April 12 2011

Two weekends ago I went on my very first Adventure Guides campout.  We went to Sky Ranch, a great facility in East Texas that was very well appointed and more like a hotel stay than a camping adventure.   I’m lucky because the guy leading our group is very organized, and so is the fellow that organizes the Tribes in our YMCA.  They were kind enough to email all the dads in the group the essential list of things to bring on the campout. And I tell you what, when it came time for my manic 15 minutes of packing, that was HUGELY helpful.  I’m a pretty organized person when it comes to work, but when it comes to the rest of my life, well….

All that got me to thinking… How important is it to have a partner to help you through your BPM implementation when all the day-to-day activities that you balance come into play?  It is sort of like an insurance policy that you’ve taken out to hedge against all the noise that you face in your day job. And to me, that’s exactly why you bring on consultants on some of your IT projects.  They have experience (like my Tribe leader, who has done this several times before and the YMCA leader who is focused on making our campout a success). They know that there are things you will need (bug spray and sun screen come to mind).  They know that there are certain things you should do while on your campout that not everyone will be aware of (like the rodeo that started early on Friday for those that made the trip in time).  They basically know what you might not already know.   And that’s what is so helpful.   Mind you, I might be told to bring sunscreen, but ultimately I have to decide if I should apply sunscreen (my wife will tell you that I was successful, thankfully).

So what should a good consultant bring to your BPM campout?   To me, there are a couple of things that are essential, a few nice to haves, and some others you should at least consider.   In the tradition of a good campout list, let’s number them out for easy reading:

  1. Experience – If nothing else, you should look for those that have done this before
  2. Success – Call around; ask previous customers what they think
  3. Failure – Yes, failure; how else do you really learn? And if you’re not willing to admit your shortcomings, what does that say about your ability to self-correct?
  4. Methodology – This is a starting point, because ultimately meshing with your approach is paramount, but my experience says that Agile is the best approach for BPM projects
  5. Deliverables – Take a look before the campout starts and make sure you’re aligned with the list being suggested; you might have a few things of your own that you want to add to the list (I added some of my favorites to the YMCA list, trust me).
  6. Exit Strategy – I’m firmly of the opinion that ultimately you own your own destiny, whether that is out-sourced or in-house, so you have to prepare accordingly for it.

For the record, my son had a great time, or so I’m told by him both verbally and with his smiles while we were there.   I certainly had a great time, except for getting shot by my son with paintballs (we’re in Texas so we start ‘em young!).   I really am glad I had someone help me get ready for the trip, though.  Otherwise I would have totally forgotten the sunscreen.   The tackle box, however, sat in my garage for the weekend, so no matter what your list looks like for your BPM campout, ultimately you have to remember to pack it for the trip.

About the Author

Gary Buffington

Gary Buffington is an Executive Vice President of AVIO Consulting.  Gary focuses on the sales leadership and implementation methodology of the company, faithfully working directly with customers throughout their relationship with AVIO.  Gary started his career in semiconductor manufacturing but quickly learned that the allure of consulting fit his personality better.  His first foray into consulting was with Ernst & Young in their SAP practice.

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