Guidance For VCDX Candidates Submitting The Same Design


There is no rule that says multiple candidates cannot share a VCDX design and submit the same design for a defense.  In fact this past week we saw exactly that in the defenses at PEX.  That being said, I have some thoughts and reminders for people who are looking to share a design.  This is not “official” guidance, it’s just some suggestions and reasons why you might want to follow what I am saying to help you succeed with a shared design submission.

Keep VCDX Shared Submission Candidates to a Minimum

My suggestion to anyone reading this thinking about doing a design with multiple people and submitting is simple.  Keep the number of people working on it to a MAXIMUM OF TWO.  There is multiple reasons for this I will explain based on what I’ve seen in the past and most recently.  To be perfectly honest having more than two people allows for one or more persons to not contribute to the full design.  Let’s be honest here, isn’t it easier to ensure that two people each work equally as much on the design versus 6 people?  At some point someone is just being dragged along and I will touch on where this gets flushed out.

Too Many People = Too Many Eggs In One Basket

We all know that each submission goes through a review process before you are invited to defend.  At this stage the single shared design is evaluated on paper over a number of hours by one or more VCDX Panelists.  The design is read through and it’s determined if it meets the minimum criteria to invite the person or persons to defend.  SO what happens if multiple people submit and it’s not deemed approved to defend?  Well that’s simple, all the people who worked on it are by default not invited to defend.  So one design can lead to multiple people not even getting invited.  On the flip side, if there is only two people per design, it increases the potential number of defense invitations.

The Defense Reveals All

Let’s assume the shared design by six or seven people does pass the review and thus all six people are invited to defend.  Well Amen and Alleluia right?  Not so fast.  The panels will expect each and every candidate to know ALL aspects of the design, NOT just the section they worked on.  This is no new news, we have said this for years about people sharing a design.  This is where the rubber really meets the road.  The panel will ultimately flush out which of the six people REALLY worked on the design and which of them simply were dragged along.  It’s by no means out of the realm of possibility that two or three of the candidates using the same design do not pass the defense.

Submitting Shared VCDX Designs is Not a Bad Idea

Like everything else you have to think about what and why you might want to do this.  Having a partner in any project is helpful, but having too many cooks in the kitchen, that could be a recipe for disaster.  If you want to go down the path of working with someone on a single VCDX Design, great, but listen to what I am saying and keep the number of people working on it to a maximum of TWO.  You will find you get more out of the process personally, and you can work closely with each other to ensure you both know all aspects of the design.  You will each still need to submit separate applications but the design package will be the same.  I can tell you although this is not currently a written rule….I’m pretty passionate about the topic.

About Chris Colotti

Chris is active on the VMUG and event speaking circuit and is available for many events if you want to reach out and ask. Previously to this he spent close to a decade working for VMware as a Principal Architect. Previous to his nine plus years at VMware, Chris was a System Administrator that evolved his career into a data center architect. Chris spends a lot of time mentoring co-workers and friends on the benefits of personal growth and professional development. Chris is also amongst the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#37), and author of multiple white papers. In his spare time he helps his wife Julie run her promotional products as the accountant, book keeper, and IT Support. Chris also believes in both a healthy body and healthy mind, and has become heavily involved with fitness as a Diamond Team Beachbody Coach using P90X and other Beachbody Programs. Although Technology is his day job, Chris is passionate about fitness after losing 60 pounds himself in the last few years.


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