Background: BPM Conferences Are Good...
Conferences are a great way for colleagues and peers to network, share best practices, and re-energize and re-motivate their efforts.? In particular we've enjoyed participating and presenting at Lombardi's Driven conferences in the past, and at bp3 we've attended Lombardi Driven, Appian's conference, OMG's Thinktank, Gartner BPM, and Forrester BPM conferences (when we weren't too busy with customers).? Conferences have some of the value of an off-site meeting within the company: recharging the batteries and motivating action.? But they also provide a chance to be exposed to much more diverse points of view, to out-of-the-box thinking, to new tricks of the trade, and to new market dynamics.? In smaller conferences, or small breakout sessions, real discussions break out that can really be illuminating (OMG's Round Table format is a well-known example of formalizing this kind of small-discussion format, and it led to the six barriers to BPM Adoption at a very humorous and educational round table that I was fortunate to attend).
...but Missing the Mark.
There are just a couple of problems.? First, conferences run by Analyst firms and Conference organizers are often too expensive (especially with today's budgets).? Second, vendor conferences are too focused on the sponsoring vendor's messaging, and often neglect the real needs of attendees. Attendees to both types of conferences get value, but I often hear them expressing an interest in getting into more detail - moving past concept to tactics.? Moving past platitudes to showing real solutions.
Its our belief that it is just too hard to get into the specifics and details in a multi-vendor conference.? Even with respect to project methodology, the *right* approach to a project has to take into account the realities of the technology being used.? If you're using a BPM tool that doesn't provide rapid UI prototyping, you'll need a different approach to your project than someone using a BPM tool that does provide rapid UI prototyping.? And that's just one trivial example.? When we get down to sharing technical best practices, going cross-vendor just doesn't make much sense- BPM execution level detail simply isn't that portable.
...So What's the Answer?
If we put together a conference that is focused on what attendees want to talk about, we'll get more value for the dollar.? If we aren't looking to clear a profit on the event, we can lower the investment barrier required to attend.? If we focus on a single vendor, we can focus all the way down to shared source code if it has value. To that end, we're going to borrow from concepts pioneered by unconferences and barCamps, leveraging advice from folks who put on the SXSWi barcamp in the past.
With preamble aside, I'm very happy to announce what I believe to be a first:? a BPM unconference for BPM practitioners of a single product suite.? We're calling it bpmCamp.
This first event is focused on users of Lombardi's Teamworks or Blueprint products.? We're focusing on this community because it is the set of products and practitioner community that we have the deepest connections into, and because we want the event to be a single BPM product event for the reasons stated above.
We really think the BPM community/ecosystem needs events like this to foster growth, success, and maturity.? We believe maturity requires:
- technical breadth and depth
- project methodologies to support the roll-out of processes and improvements to those processes
- process improvement techniques and strategies that can actually be implemented and maintained in BPM suites
Also, we actually want to learn something new.? When we get the right? practitioners in a room, we're going to learn from them, and help propagate those best practices into the BPM ecosystem.? We're also going to share what we know from prior experience directly with the conference.? This cross-pollination is good for everyone.
Finally, we decided to put action behind our words.? We've long agitated politely for more tactical, focused topics at BPM conferences, but we've reached the point where it is time for us to contribute back to the community by creating an intimate event that fosters that kind of discussion.
When is bpmCamp?
We've selected a date for the first one:? January 28-29, 2010. Mark your calendars.
We hope to host additional bpmCamp events in the future, but this is the inaugural event, and it should be special.? Please watch this blog as we'll put up an F.A.Q. as soon as tomorrow with more details.
If you have any questions in the meantime, contact us at:
(editor's note: bpmCamp is not affiliated with or sponsored by Lombardi.? bp3 is not acting on Lombardi's behalf, nor is bp3 an affiliate nor subsidiary of Lombardi. )