process works, the Method ensures that all modelers will create, more or less, the same model structure. And if all BPMN users structure their models in the same way, they are far more likely to understand the meaning of each other's models, down to the finest details.

The third part of the training is BPMN style, which focuses on using the notation effectively, using labels and icons, for example, to convey the process logic clearly and completely from the diagram alone. It's like the grammar rules of BPMN, and the BPMN 2.0 spec left a lot of them out. I used to teach BPMN style as recommended best practices, but I have found it much more effective to teach it as a set of rules - style rules - that can be checked in a tool. The tool we use in the class (and for post-class certification) - Process Modeler for Visio fromitp commerce - has the style rules built in, so you just click 'Validate' and you get a list of all the errors, including style rule errors, so you can correct them on the spot.

In addition to the many in-class exercises, the training includes post-class certification. You need to pass an online exam and then successfully complete a mail-in exercise graded by me. And then we publish your name on the BPMessentials website and you get a paper certificate as well. The cost of the training includes 60-day use of the Process Modeler tool and the certification.

One part of the training I have been tweaking this spring is Part 3, The Method. The May 7 class has a new version of that with additional in-class exercises. The thing about The Method that has been difficult is that its "top-down" modeling approach - starting from the end-to-end process as a whole, and then decomposing it systematically - requires the modeler to think more "abstractly" about it, and most people are more naturally concrete thinkers. But the concrete, bottom-up approach used in gathering the facts about the process - what happens first, then what happens, etc. - does not directly lead to consistent model structure, because fine details get jumbled up with major building blocks. It's hard for modelers to adjust to top-down thinking at the same time as they are learning a new diagramming language, and the new Method tries to separate those concerns a little better. I tried out pieces of it in my last two classes and it is now all coming together.

Here's the agenda for the May class, which is 5 hours a day for 3 consecutive days.

Day 1

1. Why Learn BPMN?

2. BPMN by Example

Day 2

3. The Method

4. BPMN Style

5. Events, Part 1 - Timer Events

Day 3

5. Events, Part 2 and 3 - Message and Error Events

6. Branching and Merging

7. Iteration

8. The Rules of BPMN

9. Certification and Next Steps

The cost for the class is $1095 (qty 1), $995 (5-9), or $895 (10+). You access the training in a browser and run Visio with the BPMN add-in in another window. The price includes the post-class certification and 60-day use of the BPMN tool. The certification is a key element, as increasingly managers are demanding their students get it to ensure mastery of the material.

One thing this class does NOT do is teach you how to organize and staff a BPM project, align it with the sponsor's objectives, and gather the essential information that goes into the model. There is another BPMessentials training for that, taught by Shelley Sweet, and it has its own BPMessentials certification requirements. It uses the same BPMN tool, and is aligned with Method and Style, but the content is distinct. The next class for that course is June 12-13; check bpmessentials.com for more details.

Finally, let me just say that many consultants are getting into the BPMN training business, but why learn BPMN from a guy who read a book when you can learn it from the guy that wrote the book? Click here to register, or contact me to register via P.O.