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A Common Body of Knowledge for BPM: A Call for Action

I’m currently doing some research towards the development of a Business Process Management Body of Knowledge (BPM BoK) so have been reading an interesting paper by Wasana Bandara, Michael Rosemann (QUT) and Paul Harmon (Business Process Trends) on the Process Knowledge Initiative website. Their paper discusses the need to advance BPM as a profession through the development of an empirically validated, accurate and relevant BoK and establish consensus on the definition of BPM. This exploratory paper identifies existing BPMBoK’s, proposes an approach for evaluation via an a-priori model and then offers an ontological design for BoK derivation. With a recognised gap between BPM education and the emerging capability demands of Industry, this BPMBoK will form the basis for both curriculum and practitioner development.

The Authors scan of the current BPM domain has identified five relevant BoK/certification programs deemed relevant to this study:
1. American Society of Quality (ASQ) Black Belt BoK
2. International Institute of Business Analysis BoK (BABOK)
3. OMG Business Process Standards
4. International Society for Performance Improvement BoK
5. Association of Business Process Management Professionals BoK (ABPMP BoK)

Due to its close alignment with the current intent of BPM, the Researchers have chosen to review the ABPMP BoK for this paper. Covering nine “knowledge areas”, the Bok is structured so that the core BOM concepts are presented in the first overarching knowledge group of Business Process Management:
1. Business Process Management
2. Process Modelling
3. Process Analysis
4. Process Design
5. Process Transformation
6. Process Performance Management
7. Process Organisation
8. Enterprise Process Management
9. BPM Technologies

Some of these knowledge areas pertain specifically to the core activities of a BPM practitioner, others to the organisational environment and the use of appropriate technology.

ABPMP BoK Evaluation Methodology
Following a review of the literature for BoK evaluation criteria, including Design Science research and input from the BPM community, an a-priori BoK evaluation framework was established covering the five identified factors of completeness; extendibility; understandability; application; and utility. The Authors then test the ABPMP BoK against each of these criteria and present their findings. Whilst acknowledging that the ABPMP BoK is a good start, “in its early phases and evolutionary”, there are apparent limitations with transparency, completeness and Industry consensus.

Design Approach for BoK Creation
The Researchers have broken down the content derivation process for a BPM BoK into two phases. The first is focused on what to include, the second on the actual population of the BoK components. As the focus of this paper is on phase 1, an ontology based approach is proposed to provide a unifying framework, supported by BPM practitioners, educators and Industry associations. Deemed an appropriate guide, due to the open and systematic approach taken by IIBA when developing their BABoK, the Authors have adopted the elements of Knowledge Areas, Tasks, and Techniques as appropriate for inclusion, with the addition of techniques & skills groups.

In summary, this initial paper calls for an open, BPM community driven effort to identify what it means to be a BPM professional. This is a long overdue initiative of benefit to the whole BPM community. Join the conversation here – Process Knowledge Initiative.

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Categories: BPM
  1. November 7, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Hi Paul, I hope that you’ve signed up to contribute to this initiative: your insights would be very valuable.

  1. November 7, 2010 at 9:39 pm

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