Technology / IT organisations need to be agile and responsive to changing demands.

Professional profiles provide a different way of approaching job descriptions. They offer time and cost savings in production and maintenance. More importantly they support strategic resourcing and talent management for your technology / IT workforce. They enable an agile and responsive organisation to meet changing workforce requirements.

What’s wrong with the way we do Technology / IT Job Descriptions?

Paul Taylor notes that traditional approaches to job descriptions act as an organisational straitjacket to flexibility and innovation.

Jon Husband warns of the dangers of over-prescriptive approaches e.g.

  •  The ‘one true’ organizational design model for successful performance
  • Fixed competency models, job descriptions, developmental learning and management models
  • The ‘perfect’ CV and resume
  • Recipes’ for change management and digital / organizational transformation

Professional profiles are the most efficient way to support job descriptions

Saving you time and money

  1. Quick to produce with minimal update and maintenance costs
  2. Reduces the number and complexity of existing job descriptions
  3. Enables the implementation of HR / HCM / Talent management systems
  4. Simplifies job evaluation and reward processes. Support job classification systems for reward and compensation.
  5. Reduces workload and support the introduction of global reward mechanisms for your Technology / IT workforce


Professional profiles are a key enabler for Technology / IT talent management

Improving individual and organisational performance

  1. Clarifies technology career path & career development by aligning to an industry / external view of technology professions.
  2. Drives learning & development, professional development, networking and professional communities of practice
  3. Helps employers attract and retain talent.
  4. Powers recruitment. Makes recruitment more efficient and effective. Balances recruitment for immediate vacancies with acquiring talent with long term value / potential for the organisation
  5. Leads talent management and talent reviews by simplifying options and opportunities
  6. Simplifies talent assessment – what skills do you have and what skills do you need
  7. Simplifies the development of L&D catalogues and the use of competency and skills frameworks.
  8. Supports salary and reward bench-marking. Provide fair and equitable reward structures for your technology / IT workforce.


Professional profiles enable Organisational alignment and transparency

Improve organisation design and resourcing

Provide organisational alignment and transparency

  1. Makes it easy to compare jobs in your organisation no matter what their specialisation. Provides a consistent approach to jobs and titles.
  2. Improves the quality of organisation design and Technology Target Operating Model initiatives
  3. Provides transparency across technology functions, locations and markets
  4. Enables short, medium and long term resource planning. Improves ability to see resourcing gluts and shortfalls and to identify ways to balance and optimise resources
  5. Highlights skills gaps. Enables analysis and provides more options to close skills gaps
  6. Adds value to simplistic spreadsheet, numbers based resource planning
  7. Supports performance management and high performance through the introduction of comparable, fair objectives
  8. Works with all HCM / HRIS systems and SaaS

Organisational flexibility

Remove the strait jacket of rigid job descriptions

  1. Allows and facilitates your organization structures to flex and change without little or no need to update job descriptions
  2. Reduces the number and complexity of existing job descriptions
  3. Flexibility / agility to change organisation, team structures to respond to external/internal market demands

When to use professional profiles?

  1. Undertaking a transformation which impacts their technology / digital work force. e.g. digital transformation
  2. Introducing a new / revised target operating model (TOM) and organisation design
  3. Needing a more flexible workforce to support organisational agility. e.g. if working in a fast moving market or an organisation embarking on a multi-year, multi phase organisational development plan
  4. Global / multi-national organisations looking to move to a global, consistent approach to managing the Technology / IT workforce
  5. Introducing improvements to the way you manage your people. Attracting, developing and retaining people with the skills you need.
  6. Driving professional standards improving organisational capability – up-skilling, cross-skilling to meet changing demands.
  7. Operating in fast changing / growing environment. When you need to achieve the benefits of structure / maturity but without limiting innovation and creativity.
  8. Introducing a project / assignment based working and resourcing approach
  9. Implementing professional communities of practice to improve engagement, innovation and develop new capabilities
  10. Implementing an HRIS / HCM systems for a Technology / IT workforce



Benefits for managers

  • I’m better able to understand and manage expectations for my direct reports, even when they work in different locations
  • When I have a vacancy, I have clearly defined criteria to help get the job posted quickly
  • I’m equipped to have informed discussions with my direct reports about future professional development and career opportunities.
  • I’m confident that my people are being treated fairly
  • I can answer my direct reports’ questions about how pay decisions are made consistently and fairly

Benefits for individuals

  • I’m treated fairly and consistently
  • I can see opportunities within and across job functions
  • It helps my personal growth and helps me manage my career. It provides transparent, defined career options and a foundation for a clear career framework
  • It provides for fair and equitable rewards for employees and organization.
  • It gives me confidence that my employer is a great place to work and invests in their people
  • My employer understands the external environment for my chosen profession. My development, my roles and career are bench-marked with the external market for jobs.
  • Although our environment is fast changing – I can still plan my career and development with some certainty

Using a career or job family framework

Career families or job families are a key component for organisations adopting professional profiles.

