David McCoy

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David W. McCoy
Managing VPt
17 years at Gartner
31 years IT industry

David McCoy manages the analysts on the Business Process Management (BPM) and EITL/ESCL Peer Forum teams. David started Gartner's BPM research and is credited with defining the market that emerged ...Read Full Bio

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BPM Certification: What’s it Worth?

by David McCoy  |  March 17, 2009  |  10 Comments

Today, my wife advanced another major step in her quest to be ordained as a Methodist minister.  The amount of preparatory work for this big day was similar to what I have seen with consulting firm senior managers who are up for partner and with professors being considered for tenure – it’s that serious.  Ordination is not a requirement to be a preacher, but it is expected if you plan to make the most of your profession.

I got to thinking… “What if we did something similar in BPM land.  What if we expected a specific, defined level of due diligence and certification for our top process practitioners?”  The idea intrigued me…  even though the parallel between ordination and process certification is not a great one – flawed as it is on so many levels.  Also, I am not talking about any of the Six Sigma belt kinds of certification here.  I am strictly interested in BPM certification that is generic in nature, not tied to a specific methodology (vendor or otherwise), and – in reality – only just emerging as a topic of credible interest. Brett Champlin, head of the ABPMP, and I recorded a few podcasts last year on BPM certification.  We agreed that BPM certification is a cool idea.  But – cool aside – is it something you consider of value?  When the time comes, and certification has legs, is it something for you?

Thoughts?

10 Comments »

Category: Business Process Management (BPM) Philosophy Rabble-Rousing and General Hoopla     Tags: , , ,

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David McCoy   March 18, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    My wife offered the following comment that she has allowed me to post. I think she should work in BPM; she makes sense.
    ….

    Neat idea. Certainly, any field that takes its subject seriously requires some form of certification, especially from a “standards” basis. In the ordination process, the certification process begins with statements of why people want to do this in the first place. Although BPM probably has no divinely compelling reasons to enter the field (or it might… who knows?) it is always useful to find out, “Why do I think this is a good idea in the first place?” and “Is this the best for me?” If those are answered with any sort of conviction or with any degree of seriousness, then the next step is “How much training am I willing to subject myself to in order to be the best at what I do?” After all, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well (someone else said it first).

    The next step in the process is to have a team qualified to measure those entering the process of certification by certain predetermined standards. What are the “Core Competencies” that you would consider to be essentials for experts to know? Come up with the standards, then make certain that those you certify measure up. This does not have to be an intimidating process, but can be encouraging on the part of the team. After all, you are trying to help others succeed, because the better they do their jobs, the better off you are as a whole. (Weak links, etc).

    The final process is to actually give a designation for those who pass all of the qualifications – to give them a stamp of certification saying that they have passed certain levels of knowledge and that you as a certifying body have complete confidence that they meet the required expectations of leadership. That doesn’t mean that they are “practically perfect in every way” but that they show a competent level of knowledge and have an interest in “going on to perfection” – of continuing to grow in their knowledge and expertise.

  • 2 Lee Vella   May 18, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    It’s strange that people think having a certification is the best way to judge whether somebody has the skills to do a job.
    I personally know people with Project Management certifications who are terrible PM’s; Project Managers who are incredible PM’s with no formal qualifications (some have no tertiary education, none!!); people with university Arts Degrees who are amazing programmers; people who are parents (both good and bad) that have never gained a “parent certification” and people who have a driving license who are in fact dangerous on the road !!!
    There is no certification that can beat experience.
    But if you do pursue this, then I would be more likely to say that BPM is a part of a Business Analysts core skill set as process mapping is used to analyse the business !!

  • 3 Peter   September 15, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Certification should be something that is a measure of both training and experience. Regardless of whether the training is done in a formal classroom or on the “street”. Certification programs that allow the student to attain the highest level within a short period of time are of little use to me. Training must be tempered with actual experience and any certification program must allow for that.

    I would definitely be interested in seeing a certification program for BPM but to Lee’s point, it can’t be just a series of training courses that can be taken one after another without some element of having to prove you can apply the principles in a business setting.

