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In house architecture certification program


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In this presentation, I examine key characteristics of launching an in-house architecture certification program. Companies with large pool of skilled technology staff are looking to formalize their …

In this presentation, I examine key characteristics of launching an in-house architecture certification program. Companies with large pool of skilled technology staff are looking to formalize their architecture talent pool. Professional bodies such as TOGAF, IASA are laying the foundation for such certification. The issue is how do companies devise and deploy their own customized certification program. This presentation is a very high level view of this issue. Comments and ideas are welcome.

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  • 1. An In-house Architecture Certification Program -by Gouri Das (, ) July 11, 2010
  • 2. Key Issue Company XYZ wants to create an architecture training and certification program to clearly identify the architects in its vast technology staff pool Underlying Intent To create an well-defined intenal architecture profession Benefit Improvement of business value via assured and potentially higher quality solutions 2
  • 3. What makes a profession? Common definition Consistent training and curriculum University programs in the specialty Governed accreditation and certification Including national and state licensing Commonly accepted roles & responsibilities Recognized career paths Professional code of ethics Source: “State of EA 2010”, Westbrock, Tim; Paras, George; EA Directions, 3
  • 4. Survey of Certification Programs Enterprise Architecture courses are being taught in some colleges in NA, Europe and Australia GWU, Bentley University, CMU Heinz College in Australia, Reading University in UK (TOGAF) UCLA, Penn State are investigating Customized IT architecture course at Mercer Community College, New Jersey Generic / Specific Programs IASA CITA TOGAF ITAC Federal Enterprise Architecture Certification Program Microsoft Certified Architect Program Other relevant programs IT executive program at Babson College, Boston, MA Source in part: “State of EA 2010”, Westbrock, Tim; Paras, George; EA Directions, 4
  • 5. IASA Certified IT Architect Program 5
  • 6. Key Characteristics of In-house Architecture Certification Program Many companies have “IT Architect” job title; purpose of certification is to create additional generally accepted level of trust in the execution of the function Key components: Well defined entry criteria • Past experience is a determinant of the future performance Mid- to long-term apprentice-ship and mentoring • Should include real life projects End of apprentice assessment (i.e. the certification) Other pre-certification training courses • But must not be “take the class – pass the exam – and whalla! You have arrived” Peer group accepted Periodic recertification; should be tied to successful execution 6
  • 7. Key characteristics … Balanced between being relevant to the business environment and general industry knowledge Adopt and customize certification criteria from established industry bodies Certification criteria must have a combination of attributes; Teamwork, leadership, “turned on by pushing limits” Tied to demonstration via successful project implementation Judged and generally accepted by peer group (the fellowship model) Eventually formalized via HR job description and associated compensation scheme E.g. senior technical staff member, distinguished engineer and IBM fellow at IBM 7
  • 8. Key characteristics … Proof is in the pudding Must have established criteria for value demonstration; this is not just an academic exercise For example, must be able to lead various levels of complex projects, defends its design, demonstrate mature trade-off, etc. – and eventually a stable, running system Create special program incentive Accreditation to ensure portability outside company High profile project assignment • tiger team assignment; • technical due diligence in M&A Recertification on a periodic basis; should be tied to successful project execution Cert. criteria highly relevant to the business environment of (technical and business) yet within the framework of a chosen industry-standard body (e.g. IASA) 8
  • 9. Key characteristics … Certification can be subdivided into various technical / business process domains Deep knowledge of applying a substantial area of technology to a business problem (such as infrastructure) Deep business process knowledge in an area of significance to the business along with (such as supply chain) Expertise in at least two or more of such areas would meet minimum qualifications Should demonstrate complex design capability and holistic thinking Most importantly, demonstrate ability to create new solutions 9
  • 10. Deployment considerations Begin with a proof-of-concept with say half dozen prospects over six months May start with by invitation only; spot talent and nurture Create a pool of evangelists of senior technologists who will actively promote to the prospective candidates Create a mentoring program Declare success criteria for the proof-of-concept; for example, a certified architect is able to lead an appropriately complex project through to successful completion Consider tie up with a college (e.g. Mercer / Babson) that specializes in IT executive education 10
  • 11. Preparation considerations Create / modify job descriptions of certified architects; include expected skills, knowledge and behavior Design certification program; establish criteria by adapting an industry standard program (e.g. IASA) Promote via deliberate communication / marketing campaign; this should be similar in scale to introducing BPM campaign or Total Quality campaign For example, ensure that this becomes a topic of discussion in executive town halls Obtain executive and HR support 11
  • 12. End of Presentation