Monthly Archives: October 2014

ROI on TOGAF Certification for an IT Professional….



Most often get asked this question by experienced, very experienced and people with little experience folks on what happens to my career if you are certified in TOGAF 9.x ( version immaterial) . For that matter lets look at what is the value add from get that additional degree or title against your name that you get out of any certification or a degree.Most often you still need real world experience with it to make sense of any learning be it certifications or degrees.Some thoughts on what motivates people to look at acquiring these ….

1. Your resume looks impressive.                                                                                                           2. Potential job offers may flow for you in that direction                                                                           3. May get me a pay hike or increase or a lateral or job move.                                                             4. Gain knowledge and become a trusted authority or person and look like a seasoned IT professional who can now talk the same mumbo/jumbo and gain professional respect.                   5.Currently do not have the title of an architect / Want to move along the career as an architect and may be the certification can help                                                                                                   6.Have been entrenched deep down with a specific technology and domain and look forward to see the whole picture.

While the above are some common concerns. Lets look at the value proposition of TOGAF though not covering all aspects in its entirety.

TOGAF Elevator Pitch

TOGAF value explained in an elevator pitch can be stated as it is a methodology to manage your architecture while moving from AS IS to TO BE state. Mind you , your AS IS can be anything from that reflects your current IT landscape. You can be in anywhere on your journey towards accomplishing your mission and how do you go towards getting there all the while caring about agility and not keeping an eye on cost and accountability on your IT spend.

TOGAF helps one understand the nuances of IT transformations(digital is more cool now) and what is involved.

What does getting certified in TOGAF mean ? Industry values experience when it comes to solve complex problems out there at that the customer has. You as an architect has to step in and do the magic of having the right mix of people, process and technology to deliver what is needed to ease the end user pain point. Companies in the least value a person who has such certifications with the idea that such an exposure will help a person at least think in that direction instead of being raw with no experience except for some deep dive experience in say one particular area. It helps you have a T profile for an architect. Helps one scale from a solution architect to an enterprise architect. It helps you to look at the problem from a broader perspective of how it impacts the stakeholders in the company , outside , skills , technology and process to have them all work towards your mission /vision as a company.

A fool with a tool is still a fool – TOGAF No Exception

It is akin to a person clearing PMP need not necessarily be a good manager. As any framework it does expose people to a good set of principles while dealing with people , process and technology and the inherent value in applying them in practice. At the outset it is too general but with applying the organization context to it , it becomes meaningful. Which augurs with the sentiment that a fool with the tool is still a fool. Mere knowing the framework without knowing how it can be tailored for an organization is what makes it abstract for people not having the relevant experience in business and IT transformations. The other reason also being the maturity of the organization who tend to relate the pieces of the framework by the book in a prescriptive fashion without checking on what suits their organization context. Same with agile prescriptions where have heard people say scrum says so we do it. Not really checking on how much of it is really relevant in their particular context. Scrum purists may dismiss this as SCRUM BUT , reality is different and not necessarily by the book. Togaf does not inherently project itself as having a strong agile backdrop to it. But the principles are very much there and it is for the practitioners to present that flavor to the end audience with agility at its core.

Customer Sentiment – What do you know about my problem and context ?

As can be known from experience there can be no single silver bullet to IT transformations , each customer is a case study in itself. The larger the portfolio , the more difficult it is to straight jacket it into a group. Experience comes by walking alongside the customer apart from the knowledge at hand.They call this as Management by Walking Around ( MBWA) instead of an MBA alone.  TOGAF exposes architects to a methodology which mature organizations have used as best practice and earned value. Many of the companies in the fortune list have used it extensively and have tailored them to suit their stack and solve their individual issues.