How SFIA changes

The process of consultation and updating is as important as the content of the framework itself.

The need for change

Organisations and individuals use SFIA because it reflects current thinking about technology-related capabilities. To maintain this the framework is updated regularly.  

SFIA is updated collaboratively through open consultation with input from organisations and people who are using SFIA or have with hands-on, practical experience of skills management in corporate and educational environments. This approach

  • sets SFIA apart from other more theoretical approaches.
  • is a key factor which has driven the adoption of SFIA by organisations and individuals in nearly 200 countries
  • made SFIA the world’s most popular framework for information and communications technology (ICT) and digital skills

SFIA stays current by a process of evolution, taking input from practitioners of many types from all over the world, all provided in the context of reflecting current practice.

Over the years SFIA has itself become very influential in how people and organisations think about skills. The SFIA Foundation will continue to listen to those working in a range of corporate, government and educational organisations.

The consultation period for SFIA7 started in July 2017.

The consultation had two parallel tracks

  1. Open consultation – facilitated by the SFIA7 development website.

  2. Focused consultation to address key industry themes.

Open consultation

The process of open, public consultation is very important to the SFIA Foundation. It is vital to the spirit of SFIA. SFIA is defined by industry practitioners to be used by industry practitioners.

From July 2017 to March 2018 we collected feedback from many users of SFIA, based on their experience.

Specifically, we requested suggested requirements for change, and asked that contributors confirmed

  • the problem or opportunity, 
  • how it affected them, and 
  • how it should be dealt with.

It is important to capture the rationale in order to fully understand the need for each proposed requirement.

Each requirement was logged, categorised and, if appropriate, grouped with similar requirements into themes.

Focused consultation

The SFIA ecosystem is now mature and well established. Opinions and feedback are regularly collected via the SFIA Council. In this way we identified a number of key industry  themes which had to be addressed by the SFIA7 project. The themes were:

  • Digital
  • Agile / DevOps
  • Big Data / Informatics
  • Software Engineering
  • Cybersecurity

By engaging with SFIA’s network of users, partners, industry, academia, government and professional bodies the project collated a diverse range of ideas on what to do to address these themes.

We analysed and assessed the suggestions and identified actions needed to improve SFIA.

  • Some actions related to the updating the core framework.
  • Others related to the supporting reference material, guidelines and ecosystem in which SFIA operates.

With agreed requirements, the SFIA Design Authority Board started to identify solution to requirements

  • The Design Authority Board is a virtual, global team of accredited and currently practicing SFIA consultants with decades of combined experience in the field of SFIA and skills management.
  • The group also engaged with subject matter experts and stakeholder representing the key themes.

SFIA describes individual professional skills – not knowledge, not jobs, not roles, not people, not processes, and not general areas of activity, however important they are. The comments received have been processed with that in mind.

All the content in SFIA has been reviewed, and many improvements have been made.

SFIA version 7 remains in its recognisable format but with clear improvement. It is offered as a resource for all, to be used in all the ways mentioned in the introductory pages of the reference guide.

Continuous consultation

The SFIA Council had recommended that the SFIA consultation process move to being a continuous approach. Previous update projects have been a focussed, resource intensive approach to deliver a new version of SFIA. It was felt the process to keep SFIA up to date and relevant could be more efficient and effective if consultation was continuous and permanently available. This project has established the foundations to move to this approach.

The change requests function will remain open and available on the SFIA website.

Change requests will be analysed and grouped

  • Pending – the request has been received but no decision has been made
  • Accepted – this will be actioned in the next release
  • Rejected – the change request has not been accepted
  • Deferred – the change request has been accepted but a solution, action or implementation date has not been finalised