BPMN Training Taking Off

If you are a regular reader, or used to be, you've noticed I haven't posted for a while. After a quiet Christmas season, BPMN training has suddenly exploded. I'm living in airports and hotels, it seems. Be careful what you wish for, they say. And how true.

Since I had my last virtual classroom training at the end of January, I've done classes at Alcatel-Lucent in Paris (not complaining about that), Raytheon in Tucson, Freddie Mac in Virginia, Alcatel-Lucent again in Dallas (it's not Paris), and I'm heading off soon to Sandia in Albuquerque. Three more queued up but not yet committed. And this doesn't even count the public classes - BPMInstitute in Chicago on April 7-8, Creetion in Netherlands on May 17-18, BPMInstitute in San Francisco in June, and possibly one in DC in June in conjunction with WfMC's Process.gov event.

Last year it was about one a month. Now its 2.5x that. What's different? A couple things that I see... I think the biggest factor is that the "architects" have discovered BPMN. Mostly business architects, but also enterprise architects. That means process modeling in the large, keeping in mind the interactions between processes, rather than focusing on a single process improvement project. Companies are saying, we need to get our act together, document and analyze our processes, and BPMN is now the accepted standard. I guess we need to learn it.

My book, BPMN Method and Style, is also a factor. I published it last June, and it's still by far the top BPMN book on Amazon, usually the top BPM book (sometimes Paul Harmon's book is higher). Several times in the past week it's been in the top 10,000, which (if you are a connoisseur of Amazon rankings) is really good. What's resonating with organizations looking for training is the notion that a dictionary of the shapes and symbols is insufficient. You need to train users in a consistent methodology and modeling style, so that given the same information about how a process (as-is or to-be) works, all modelers will produce more or less the same diagram. The book does that, but users still want the training, which provides hands-on with a tool, exercises in class, and more complicated post-class certification exercises. I'm sure the book has cannibalized some training, but I think it has stimulated more than it has lost.

And the big software players are only now beginning to promote BPMN, so it's only going to increase. For example, IBM has implemented what I call BPMN 2.0 Level 1 in WebSphere Compass, WebSphere Business Modeler, and BPM BlueWorks. I'll be presenting on using those tools for process discovery and improvement at Impact in Las Vegas in May. Another example is Microsoft. They are putting BPMN into Visio 2010 Premium, not just as a drawing tool, but with model validation. Global 360 is assisting there with simulation and xpdl, in its new analystView tool. I'll be doing a webcast on the Microsoft/G360 effort in Q2, and possibly BPMN Level 1 training on that platform later on. And I keep waiting for Oracle 11g BPM... it's got to be out soon.

This thing is definitely gaining steam. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, try out one of the public classes: Chicago April 7-8, Rotterdam May 17-18, San Francisco June 30-July 1. If you want to do the virtual classroom training, send me an email. I want to schedule another one, but it keeps getting bumped by the on-site events.

So far I've been doing the classroom training myself, but if this keeps building I may need to hire an instructor. If you have gone through the BPMessentials training and certification, and you are really good at it, and you don't mind airplanes, hotels, and other trappings of life "up in the air", drop me a line.