Handling sub-optimal design decisions before the VCDX defense

So you’re design got accepted for a defense, that’s great! While preparing you find out there are few things you want to change, a few “holes” in the design. Maybe it’s questionable design decisions, maybe it’s just adjustments needed or maybe typos you missed. That’s OK, relax, no design is perfect and it’s OK to have second thoughts on your design decisions, just like with a customer you need to make the required adjustments and present it, right? Well, not so fast, this is after all your VCDX on the line, too many things that you will consider wrong will make it very hard for you to defend in front of the panel. In our design we had from all the goodies, sub optimal design decisions, stupid decisions and typos. So what to do? Well I got a lot of good advice from many top VCDX’s but one I got from Michael Webster aka @vcdxnz001 and Mark Achtemichuk aka @vmMarkA were right on the mark (mark on the mark, get it?). What they told me is to prepare for this with an alternate design choice but dont forget to explain your initial reasoning for the original decision. I would just add that it would be highly advised to think hard and try defending your original decisions as much as you can, you want to minimize the amount of faults in your defense, maybe you can tie it to business requirements or constraints then it might make more sense. Remember, If you rely on a constraint as a crutch you also need to be able to explain what you would have done if you hadn’t had it (words of wisdom by Joe Silvagi aka @VMPrime) . This can be approached in several ways:
1. Keep the original decision and defend it but prepare a backup slide in case you get asked about it. I would say that this is for decisions that can make sense I’m the business contaxt mostly.
2. Call out the issue before you get asked, explain why you made this decision and explain that in hindsight it should have been something else, important to note that you want to minimize the time it you spend on it in the defense otherwise you will enter that famous rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland but with out the wonder, just wasted time you can score on other things.
3. Change the decision putting less emphasis on the original decision, this is when the decision really doesn’t make sense. read more

To VCDX with a fictitious design – Part 1

This is the first post as part of my series/guide for the VCDX prep here.

During my time preparing the design for the VCDX application and preparing for the defense I found posts from other people’s experience to be very helpful. Now that I am VCDX 142 I think it is time for me to give back to the community that supported me so much during this time and share my experience.

Becoming a VCDX was always a dream of mine since the day this certification was founded, I always worked with VMware software and practically based my career on it, I had the privilege to be the first VCP in my country Israel, I was a VCI for almost a decade teaching VMware courses in Israel, Turkey and for two years in the US and achieved my VCAP certs very early on, but the VCDX always seemed so elusive and out of reach. read more