Why I can't talk about SFIA to my clients
If you thought ITIL's IP control was tough, try SFIA - or rather, don't try it.
[Update: maybe soon you can. See an important update in the comments below http://www.itskeptic.org/why-i-cant-talk-about-sfia-my-clients#comment-1... ]
SFIA, the Skills Framework for the Information Age, is a great body of knowledge around IT roles and their skillsets. Even better is the additional material accessible to BCS members in SFIA Plus. SFIA is owned by the BCS; it is popping up in government stuff in the UK, Australia and NZ; and there is a strong link between the activities of itsmf.co.uk and SFIA. [Update: officially SFIA is not "owned" by the BCS. It is legally owned by a separate foundation. But in practice...???]
If you want to use SFIA in your own company you can download it. But if, like me, you are a consultant advising others, you're buggered. According to SFIA
If you wish to quote a small section (say, one skill) of the framework for illustrative purposes, please use this acknowledgment:
Text from the Skills Framework for the Information Age quoted by kind permission of The SFIA Foundation: www.SFIA.org.uk.
If you wish to include larger sections, please contact us.
[to be a Partner...]
It covers the situation where the partner is using SFIA information to support the definition or delivery of a product or service, but is not actually delivering SFIA to the client. A royalty based on the value of the Partner’s sales would be inappropriate here, so the Standard Partner licence requires a licence fee of £1,000 per annum.
[or a certified Consultant...]
The three elements of accreditation are:
The non-returnable fee for assessment is £100 + VAT
ATTEND THE OFFICIAL SFIA COURSE
Those intending to be an Accredited Consultant must attend the Course “Understanding SFIA” (fee of £450 + VAT)
BE LISTED (OPTIONAL)
Those wishing to have their accredited status displayed on the SFIA web site can do so in return for an annual fee of £200 plus VAT.
[When and where?]
At 1 Castle Lane, near Victoria station, central London
This isn't just annoying, it is stupid. And petty and short-sighted. That's why a couple of times a year when I get into advising about roles, I use the European e-Competence Framework e-CF (wonder why they didn't call it the EEC?) even though it is less mature. It maps to SFIA anyway and I can use it as the theoretical framework for advice to clients without having to fly to London for the privilege of paying the BCS money for the right to talk about it. Right now the very act of mentioning SFIA to a client is to open the door to a competing consultancy to finish that conversation and get their foot in.
[Copied from comments below: If SFIA really cared that "the framework is thoroughly understood and implemented effectively" then they would not provide the framework for free to any end user who wants to go their own way without professional assistance of any sort.]
I'd love to be telling clients about SFIA and using it to frame my advice but I can't and I won't.