AIIM’s CIP … soon to be extinct

extinct

Since writing this post, AIIM has responded to this, and many other comments, that CIP holders (and others) made. AIIM announced that they were not abandoning the CIP certification, but were actually going to upgrade it. (You can read more here)

It’s been 4 years since I attained AIIM’s Certified Information Professional (CIP) certification. At the time it seemed like a good idea. Below is an extract from AIIM’s “CIP Examination Objectives”

The certification is dedicated too enhancing and promoting the profession of information management by providing the premier credential in the industry.

Note the word “premier“.

Exciting News

Last week, AIIM announced an exciting development. They described how they were “consolidating” their CIP and their Master designation. (You can read the announcement here). In other words, the premier credential is going to be worthless.

The CIP was something that you qualified for, after sitting a rather rigorous exam that covered a vast range of areas within Information Management. And then, because things are continuously changing, there was the requirement to re- qualify every X years, by accumulating X continual training units.

.The Master designation that they refer to is something that one can get after doing a course (in either Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Business Process Management (BPM), or Electronic Records Management (ERM)) , pass an exam, write a case study. and that’s it. No further “keeping up-to-date”

… there is a difference in a training institute’s “certificates” and an industry “certification.”

Kevin Parker (Information Management Consultant & AIIM Trainer)

I’ve been a big supporter of AIIM. I was even an “ambassador”. I’ve written several blog posts about them, and was one of their “expert bloggers”. I saw value in the CIP. It created a “standard” (I wrote about this in an earlier post), so I was disappointed to see that it was, essentially, being killed off.

I don’t feel that the “Master” designation is quite the same as the CIP, but then, it appears that the CIP certification was not quite as popular as AIIM had anticipated. Apparently over the 4 years there were only 1000 Certified Information Professionals.

So why didn’t it work?

Lack of Interest

I can only really speak from my own perspective here. Jesse Wilkins has tried to give some explanations to the angry mob of CIP holders that gathered at his doorstep (and by “doorstep” I mean “on Twitter”), and it seems to boil down to “a lack of interest”.

it seems to boil down to “a lack of interest”

When the CIP appeared on the landscape I saw it as a great way of defining what I knew (with regards the field of Information Management), as well as creating a roadmap of other areas that I needed to explore to become a well-rounded Information Professional. (In an earlier post I referred to it as an Island). I found the idea of continual learning valuable. It was something that I did anyway, but now it was something that was being recognised.

The other professional institutions (PMI, IIBA) have done it. Their certifications are internationally recognised (and career definning), but even those started out with just a handful of certification holders.

Value

So now that the CIP is gone. I ask “was it really necessary”. The fact that there wasn’t a great uptake shows that, maybe, it wasn’t. Information Professionals have carried on being Information Professionals, and companies have carried on hiring them based on their experience and knowledge.

Having CIP certification wasn’t really a deal-breaker. Back in 2012, before I embraced the CIP, I asked whether it would be JAC (Just Another Certification). The reason that I decided that it wasn’t was because of the reasons I described above.

A lack of a framework

Look at the PMI (Project Management Institute) certification, or the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) certification. They are standards for professionals working in those fields. And having the certification does make a difference.

And these certifications are based on a BOK (Body of knowledge) that provides a framework for the way these professional perform. That’s what helped the certification to be seen as something professional. And that was something that the CIP lacked.

So what now?

That’s the question that I’m trying to answer. Some have even suggested that AIIM has no more value. I’m curious what you think? Does AIIM really make a difference?

My Earlier CIP posts

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best no-bullshit “Rules of Networking”

136489044

The question was asked, on Quora,  “How do I get better at networking?

There were 38 answers. The response that got the most upvotes, was the one by Zach Freedman. Someone who tells it like it is. His response was certainly different from the other responses, and garnered the most comments (and, as mentioned, upvotes)…

  1. Networking is bullshit. You don’t “network”, you meet people. Get out of the results-oriented mindset and enjoy the conversations. Be a goddamn human about it. Put down your phone, because…
  2. Comfort zones are bullshit. The only network worth having is one that has a diverse group. Wide and shallow is the name of the game. With a wide network, you have more interesting conversations, more options for solving problems, and more ears on the ground to spot trends. Grow some balls, leave your silo, and make friends with people who are utterly unlike you. Twitter and Facebook shield you, which is why…
  3. Social media is bullshit. Talk to people in the real world. A lot. Expand your options using meetups, clubs, mixers, and getting friends to drag you along to their social stuff. Try and talk to everyone at the event. Ignore your business cards, because…
    Business cards are bullshit. There’s exactly one reason to use a card – you take their card because you want to follow up on something they said. They like old Benzes and you have a friend who collects them? Ask for their card, write “Connect w Jeff re Benzes” on the front, pocket the card, and follow up with it. Don’t give out your card unless asked, because…
  4. “Let’s talk later” is bullshit. They’ll never follow up with you. The ball is firmly in your court. If the conversation went well, call them back within two days, link them with what you wrote down, and check in every two weeks or so. Two weeks?! Yes, because…
  5. You never stop selling. You never stop shipping. Your life is vibrant, fascinating, and fast-moving. Every week, you have new people to connect and new developments to tell others about. And you do so.

