guestbloggerGraham Jones (Chair 2009-2010 Culminis Global Board)

Back in April 2008 I wrote a blog here entitled “Professionalizing the Profession”. I was inspired to write this following a presentation made by Stephen Ibaraki [blogger extraordinaire and regular contributor here] on what is happening with respect to Professional Status in the ICT sector, specifically the formation of the IP3 [International Professional Practice Partnership] and the IITP designation. Since the article was written it has been decided not to use the common IITP designation. It has been decided to use the designation IP3P which better reflects the connection to IP3. When I wrote the blog I could not possibly have imagined the response that it garnered and the ensuing “conversation”. I am told that it has been read by a large number of people around the world. What better reward could you have for the investment of a modest amount of time and as a demonstration of the power and value of blogging. It was very much a personal statement of support. As a Professional Engineer for 35 years I feel qualified in understanding the importance of professional status both to the individual and to society, and the importance of regulating a Profession.

There are a few other significant events which have come to pass since April 2008 which led me to the title of “Connecting the Personal Dots…”. On October 1st, 2008 the Microsoft sponsored IT community support organization Culminis was transitioned to an all volunteer organization from Culminis Inc. which was a registered not-for-profit company. Before I knew it I found myself as the Vice-Chair of the new Global Board of Culminis and subsequently became Chair on July 1st, 2009. Large very influential organizations such as the Canadian Deans of IT are Culminis members; one of Culminis’ primary aims will be to provide free help and services to individuals which supports progression towards Professional Status; managing technical change; connection and collaboration for shared best practices and common standards; right-kind of skills, career growth and advice to meet current and future needs to ensure measurable ROI to organizations using all technologies; enhanced training; increased job satisfaction; certification and continuing demonstrated professional development; measurable progression towards meaningful status and recognition as a professional. There is nothing more constant than change and Culminis will continue to change to best reflect its purpose and bring the maximum value to its members. The next most obvious and public change will be a new name, a name which better reflects the nature of the organization. This will be announced in the near future.

So I now have the privilege of being in communication with members of the new recently formed board of IP3. I am very excited about the prospect of working to support a “solid” Profession which can stand with pride alongside the existing recognized Professions. This is the beginning of a “journey” which will take many years to complete. Companies will take time to recognize the value and commercial advantages of having their employees attaining Professional Status and individuals will naturally question the personal value beyond where they are now, especially if they already have a number of certifications and lots of experience. Professional Status is not just another certification. It is much, much more. In time it WILL become a requirement in order to attain and realize the full potential of each individual and to grow the industry in an effective and trusted manner. Witness what has happened in Project Management and the PMP designation over the past few years. True acceptance in society of the value and contribution of the ICT sector in life today can only come about through “Professionalism”. Those who have worked very hard over the past few years to bring this about should be commended for their foresight and perseverance. They are already true “Professionals” by practice if not by designation.

Something which may not be widely known is that Microsoft and CIPS have played an important part in all of this. The full news release is available here on the IP3 website.

“Precisely because of IP3’s commitment to building the IT profession and professionalism in a vendor-neutral context, Microsoft has supported IP3’s work since 2007 and the first Chairman of IP3, British Computer Society Past-President, Charles Hughes, joined a select list of invitees to lunch with Bill Gates just before he stepped down as CEO of Microsoft.”

Please note the “vendor-neutral context” statement. Microsoft astutely recognize that ultimately IP3 is good for everyone regardless of technology alignment. For those of you who think that you know where you are going in life and what is in store for you, please take note of the above. On that fateful day in April 2008 I couldn’t remotely have foreseen where I find myself today! My expectation at that time was to largely “retire” to my woodworking shop and fulfill the “promises” that I had been making to my wife for so long. The promises are still in effect but right now I haven’t a clue when I will get to them! I am fortunate indeed to have an understanding wife who fully supports my time demanding volunteer activities and the importance that they represent! We all strive to leave some kind of lasting “legacy”. Fate has decided that this is my opportunity and I intend to make the most of it.