  • Career families or job families are a key component for organisations adopting professional profiles.
  • Career families are not silos and they are not organizational structures. Career families are groupings of roles / jobs with similar skills and knowledge requirements. Keeping them separate from structures means that the organisation design can change with impacting roles profiles or career families.
  • They will be recognizable to the external job market and will usually align with the Technology / IT industry professional qualifications.
  • Within each career family there will be around 3-4 roles and / or levels of professional capability.
  • 9 example career families are shown here
  • The number and make up of career families is dependent on the organisation design and its Target Operating Model
  • The career families should be forward looking i.e. based on your organisation’s strategic direction rather than on existing job titles and organisational structures.
  • SFIA provides the ideal framework to describe the professional skills associated with each career family
  • SFIA provides a quick way to link the career families with industry standards

Business analysis family

 Typical SFIA skills

  • Business analysis
  • Requirements definition and management
  • Business modelling
  • Business process improvement
  • User experience analysis
  • User experience  design
  • User experience  evaluation

Quality Assurance and Testing family

 Typical SFIA skills

  • Testing
  • Quality assurance
  • Quality standards
  • Quality management
  • Conformance review

Information Security family

Typical SFIA Skills

  • Information Assurance
  • Security administration
  • Information Security
  • Conformance review
  • Business risk management
  • Digital forensics
  • Penetration testing

Planning & PMO family

Typical SFIA Skills

  • Portfolio, programme and project support
  • Portfolio management
  • Methods and tools
  • Quality assurance
  • Resourcing
  • IT strategy and planning
  • IT Governance

Project management family

Typical SFIA Skills

  • Project management
  • Relationship management
  • Benefits management
  • Contract management
  • Systems development management

Business partner / Demand management family

Typical SFIA Skills

  • Relationship management
  • Innovation
  • Consultancy
  • Business process improvement
  • Portfolio management
  • Change implementation planning and management

Learning and development (L&D) family

Typical SFIA Skills

  • Learning and development management
  • Learning and development assessment
  • Learning design and development
  • Contract management
  • Professional development

Architecture and Design family

Typical SFIA Skills

  • Enterprise and business architecture
  • Information systems coordination
  • Solution architecture
  • Systems design
  • Emerging technology monitoring
  • Innovation
  • Requirements definition and management
  • Technical specialism

Software engineering / development family

Typical SFIA Skills

  • Programming / software development
  • Methods and tools
  • Systems design
  • Data analysis
  • Systems integration

Professional profile – case study examples

 The use of generic professional profiles within a job family framework has been adopted by many forward thinking Technology / IT organizations.

The principle has a track record of success with a range of organisations: large, global, small and local.

It can work for you as well.

Large Financial Services Organisation - IT Transformation

  • 1500 staff into c 40 roles in 7 professions
  • Longevity through numerous organisational change including significant outsourcing and incremental re-strcutures
  • Support for flexible organisation
  • Support for consultation and selection processes for down sizing
  • Support for internal professional communities, career development, industry standard skills frameworks

DHL - Transforming Technology careers and learning

  • 3200 global staff. 500 customised job descriptions and job titles reduced to 75in 11 career families.
  • Developed SFIA skills development guides using the 70:20:10 model to provide all round learning.
  • Simplified the career development framework and options, reduce complexity and inconsistency in how jbd descriptions were written, written by different authors and created every time there was a vacancy.
  • Moved PDP from being training based to being skills development based.
  • Moving from a culture of ‘training’ to a culture of ‘development’ – while reducing direct investment in training
  • Examples of generic to specific job title matching.

Global manufacturing organisation

  • Rationalised 80+ disparate individual position descriptions into 30 roles in 8 technology career families.
  • Development of skills dictionary, standard global roles, baseline for transformation and performance improvement

Global FMCG organisation - IT Transformation

  • Grouped 300 different jobs into 30 generic roles in 9 career families. 2700 staff in 80 countries
  • Greater transparency  into job content and required capabilities
  • Current longevity through 3 organisational structure changes
  • Enabler OD and IT leadership teams to bench mark performance and relative team size and composition
  • Developing L&D catalogues
  • Support for job sizing and evaluation, simplified process and greater organisational consistency,
  • Retention of job titles for external, business card, email purposes
  • Enabling recruitment consistency and efficiency

Innovative Technology organization in Motor Sports

  • 30 people into 6 standard roles
  • Introduction of industry standard skills framework
  • Focus on performance and alignment of business, technology and individual objectives
  • Clarity on career steps and job titles to attract, retain and develop talent