Digital Practitioner Body of Knowledge™ Standard

A Standard of The Open Group

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The Open Group Standard
Digital Practitioner Body of Knowledge™ Standard
Document Number: C196
ISBN: 1-947754-33-1

Published by The Open Group, January 2020.
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This Document

This document is the Digital Practitioner Body of Knowledge™ Standard, a standard of The Open Group, also known as the DPBoK™ Standard. It has been developed and approved by The Open Group.

The high-level structure of the document is summarized as follows:

  • Chapter 1, Introduction includes the objectives and overview, conformance requirements, and terminology definitions

  • Chapter 2, Definitions includes the terms and definitions for this document

  • Chapter 3, Digital Transformation describes the key concept of Digital Transformation

  • Chapter 4, Principles of the DPBoK Standard describes the principles by which the document will evolve and be maintained, and how Digital Practitioner competencies will be defined

  • Chapter 5, Structure of the Body of Knowledge describes how the Body of Knowledge is structured

  • Chapter 6, The Body of Knowledge contains the Body of Knowledge, divided into four stages, called Contexts, which correspond to the stages of evolution of a digital practice. These stages are explained in the section on Context Summaries, and summarized as follows:

    Context I: Individual/Founder

    Foundational drivers of, and technical capabilities for, delivering digital value

    Context II: Team

    The critical product management, collaboration, and operational skills necessary for producing digital value

    Context III: Team of Teams

    Key capabilities for partitioning investments and ensuring coherence, alignment, and joint execution across multiple teams

    Context IV: Enduring Enterprise

    Steering, managing risk, and assuring performance at scale and over increasing time horizons and increasingly complex ecosystems

  • Appendices contains the list of abbreviations used in this document

Background and Intended Value of this Work

Applied computing, now popularly termed "digital technology", is transforming economies and societies worldwide. Digital investments are critical for modern organizations. Participating in their delivery (i.e., working to create and manage them for value) can provide prosperity for both individuals and communities. Computing programs worldwide are under pressure to produce an increasing number of qualified professionals to meet voracious workforce demand. And skill requirements have undergone a seismic shift over the past 20 years. Digital Practitioners require a wide variety of skills and competencies, including cloud architecture and operations, continuous delivery and deployment, collaboration, Agile and Lean methods, product management, and more.

Industry guidance has over the years become fragmented into many overlapping and sometimes conflicting bodies of knowledge, frameworks, and industry standards. The emergence of Agile [8] and DevOps [165] as dominant delivery forms has thrown this already fractured ecosystem of industry guidance into chaos. Organizations with longstanding commitments to existing bodies of knowledge are re-assessing those commitments. Changes in digital delivery are happening too fast for generational turnover to suffice.

Mid-career IT professionals, who still anticipate many more years in the workforce, are especially at risk. Learning the new "digital" approaches is not optional for them. But how to reconcile these new practices with the legacy "best practices" that characterized these workers' initial professional education? Now is the time to re-assess and synthesize new guidance reflecting the developing industry consensus on how digital and IT professionals should approach their responsibilities. Modern higher education is not keeping pace in these topics either. There has been too much of a gap between academic theory and classroom instruction versus the day-to-day practices of managing digital products.

The Digital Practitioner in today’s work environment thus encounters a confusing and diverse array of opinions and diverging viewpoints. This document aims to provide a foundational set of concepts for the practitioner to make sense of the landscape they find in any organization attempting to deliver digital products. It strives to put both old and new in a common context, with well-supported analysis of professional practice. Practically, it should be of value for both academic and industry training purposes.

In conclusion: this document is intended broadly for the development of the Digital Practitioner or professional. It seeks to provide guidance for both new entrants into the digital workforce as well as experienced practitioners seeking to update their understanding on how all the various themes and components of digital and IT management fit together in the new world.