In summary it means we went through an audit of our processes and were deemed to be excellent enough. The CoE is something I thoroughly approve of and it concentrates on setting up a healthy and professional environment to write software.
How did we do it?
We filled out the audit questionnaire and then had an audit (call NI for more info). In the audit we talked through our process against each question in the audit. As a small company some areas were not applicable, in those cases we just need to demonstrate how our practices were robust for the type of business we are.
Why do it?
Go back 2 or 3 years I did a presentation at NIWeek called the SSDC Way.
In it I suggested that us integrators have something in our arsenal other than just being syntax generators for money. Our actual skill is in delivery of projects and this is a valuable skill. To monetise this we need to define it.
With a process defined you are on your way to being CoE ready. Luckily our design process is already ISO9001 accredited, so we're no strangers to being audited.
From an SSDC business perspective it is a nice thing to have. But, from a DSH Workshops perspective it's very exciting and that's why our buddies Hampel Software Engineering have become the first German CoE too. Read Joergs article about it here.
With DSH Workshops we are aiming to offer the highest level of mentoring by serious programmers. Our model is to have multiple mentors in each workshop so when you take a DSH Workshop you will be in a room with people with decades of experience. These mentors apply solid working practices and they know how to communicate them. The joy of having multiple mentors in a room is that we all work slightly differently, this brings nuance and reduces dogma, all things I like!
So come talk to Fab, Joerg or me.
I'd like to thank Nancy and Pete for all their help and encouragement