Your regular contact builds friends. Your excitement makes them want to listen. Your activity spreads the word that you get things done.

Conversations aren’t “How are you doing? Fine, how are you?” They’re real, visceral, and worthwhile. Most importantly, you’re actually helping people, and that’s why you start networking in the first place.

 You can read the original in Quora here.

Six models of Organisation

organic-structure

The following is sourced from Imaginization:

Six Models of Organization

(An excerpt from Imaginization: The Art of Creative Management )

Model 1 is the classical bureaucracy, carefully blueprinted into functional departments, run from the top by the chief executive through various structures, rules, regulations, job descriptions and controls. It is designed to work like a machine, and operates very efficiently – so long as nothing changes!

Bureaucracies, like machines, operate well when there are stable functions to be performed, especially when they can be broken down into a series of separate operations coordinated from the top. But when an organization’s tasks keep changing, it’s a different story. The changes create a host of problems that no one is mandated to solve.

The problems thus work their way up the hierarchy, and eventually fall on the chief-executive’s desk. He or she soon gets overloaded, and initiates a shift to Model 2 by appointing a top management team. Collectively, they now deal with the problems, leaving the bureaucratic machine below (ie. the functional departments) to continue with the routine work.

Continue reading

Simple advice – How to Make Ugly Slides Beautiful

This slidedeck presents some fantastic tips on turning slides from dull to wow. I really like this one.

CASE 1- CATWOE & Value Proposition

k@twoah

Having recently “discovered” CATWOE, I found this to be an excellent article.

The science of enterprise—and doing good.

This is a real life example (has to be anonymous) that shows how defining the core-purpose of your business enables you to define and understand the essence of the value proposition. First up is what the owner described as a manufacturer of coated parts, but what was the value proposition? You’ll need to remind yourself of what CATWOE is here, and my interpretation of what must comprise the value proposition.

1. Hermann Engineering Ltd
Herman Engineering Ltd (HEL) was founded in 1890 by two partners James James and Robert James. It  started its long life near Cardiff in South Wales. It was set up originally to provide a service to the local steel industry, which started to go into heavy decline at the beginning of the 1970s. The company’s principal activity had always been the surface treatment of metal components. Surface treatment involved a variety of processes including, simple…

View original post 540 more words

Now this is the right way to do it – webinar times in a big world

Kudos to ProjectTimes.

The Internet is a global thing. This means that anything that you publish on it could be read by pretty much anyone in the world. As a result, it is incredibly valuable to offer times, dates, et cetera, in a way that can be easily “localised’.

Project Times promoted a webinar, and were good enough, with the time, to add the offset to GMT. This meant that I could easily calculate what that time was in my time zone. (Rather than having to try and google a translation.)

webinar instructions

My only grumble with this, is that UTC should be used rather than GMT.
However they are both aligned so it’s not that bad.

Understanding the Frustration of a Project Manager

Oops

So there he was. Charlie had been assigned as lead BA on a project with an external client. “Cool” he thought, but still felt a bit nervous. There were others in his department that had been in the game longer, and he was still reeling from having the proverbial  “slap in the face” in an earlier project that had turned slightly pear-shaped..

As such, Charlie decided to ask some of his colleagues for help. They were most forthcoming, and decided to hook in other expertise. “All fine” he thought, “the more experience available in this, the better.” 

Continue reading

Look Down

In a recent post (“Is being Socially Connected online really that damaging?“), I discussed a response to a video on YouTube that preached the sadness of the way people are constantly online.

I’ve just discovered another response to “Look Up”. This one is called “Look Down“.

And here’s the link to another good one:

 

BA Practices in a Virtual World

Virtual Working This is the another post in my “Today I read …” series where I aim to summarise. or recapitulate, excellent, and educational, articles that I have read
Previous: As a BA, be aware of your motives

Today I read the transcript, and viewed the slide deck, from one of the IIBA Spotlight Series: BA Practices in a Virtual World (from May 2013). I was particularly interested in this,as I am a strong believer that projects can be completed by groups, and individuals, that are located in geographical disparate locations. The webinar was presented by Larry Simon of the Inflection Group.

