What Price, Experience?

Scott Francis
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In a previous post, I discussed hiring “heroes” and putting the band back together. This seems like a good time to revisit that thread, but this time, let’s focus on what it means to have an experienced team. Businesses are always advertising “experience”. I think we could all agree that years of experience is also not the only interesting metric to look at. But just for argument’s sake, let’s address it. I want to spend a moment debunking some of this:
  1. You’ll see a local company advertising that they’ve been in business since 1950, for example. But then they don’t tell you that someone new bought the business two years ago and all the staff turned over. So, really, its a 2-yo business that is trying to leverage a 50+ year history.
  2. Consulting firms will often tell you how many “total” years of experience they have. “50 years of experience in software” – but of course if they have 50 people that’s an average of 1 year of experience per person… which sounds a bit less exciting. If its two people, that’s a bit more interesting, isn’t it?
  3. Companies will assign their “general” software experience to a “specific” software category, and conflate the two. For example, after doing 10 years of software deployments, and 3 years of BPM deployments, someone might say they have 13 years of process-oriented software deployments under their belt. Not an outright lie, but it sure is misleading, isn’t it?
I think the only meaningful measure of experience in consulting is the median level of experience. That measure will tell you that if you get a resource from this organization, half the time you will get this much experience, or more. Of course it would be nice to have a full distribution graph but we can’t really expect companies to provide that level of detail on a regular basis :) At BP3, we think we have the most experienced BPM deployment team in the business. Our median software industry experience is 16 years, and our most experienced technologists don’t shy away from writing code, either. Our median BPM deployment experience is 4 years (and climbing). You work with BP3, you’re working with people who know how to develop BPM solutions, who have done it before, and have the scars and smarts to show for it. But is years of experience really the measure to focus on? Well, it certainly tells an important part of the story, but the other part is to answer the question of what kind of experience? in a meaningful way. The answer to that is pretty straightforward for BP3. We have, on our staff, the guy who authored Lombardi’s deployment methodology, created the Lombardi On Demand Assistance (LODA) program, and created the Business Process Analysis function at Lombardi (previously “Transformational Services”), and expanded training offerings to include method training. We also have the guy who ran all of the technical delivery functions in Lombardi professional services for 4 years, and hired most of that team. We have the primary driver of Aflac’s award-winning BPM deployments on our team. We also have the former leader of LODA at Lombardi for the last 2 years. Each of us has had critical experience helping customers get BPM software deployed, and helping customers realize ROI from their BPM initiatives. In addition, we’ve each had compelling, high impact roles prior to our work in the BPM space. We have a lot of relevant experience about how to focus on high-impact changes to business processes, and a lot of relevant experience about how to translate process into a solution represented by software. If you need help with your BPM initiative, give us a shout.

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