Tuesday, January 22, 2013

APMG's Organizational Change Management Certification relevant for BPM specialists

Recently I followed a training at my employer to get certified (through two exams) for the APMG (Organizational) Change Management practioner-role. More information on the training here (Dutch).

For more information on the certification, check the official site. APMG is also the institute for other well known certifications such as PrinceII and MSP.

(Note: this training of Change Management is not related to ITIL change stuff, or processes that deal with scope change in projects. This is oriented at changing people in organisations - Organization Change Management/OCM, or  "Veranderkunde" in Dutch)

The course and exam is primarily based on the book "Making Sense of Change Management" (link here).
The strength is that it is a eclectic exploration of different views, schools and approaches. So not a simple "follow these 10 steps", but much more contingency oriented, with a broad view on approaches, and (mostly) honest discussions on applicability, strengths and weaknesses.

Contents include:
- Views/approaches on individual change (each organization change requires individual people change)
- Team development
- Metaphores of organizations
- Organization change
- Styles of leadership for change
- Change readiness assessments

In my opinion, a very relevant training and certification for BPM specialists. Why?
From some distance, most what we do as consultants is influence behavior:
- To make people aware
- To help people (power) to decide change
- To help people adapt to changes
In that light, BPM can be seen as a set of interventions to help decide, direct and change behavior.
Because in the end, most processes in my opinion, can be defined not so much as "a series of activities transforming input to output", but much more as "the behaviour that a set of people show, after a certain trigger". If you want to improve processes, you (hope to) change behavior in real people, not diagrams or (just) BPM engines.

Seeing the enormous amounts of failed innovation, IT and process improvement projects, knowledge of the change part is essential for a BPM specialist. Any BPM project is a change project. This training will broaden your view, make you aware of various approaches and will fill your toolbox!

Did I miss things - sure. The book and the course did not go into (for instance):
- Various types of interventions in more detail
- Process centric change
- Typical BPM interventions
- Motivational theory
- More modern approaches on team & artifact development (service design, SCRUM, etc)
- More modern approaches on personal development (ACT, Mindfullness, Appreciative Inquiry)

And the book is UK/US focused. In the Netherlands (and likely in other countries too) there is a wealth of research, views and approaches that were not covered in the exam (but were, high level, provided in the course by Capgemini).

Eye opener for me: many of the modern approaches are simple repeats and refinements of ideas that have been around for ages. We are (often unaware) standing on the shoulder of giants!

A good course and good exam. Recommended.