(Note – this webinar is archived on the IIBA site, but is only available to IIBA members.)

The webinar, promised that I would learn the following:

  • How Facilitation has Changed
  • Building Rapport Virtually
  • Managing Participation
  • Tools for Virtual Teams
  • Demo: Powernoodle for Virtual Facilitation

This was promising.

I read through the slides and then went through the webinar transcript… After the usual introductions, etc, Larry pointed out, through the use of an example (he use to lead a facilitated centre, or an accelerated solutions environment) that the standard practice was to get everyone in the same room, and to hash things out, with copious use of whiteboards, and “group sessions”.
This would continue until a solution had been reached, or an agreement on what the problem was, what the requirements are, etc. There was an expectation that the classic Form/Storm/Norm/Perform would take place.
He then goes on to highlight the fact that, often, getting everyone in the same room, is not possible. This may be because of different geographical locations, or the fact that people work from home, or for any other myriad of reasons. (“Your office is where you are.”)

The presenter describes several handy techniques, and tools that can be used when holding a “virtual workshop”. Handy things that we should all write on a piece of paper and keep in our pocket for reference. Things such as being considerate when talking, building rapport by disclosing something about ourselves that the other person didn’t know, or mirroring others (without mocking).  Finding out as much as you can about the other attendees is also a good tip (but the presenter warns that there is a fine line between being interested in a person, and stalking them.)

Taking notes during the session is also a recommended practice. Recording the sessions is also a “really good suggestion”. I won’t describe the other incredibly useful gems that get mentioned.

Then Larry describes several tools that can be used for virtual meetings. There are tools that allow for the sharing of screens,or for sharing files, and documents (anyone everheard of Google Docs?). This culminates in a demo of Powernoodle, an online collaboration tool which, actually,offers some great functionality.

There are quite a few good questions asked my the attendees of the webinar, but these were not answered in a satisfactory way (I felt).

Expecting More

All in all, I was expecting much more from this webinar. I have seen large enterprise projects work where the stakeholders and the implementation team, were all spread across multiple cities, countries,and continents, where English was not everyone’s native language.

I felt the advice, and information, that the presenter gave was a bit thin. It did not have a lot of depth. Having said that, I understand that the field of working with disparate teams is something that cannot be given justice in an hour-long webinar.

In fact, this topic is something that I have been,and will continue to, delve into more deeply (including Agile and remote teams). I’ll keep you updated.

The webinar can be viewed on the IIBA site (members only).

A PDF of the slide deck is available on the IIBA site here, and the transcript can be downloaded here. (Again – members only)

If you like this post, feel free to share. If you have comments that you’d like to make, please go ahead and use the comment box below. Cheers  

Working Across Time Zones

WashULaw

Chelsea Wilson, the Community Relations Manager from Washington University School of Law (@WashULaw), contacted me recently about a new resource that they had created: the “Working Across Time Zones” infographic. She asked me whether I was interested in sharing this on my blog.

Having worked for teams that are spread across multiple time zones (and having lived in multiple different countries), I know the importance of “awareness” when it comes to communicating with others. (Refer my earlier posts.)

@WashULaw also gave some excellent tips when working across time zones. I’ve repeated these below, and added my own comments.

  1. Stick to one reference point. When discussing a time for a conference call, use a single reference time zone – generally yours or your counterpart’s. This can cut down on the possibility for confusion quite a bit.
    Agree totally. There’s nothing worse than trying to work out whether that’s 3pm your time, or 3pm my time.
  2. Always specify a time zone. Don’t forget to mention a time zone when discussing times. It’s a good habit to be in even if you aren’t making international calls. With today’s interconnected world, you never know where a person might be located when you correspond with them for the first time.
    I would go one further. As well as the time zone, I suggest adding the offset from GMT (or UTC, if you prefer). Just having the time zone of the organiser can be confusing. Not everyone knows what the acronyms mean. But most people know what their own time is in relation to GMT/UTC. And by adding the GMT/UTC offset when discussing times, it makes it easier to work out the time difference. For example 11am NZDT (-13GMT) helps someone in another time zone work out what 11pm NZDT would be in wherever they were.
  3. Use a modern calendar app. Google Calendar, for example, will allow you to create events and email invitations that automatically adjust for each invitee’s time zone. All you have to do is set a meeting time in your own time zone — no calculations are necessary.
    Having the app adjust the time certainly is handy.
  4. Check the time before making a suggestion. Again, Google is your friend. If you search for, “Time in _________” and insert the name of the city you want to know about, Google will tell you the current time in that city. This can be very helpful when calculating the distance between your time zone and your counterpart’s. Once you have an idea of the gap, you can figure out which times are optimal for each of you, and you can start off the conversation by suggesting a time that might work right off the bat.
    The WorldTimeBuddy is a good way of seeing the times of different locations at a glance.
  5. Don’t forget about daylight savings. Some parts of the world observe daylight savings while others do not. On top of that, even if both parties observe this practice, the date when the clocks change might be different. @WashULaw’s  graphic indicates if the cities listed observe daylight savings time but don’t forget to check the specifics prior to scheduling meetings around that time of year.