  • 4 Tom   February 17, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Peter’s point that certification should encompass both training (i.e., presume testing is interchangeable here) and experience is very fundamental and of course, very traditional. I am a CMA (Certified Management Accountant), who went through the traditional certification process many moons ago. I happen to share Peter’s view. However, presently the cart is being tipped in one of the strongest credential markets known, accounting.

    The CPA’s in Michigan (as of 2/2010) are contemplating a move to issue the CPA certificate on test results alone. This is apparently how many (most?) states have now set their CPA requirements. Wow? Take my books and taxes to an inexperienced CPA?

    While I personally believe no amount of book work can replace experience, who am I to state that it is a prerequisite to being labeled an expert in something. I’ve experienced inept CPA’s and CMA’s, and others that make me feel embarrased by how much they seem to know.

    \Let the buyer beware.\ People need to do than just hire an expert, they need to research who they hire. Unfortunately, people generally look for the easy way out.

    The aggregate of human nature will NEVER change, at least not in this mortal existence.

  • 5 Tom   February 17, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I was drawn because of a quest to see if BPM certification was a valid endeavor, but to speak up on certifications in general, I thought to opine here.

    Peter’s point that certification should encompass both training (i.e., presume testing is interchangeable here) and experience is very fundamental and of course, very traditional. I am a CMA (Certified Management Accountant), who went through the traditional certification process many moons ago. I happen to share Peter’s view. However, presently the cart is being tipped in one of the strongest credential markets known, accounting.

    The CPA’s in Michigan (as of 2/2010) are contemplating a move to issue the CPA certificate on test results alone. This is apparently how many (most?) states have now set their CPA requirements. Wow? Take my books and taxes to an inexperienced CPA?

    While I personally believe no amount of book work can replace experience, who am I to state that it is a prerequisite to being labeled an expert in something. I’ve experienced inept CPA’s and CMA’s, and others that make me feel embarrased by how much they seem to know.

    LET THE BUYER BEWARE. People need to do more than just hire an expert, they need to research who they hire. Unfortunately, people generally look for the easy way out.

    The aggregate of human nature will NEVER change, at least not in this mortal existence.

  • 6 Tom Debevoise   March 28, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Hi David,

    Do not forget to mention the OMG’s exam (www.omg.org/oceb):

    Yes certification is certinally just a datapoint. I will reiterate some comments I previously made. I like to quote Robert Beer, the great English Tibetian artist: “The difference between the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom may be enormous, ‘There are Learners and there are the learned; memory maketh one, philosophy the other‘. Knowledge is communicable, wisdom is not.” Dumas was responsible for the inner quotation.

    The real value of BPM certification is that a good one should offer the best comprehensive review of the Business Process Management and Modeling literature and practices available today. To prepare for exam students will need to read study and retain an enormously valuable body of knowledge.

    The gap between learning and wisdom is not an excuse to forsake learning by any means. (Imagine a wise practioner that is not learned.) The idea that BPM certification will not lead to good Business Process Management is specious.

    The gap between learning and wisdom is not an excuse to forsake learning by any means. (Imagine a wise practioner that is not learned.) The idea that OCEB certification will not aid in good Business Process Management is specious.

    Tom

  • 7 eyad zamil   April 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Interesting subject , here where I am , in the east , our employers was bringing their senior management from the west, those managers uses these certifications as a main criteria for evaluating resumes, this approach was inherited by the our succeeding managers regardless if they are from the west or the east,

    Now I am looking to obtain a recognized certification in the field of BPM so I can get the right job,

    Is there any recognized International Professional body in the field of BPM who grant this kind of certification.

  • 8 Pooja Dave   August 23, 2010 at 1:39 am

    I am looking forward to get a certification in BPM.
    I read about the OMG certifications.
    Is it worth taking this certification?
    Is there any other approach to seek BMP Certiiocation.
    Do assist..

    Pooja

  • 9 David McCoy   August 23, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Pooja – I believe certification is a worthy goal in any field, so go for it. OMG, ABPMP’s CBOK, Six Sigma, Lean, vendor-specific tools and methodologies…. they all move your skills and the game forward.

  • 10 Tola Anjorin Jnr   September 20, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I am about to start the P.BPM certification course offered by the BPM council, does anyone have anything to say about it. Is the certification valuable?

    Thanks.

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