The 60 minute “remote defence” was added as a requirement for Multi-VCDX in early 2016. This was added to protect the integrity of the Multi-VCDX certification. This post is based upon my preparation and observations for the VCDX-CMA track I defended recently. Parts of this post could also be applied to VCDX candidates that are defending for the second time remotely.
In my opinion, I think this requirement is a good evolution of the program, it further validates that the Multi-VCDX candidate actually participated in the project, authored the submission and has the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the requirements of the track blueprint.
Here is what I did to succeed in the Multi-VCDX defence (in-person):
- Do not arrive empty handed and expect the panelists to drive the discussion, that is your job.
- Prepare a short and concise presentation that covers the blueprint and use this to drive the discussion.
- Cover the blueprint rapidly and let the panelists ask their questions.
- If you feel that the panelists have asked all of their questions, use your presentation to further deep-dive into each blueprint area. Keep on talking until the timer counts down to zero. Score at every opportunity.
- Drive the conversation, explain how your design decisions met the requirements of the customer and talk about possible design alternatives.
- Drop expert-level knowledge continuously in all blueprint areas, do not wait to be asked an expert-level question.
- Maximise your time by speaking and white boarding quickly.
- If you realise that you said something that was assumed, erroneous or incorrect, feel free to backtrack and correct it, even if it was 59 minutes before.
- If you are defending remotely, make sure you have an electronic white boarding solution that works for you. Diagramming quickly and efficiently is the key to your success. Also make sure your A/V equipment and Internet connection will function correctly on the day.
- Seriously consider traveling and request a face-to-face defence if you can organise it. There is no substitute for owning the room and interacting with the panelists in person.