VCDX Tip from Down Under

I read a couple of good articles recently from VCDX candidates that defended at Frimley in the UK. One successful, and one not successful on this occasion. Both articles Extra VCDX Experience Achievement Unlocked by Gregg Robertson and VCDX Recipe for Success by Rene Van Den Bedem (VCDX-133) offer valuable insights. I thought it was worthwhile repeating the comment I made on one of the articles here and I'll also repeat it in the VCDX community. I don't know if there will be a part 2 or part n in the future, I'm just planning ahead in case. I hope this offers some help to aspiring VCDX candidates, as well as my other articles on topics relevant to VCDX.

It’s a great achievement to be accepted to defend a design, so you’ve definitely made an important step forward to have achieved that. It’s validation that your design had a material chance of being successfully defended, even though there may be areas to improve for next time. Less than 0.1% of the VCP population is currently VCDX, so getting this far should not be under estimated.

One bit of advice I give during bootcamps and encourage candidates to do is listen very carefully to the questions that you are asked from the panel during all stages of the defence. They ask them for a very specific reason and in a specific way and there is always a strategy to it. If you can learn from the questions and ask yourself the same types of questions, then you can pick up on the areas where you were weak, and improve your design and chances of success.

Every design has weak points, every design has areas that can improve, there is no such thing as a perfect design. It’s important to understand where you are weak and look critically at those areas for improvements. But the defence isn’t just about the design you’ve created, it’s about being prepared to be dropped into any organisation anywhere and being successful at producing a design for any type of customer. The design I defended was not perfect and I found a mistake just before my defence.

It’s really important to practice the design and troubleshooting scenarios as well as the design defence. You can go backwards as well as forwards during all stages of the defence process. Having your study group come up with weird and wacky realistic real life requirements, with perhaps some incomplete or inaccurate information, and some wacky yet realistic and real life architecture design troubleshooting scenario can help your chances of success. Especially with the mix of backgrounds. You need to be  more than a one trick pony to be successful at VCDX.

VCDX is not only a very deep certification but it is also a very broad enterprise architecture certification. Understanding the linkages, impacts, risks and assumptions across this broad range of things is a real challenge, especially when it’s not all technology, but people and process as well. Let alone to the depth that you are tested to during the defence. But as you’ve (existing candidates) already discovered the journey is well worth the effort.

I think the more you go through this journey the more you realise how much you don’t know as well. There is always more to learn. I think you definitely have what it takes to be successful.

This tip is also published at longwhiteclouds.com.

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