SFIA 8 Fully Released and LIVE

SFIA 8 Fully Released and LIVE

Following the successful SFIA 8 Beta launch on 30th June 2021 for comment, along with my colleagues on the SFIA Global Design Authority Board, we processed all the feedback and made a few additional changes ready for the full release. The feedback was extremely positive – people particularly loved the new skills and the improved readability throughout. As a result of all this hard work by the truly international team of participants, SFIA 8 is now fully released and live (as of 28th September 2021).

SFIA 8 is the latest version of the global skills and competency framework for the digital world.

 

The main points regarding the changes between SFIA 7 and SFIA 8 are in this video and described below.

  • Evolutionary rather than revolutionary – as always with new SFIA versions, to make the transition easier
  • 6 categories, same as SFIA7, but one name change – “Skills and quality” becomes “People and skills”
  • Changes to sub-categories – names and numbers
  • Moving of skills to other categories and sub-categories
  • Generic Levels of Responsibility (LoRs) still have 5 attributes or characteristics – Autonomy, Influence, Complexity, Business skills and Knowledge (slight change to the order they are presented, moving Knowledge to after Business skills
  • Some wording changes to the LoR attributes
  • Readability
    • Guidance notes added to all skills
    • Reordering skill levels on the web page and the PDF documents – now low-to-high
    • Reordering and reformatting the sentences within the skill level descriptions
    • Making it less wordy, removing or rewording all sentences of 30+ words
  • Explanation document to show behavioural elements, emphasising how SFIA covers factors such as collaboration, communication skills, creativity, decision making, delegation, execution performance, influence, leadership, learning and professional development, planning, problem solving, and other generic attributes.
  • 121 professional skills – up from 102 in SFIA7
    • We actually have 23 new skills, but there is a net increase of 19 because some existing skills have been retired / restructured / consolidated.
  • 495 skill-at-a-level elements, compared with 390 in SFIA7
  • With 5 generic Level of Responsibility attributes at each of the 7 levels, that’s another 35 elements, so 530 in total when you add the skills at each level they are defined
  • Key themes addressed:
    • Security
    • Data and analytics
    • Computational science
    • People and skills
    • DevSecOps
    • Agile / self-organising teams
    • Cloud
    • Business analysis
    • IT Service Management
    • Service design
    • Blockchain
    • Systems engineering
  • 23 new skills added
    • Vulnerability research (VURE) Conducting applied research to discover, evaluate and mitigate new or unknown security vulnerabilities and weaknesses.
    • Vulnerability assessment (VUAS) Identifying and classifying security vulnerabilities in networks, systems and applications and mitigating or eliminating their impact.
    • Threat intelligence (THIN) Developing and sharing actionable insights on current and potential security threats to the success or integrity of an organisation.
    • Personal data protection (PEDP) Implementing and operating a framework of controls and management strategies to promote compliance with personal data legislation.
    • Data engineering (DENG) Designing, building, operationalising, securing and monitoring data pipelines and data stores.
    • Data science (DATS) Applying mathematics, statistics, data mining and predictive modelling techniques to gain insights, predict behaviours and generate value from data.
    • Business intelligence (BINT) Developing, producing and delivering regular and one-off management information to provide insights and aid decision-making.
    • Machine learning (MLNG) Developing systems that learn through experience and by the use of data.
    • Systems and software life cycle engineering (SLEN) Establishing and deploying an environment for developing, continually improving, and securely operating software and systems products and services.
    • Scientific modelling (SCMO) Applying computer simulation and other forms of computation to solve real-world problems in scientific disciplines.
    • Numerical analysis (NUAN) Creating, analysing, implementing, testing and improving algorithms for numerically solving mathematical problems.
    • High-performance computing (HPCC) Using advanced computer systems and special programming techniques to solve complex computational problems.
    • Business situation analysis (BUSA) Investigating business situations to define recommendations for improvement action.
    • Feasibility assessment (FEAS) Defining, evaluating and describing business change options for financial, technical and business feasibility, and strategic alignment.