…and two more that I would add are:

6. 24hour format. The concept of am/pm is not used everywhere. Many countries use the 24hour format for their time. (Even 12am/12pm can be confusing for people who do use am/pm). Best to include the time in both 12hr, and 24hr, format to avoid confusion. E.g. 11pm/23:00.

7. Be specific. Avoid saying something like “half ten”. In some parts of the world “half ten” is a quick way of saying “half past ten (or 10:30). In other parts of the world “half ten” means 09:30)”. This can occur when people from different countries are discussing times. Best to be aware of the confusion that it might cause, and state a specific time.

Here’s the graphic from @WashULaw

Working Across Time Zones

Working Across Time Zones provided by @WashULaw, an online LL.M Degree program from Washington University School of Law

A stupid question is …

A stupid question is any question that can be answered through Google.

However, this removes the opportunity for dialogue. For discussing, and learning…

For example, I want to know what HTML5 is. I could go to Google, (or Bing, or any search engine) type the four letters and one numeral in, and get an abundance of results.

However, if I ask someone, there are a number of outcomes:

stupid question

Click on image for a larger version

Do you see what happened there? The easy solution was to Google the answer. Simple, easy & fast. However, by asking someone, I engaged in dialogue, and when the person started explaining the answer, the dialogue started becoming rich, and each interaction created new richness.

People communicating,and sharing ideas, thoughts, knowledge, concerns is, actually, a pretty great thing. :O)

The Silverback gorilla & the Outsiders – notes from a Project meeting

Silverback

The large male silverback stood with a menacing look on his face as the small group of silverbacks from a different territory marched into the confine. The large male’s stance, and posture, said it all. “This is my territory – I am here to protect my group.” The only thing separating the large male from the “outsiders” was a flat piece of wood sitting atop of 4 posts.

The outsider silverbacks started to grunt and gesture at a piece of paper that was sitting on the flat piece of wood. The look on the large male’s face grew even more menacing. Suddenly he puffed out his chest and beat it a few times. The outsider silverbacks went quiet for a moment. They exchanged nervous glances between each other. The alpha male in the outsider group stood resolute and gestured back at the paper.

The large silverback started beating his chest rapidly and made large scowling vocalizations. He was clearly challenging the outsiders. Again the alpha male from the outsiders stood firm, and picked up the piece of paper. He looked the large male directly in the eye.

All of a sudden the large male withdrew. He stopped beating his chest and became very mild. It was all bluff. The outsider group continued with their grunts and gestures while pointing at the piece of paper.

–  Observations from a Project Planning Meeting

Revisiting Hofstede’s five cultural differences

Instead of the convergence phenomena we expected with information technologies availability (the “global village culture”), cultural differences are still significant today and diversity tends to increase. So, in order to be able to have cross-cultural relations, we have to be aware of these cultural differences.

In an earlier post, I talk about Geert Hofstede, a Dutchman, who came up with a way to understand different cultures.

As I mentioned in that earlier post, Hofstede’s model helped me to get my head around what the small things were they was making the culture I was (then) in, different from my own.

Recently I came across a course (“An introduction to business cultures“) that the Open University runs. The very first part of the course discusses Hofstede’s five cultural differences. Because the material is available under the Creative Commons ‘Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike’, and because it’s still really relevant I have reproduced the text from part 1.1 of the above-mentioned course.

Hofstede’s five Cultural Dimensions

A series of perspectives that we might use to achieve a different insight into business was introduced by Morgan (1986) in his book entitled Images of an Organization. One of these was the business as a culture, a type of micro-society where people work and ‘live’ together on a daily basis, with certain rules and understandings about what is acceptable and what is not. The idea of a business having a culture was developed from the work of Hofstede on national cultures (1980). His research focused on ways of measuring national culture and how these ‘measures’ might work differently in different contexts. The cultural values that are important in a national culture, he suggested, could be reflected in the way businesses within that country are operated and organised.

