VCDX – Defending a Bad Idea

When defending VCDX is it easy to let your ego take control and force you to defend a bad idea. This post explains how to recognize that and recover from it.

List of articles in my VCDX Deep-Dive series (more than 80 posts)

Indicators that you are defending a bad idea:

  • The VCDX panel will ask questions like, “Are you sure about that?”, “Could you please explain the risks around that design decision?” and “Are you telling me that <insert bad idea> would work?”
  • You will have that sinking feeling in your stomach that you have made a big mistake, but you are stubborn and have to try and convince the panel that it was the correct path to follow.
  • You can see that the panel remains unconvinced by your arguments.
  • You feel like you have gone down a rabbit hole and have been talking for way too long.
  • You feel lost at sea and have no idea how to get home.

The good news is you can recover from this during the defense. You can backtrack and make things right:

  • Do not concern yourself that your “bad idea”/mistake was in your VCDX submission documentation. The submission is your ticket to the defense, the defense is about you and what comes out of your mouth. Think of defending your design as rewriting and correcting your submission on the fly.
  • Accept that you are not the “knower of all things” and you could be wrong. It is not the end of the world.
  • Admit your bad idea was a mistake and explain the correct course of action.
  • Explain the pros and cons of the bad idea and the pros and cons of the correct course of action.
  • Explain the risks associated with the bad idea and the risks associated with the correct course of action.
  • Demonstrate your expert level knowledge on the subject. Make it completely clear to the panel that it was a small misstep that has been corrected.
  • Even if this occurred at the start of the defense, you can raise it again before the end of the defense and address it. Just make sure your explanation is concise and to the point. Do not blather.
  • The ability to correct your course mid-stride is a demonstration of critical thinking and working under pressure.

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