    • Workforce planning (WFPL) Estimating the demand for people and skills and planning the supply needed to meet that demand.
    • Employee experience (EEXP) Enhancing employee engagement and ways of working, empowering employees and supporting their health and wellbeing.
    • Organisational facilitation (OFCL) Supporting workgroups to implement principles and practices for effective teamwork across organisational boundaries and professional specialisms.
    • Subject formation (SUBF) Specifying, designing and developing curricula within a structured and systematic education environment.
    • Certification scheme operation (CSOP) Designing, developing and operating certification schemes, accreditations and credentials, including digital credentials or badges.
    • Service catalogue management (SCMG) Providing a source of consistent information about available services and products to customers and users.
    • Investment appraisal (INVA) Assessing the attractiveness of possible investments or projects.
    • Audit (AUDT) Delivering independent, risk-based assessments of the effectiveness of processes, the controls, and the compliance environment of an organisation.
    • Business administration (ADMN) Managing and performing administrative services and tasks to enable individuals, teams and organisations to succeed in their objectives.
  • 4 skills retired, but content not lost
    • Analytics (INAN)
      • Content refined and extended by creating 3 new skills:
        • Data science (DATS)
        • Business intelligence (BINT)
        • Machine learning (MLNG)
    • Business analysis (BUAN)
      • Content refined and extended by creating 2 new skills:
        • Business situation analysis (BUSA)
        • Feasibility assessment (FEAS)
    • Conformance review (CORE)
      • Content covered by a refreshed version of Quality assurance (QUAS) and the new Audit (AUDT) skill
    • Network planning (NTPL)
      • Content covered between Network design (NTDS) and Service level management (SLMO)
        • Network design (NTDS) has also been refreshed
  • 7 skills renamed, but with little change
    • Security administration becomes Security operations (SCAD)
    • Information content authoring becomes Content authoring (INCA)
    • Information content publishing becomes Content publishing (ICPM)
    • Systems installation/decommissioning becomes Systems installation and removal (HSIN)
    • Change management becomes Change control (CHMG)
    • Relationship management becomes Stakeholder relationship management (RLMT)
    • Information governance becomes Information management (IRMG)
  • 9 skills restructured, including some renaming
    • Enterprise IT governance (GOVN) made more generic, level 5 removed – renamed as Governance (GOVN)
    • Business risk management (BURM) made more generic – renamed as Risk management (BURM)
    • IT management (ITMG) shift the focus to technical service delivery management – renamed as Technology service management (ITMG)
    • Change implementation planning and Management (CIPM) broader scope and 2 new levels – renamed as Organisational change management (CIPM)
    • Teaching and subject formation (TEAC) some parts moved to new skill called (Subject formation SUBF) – renamed as Teaching (TEAC)
    • Business process testing (BPTS) broader scope and new levels – renamed as Acceptance testing (BPTS)
    • Data management (DATM) some parts moved to new skill called Data engineering (DENG)
    • Porting/Software configuration (PORT) shift focus to design and deployment of software configuration, particularly for (not exclusively) enterprise scale systems and large SaaS – renamed as Software configuration (PORT)
    • Resourcing (RESC) some parts moved to new skill called (Workforce planning WFPL)
  • The “overall description” for each skill is much shorter, with a new “Guidance notes” section for each skill.
  • The rest of the structure for each skill remains the same
  • Each skill contains these elements: Skill name, skill code, overall description, guidance notes, level descriptions
  • Duplication reduced, further emphasising the need to treat each skill-at-a-level as a separate component. Therefore in assessment all relevant levels of a skill should be captured rather than the outdated practice of only selecting the highest level of skill. This is the same for role profiling or any other practice of using SFIA for mapping, development planning, project resourcing etc – include all the levels of a skill that are relevant.

Additional detail is available on the SFIA Foundation website

For existing SkillsTx customers wanting to switch to SFIA 8, we have migration reports and scripts which can do most of the changes for you automatically, and highlight the areas which need a decision or some review. To discuss migration, please contact us.

For new customers – SFIA 8 is ready for you right now in SkillsTx – try it now.

Matthew Burrows