The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

#25 Currency to be addressed change request accepted

The issue of currency needs to be addressed

From Australian Public Sector SFIA Forum:

Probably Guidance - rather than Framework

Consider providing guidance around currency.  This fits into both guidance for individuals and also with regard to establisghing skills.

Current status of this request: accepted

Evaluating this request

To be included in SFIA ssessment guidelines.

What we decided

Needed to provide guidance for skills assessment 

What we changed

No changes to the core SFIA framework content.

Ian Seward (General Manager)
Sep 06, 2017 03:57 PM

Probably best to add high-level guidance on currency to the reference guide, add a while paper to provide further discussion and finally to consider it in other SFIA related products.

SFIA Updates Manager
Sep 25, 2017 08:51 AM

So this change request is asking for guidance on how recently an individual must have "used a skill" in order to be considered to "have the skill"?

Is this solely about guidance on how to assess skills (we have that planned already) - or can we think of additional use cases which need to address the issues of "currency".

BTW There was a discussion on LinkedIn User group a while ago which asked some questions about whether this was dependent on the skill e.g. for more technical, hand on skills then the skills could decay quicker than for some of the more management/process type skills.

Andy Thomson
Nov 09, 2017 02:11 PM

I agree that guidance on this may be useful. SFIA helps to benchmark the skills that characterise a role, as distinct from a separate "Person specification", which helps when recruiting, to select someone with relevant background and experience. Currency is a matter for the person specification.

If a role is to install software (e.g., HSIN or SYSP), then the hands on skills must be current and as expressed in the SFIA Level 3 or 4 description. However, if a role "takes responsibility for installation projects, providing effective team leadership, ..." (HSIN 5), then such a role may benefit from the role-holder having the technical experience but they need not be "current", as described at Level 3.

But do they need to have recent/current experience of team leading, as described at level 5? That is not relevant to the role-skills profile but a matter to be decided when the need arises to recruit.

This question relates to another SFIA conundrum, which is: Are skill-levels cumulative? Does a role requiring Level 5 skills, also automatically require Level 3 skills? From the example above: no. The Level 3 skill moves from being an attribute of the role to being an attribute of the person.
I don't see skill levels as cumulative, in respect of a given role; the levels are describing different skills. If a manager finds themselves "doing" more than "managing", it's often because they are covering for their team, due to resourcing issues. The process of role-skills profiling highlights the issue and may provide leverage for either increased headcount or a review of responsibilities.

Ian Seward
Nov 09, 2017 02:46 PM

I think this is the interesting part of consultation ... is this a change to a skill, the words in the reference guide or the wider guidance on how to make effective use of the framework. This may challenge 'well established views' about the framework and lead to clarification or refinement.

I take the view that since this issue is asked then we should have a position or explanation for it - whether it goes in the Reference Guide or not is a question of scope of that document but we should still have a position (somewhere).

There are at least two points being discussed here:

Firstly - currency with regard to assessment of skills:

At what point do I no longer have a skill that I previously had? When has it rusted to a point where with a bit of polish I can not bring it back to as good as new condition?

Secondly - does Level N include Level N-1?:

I also agree with Andy's point regarding the cumulative nature of levels or not. Essentially does Level N include Level N-1? We need a position on this because I believe it is a bit more complex - it is not universal that Skill at LN includes Skill at LN-1 but could be true sometimes. For instance a skill at L3 almost certainly includes a skill at L2 and at L1; but I agree that this does not hold true at the higher levels (including down to the lowest levels) - so where does it stop?

The issue of current resourcing models also affects this. Managing an outsourced supplier is not just supplier management (SORC & ITCM), they may need the management level skills (L5 or possibly L6) of the skill provided and not the 'operational' levels (1,2,3,4).

John Godsell
Nov 20, 2017 12:43 PM

Very interesting. Looking at Generic skills I would say that the level of experience is not lost over time unless one retires or perhaps downlevel as far as work is concerned. I would also say that one progresses up the levels and therefore "accumulates" the levels below.

Looking at individual skills the key here is to understand what the role requires to DO the role. So If one is a level 5 programmer then this does include the levels below. However if one is responsible for programmers then the skill will not be included in the core elements for doing the role. It is important when looking at which skills are required for doing a role to distinguish ( put to the side) the CARBs ( Contributes to, Aware of, Responsible for and Building Block and the skills needed to perform the role. By all means include the defined CARBs as reference but not as part of doing the role.

Elsewhere there is reference to NOT including words like leading a team in a skill description. I agree with this and should remove some confusion.