How SFIA is designed
Since its early development, SFIA has maintained a number of design principles. These have persisted throughout all versions of SFIA.
SFIA is straightforward, generic and universally applicable
- The breadth of coverage is broad and SFIA is designed to be applicable to all sectors.
SFIA is an experience-based framework based on levels of responsibility and skills
- An individual has a particular competency because they have demonstrated that they have a level of responsibility and have demonstrated a number of skills at the levels required in real-world situations. Certifications and qualifications can be aligned to SFIA, but if they only test knowledge they do not indicate experience nor a level of responsibility.
SFIA is flexible and works with all organisational structures, job or role designs
- The SFIA skills and levels can be configured flexibly to support all organisational structures. It works for individuals, small and large teams, whole departments or entire organisations with thousands of employees. It can be used to define jobs, roles, people, processes or areas of activity. In addition, the inbuilt flexibility in SFIA supports all organisational models including traditional hierarchical structures, competency centres, resource pools, agile project teams and individual tasks.
SFIA defines the essence of skills. SFIA is descriptive, not prescriptive
- It does not define low level tasks nor deliverables as these are highly context dependent.
SFIA provides an integrated view of competency
- SFIA recognises levels of responsibility, professional skills, behaviours or attributes, knowledge and qualifications and certifications. It shows how these fit together and how they complement each other.
SFIA is independent of technology and approach
- SFIA does not provide a comprehensive list of individual technologies, methods, approaches or technical knowledge – these change rapidly and can be mapped to the underlying SFIA skills and competencies which are more persistent. These attributes can relate to multiple SFIA skills and competencies, depending on how they are used. Roles and jobs needed for specific technologies and working practices such as Cloud, DevOps, Agile, Big Data and digital transformation etc. can be described using a combination of the SFIA skills.
SFIA is updated by real practitioners from the international user base
- SFIA is driven by its end users – the content reflects what industry and business want and it is not driven by any single stakeholder group.
SFIA is kept relevant through open consultation. It has been updated every few years to address the changing needs of industry and business. SFIA reflects the evolving reality of skills and competencies practiced in the real-world working environment.
The architecture and underlying design principles of SFIA have remained unchanged - this is testament to its usefulness and value. It continues to deliver what industry and business need in order to manage and develop skills and competencies.
SFIA has adopted a continuous approach to consultation in order to remain responsive to new and changing needs. This process is facilitated via the SFIA Foundation website.
In order to ensure continuity of usefulness, SFIA must reflect changing needs and perceptions of the significance of some items, and occasional changes in accepted terminology. The maintenance of SFIA is carried out with the aim of making sure that SFIA remains relevant to the needs of industry, employers and individuals. It is part of an evolution that balances stability with the need to remain up to date.
Requests to update and extend SFIA skill definitions are welcome and are a visible sign of a healthy and well-used resource.