Hofstede’s five dimensions (he developed four in 1980, then added a fifth in 1991) were:

Power distance This concerns the extent to which less powerful members of organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally. National cultures that demonstrated what Hofstede called a ‘low power distance’ are ones in which there is a concern to minimise inequalities. Hofstede included Sweden and New Zealand as examples of this. In general, Hofstede found that Latin American and Latin European (France and Spain) countries had higher power distance scores. The less powerful in these societies tend to look to those with power to make decisions, and inequalities within society are more acceptable. This is represented by a tendency for the centralisation of power and the subordination of those with less power within businesses.

Individualism/collectivism In an individualistic society, people are expected to look after themselves and their families. In the case of business this is reflected in, for example, employment contracts based on hiring and firing. Two examples of countries with high scores on this dimension were Australia and Canada. In more collective societies, people are more concerned for others and the culture is based around more cohesive groups, such as the family, which offer protection in exchange for loyalty. This tendency is reflected in businesses as well as elsewhere in society. Hofstede cited Ecuador and Indonesia as examples of more collective societies.

Masculinity/femininity This refers to the degree to which gender roles are distinct and adhered to within a society. In high femininity societies, social gender roles overlap, with both men and women valuing ‘feminine’ qualities such as modesty, intuition and quality of life above the more traditionally ‘masculine’ qualities of aggression and competition. Hofstede’s research suggested that Denmark and the Netherlands were more feminine cultures, while many other Western countries exhibited more masculine values. The USA was ranked fifteenth out of 53 nations on this masculinity score. Japan, the UK and West Germany also scored highly on masculine values.

Uncertainty avoidance This concerns the extent to which the members of a society feel threatened by uncertain and unknown situations. Hofstede suggested that Jamaica and Singapore were relatively low uncertainty avoidance cultures, where precision and punctuality are less important, innovation is encouraged and people are motivated by being esteemed by, or belonging to, others above other things. High uncertainty avoidance scores mean that there is a fear of ambiguous situations, a preference for being busy and being precise and punctual. Relatively high scores on this dimension were found for Latin American and Latin European countries, Japan and South Korea.

Confucian/dynamism This refers to the extent to which long-termism or short-termism appears to be the dominant approach. Long-termism stresses perseverance and being sparing with resources. Short-termism, in Hofstede’s analysis, involves a greater emphasis on quick results. Hofstede found that the USA tended towards short-termism, while the Netherlands was the most long-termist European nation, ranked tenth out of 23 countries surveyed.

These differences between national cultures are based in deep-rooted values and so are largely implicit rather than openly acknowledged. They create all sorts of problems for employees in multinational companies who go to work abroad, or for representatives doing business with suppliers or customers in other countries. We can use the simple activity below to explore some of these differences.

Activity 1

0 hours 10 minutes

Purpose: to consider business practices in different cultural contexts.

Task: consider each item in the following list. In your country’s culture, is this behaviour considered to be acceptable or not?

  • Paying an agent for an introduction to a business opportunity.

  • Paying a government agent for bureaucratic procedures to be bypassed or speeded up.

  • Making a copy of a product that you have seen at an international trade fair.

  • Paying people to find loopholes in tax laws.

  • Giving gifts to the purchasing manager in a large business organisation.

  • Charging high interest rates for unsecured loans to individuals.

Discussion
If you and I came from different cultures, we would give different answers here. You might think some of these behaviours were inappropriate or unethical, but I might think you were wrong. In either of our countries, these business behaviours could be against the law, but, as a visitor, we might not know that, nor realise that we were offending the people with whom we were attempting to do business.

Note – Hofstede also went on to add a sixth dimension “indulgence” at a later stage.

no team member …

indispensableIn one of the responses in an ongoing discussion in LinkedIn, I saw the following sentence:

no team member should be indispensable. That’s a *team* problem, not an individual’s problem.

The discussion was related to the availability of a team member during a Sprint phase, and the above-mentioned was just one sentence in the lengthy discussion.

It really captured what I’ve tried to portray in an earlier post:
What secret agents can teach us about Project Teams

Many thanks to Paul Oldfield who made this comment

The Difference between Records Management Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines – Richard Medina Doculabs

 

This is a great post from Richard Medina from Doculabs. It digs into the structure and differences between the policies, procedures, and guidelines you need for an effective RM program. Click on the link below:

The Difference between Records Management Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines – Richard Medina Doculabs.