• Charly Prinsloo

Mock Review Post-Mortem

Mock Review? You might have seen a few tweets about mock reviews. So what is it? It is a dummy CTA Board Review test, and every bit as nerve wrecking as the real thing.

I am very fortunate that my firm supports my #JourneyToCTA, and I my amazing boss organized a full day Mock review for me which took place yesterday in Raleigh, NC. Two of Deloitte's CTAs flew out to Raleigh and by simulating the conditions of the actual review board, they put me through my paces, and it was brutal.

This wasn't my first mock review and I knew what to expect. My aim this time was to make sure my time management is accurate and my artifacts are ready for the real exam.

We started at 8:30am and I was given a full scenario in hard copy, soft copy, flip charts, 8x11 paper, markers, and locked in a room for 2 hours to solve the scenario. Two hours sound like a long time, but trust me, it goes past so quickly.

For time management, my approach was to sit down and write my headers on 8 pieces of paper:

- System landscape

- Data model

- Role Hierarchy / Actors & licenses

- SSO/Oauth

- Release management

- Governance and Risks

- Data (sizing, migration, considerations)

- Process

With my 8 empty templates ready, I started reading through the scenario and with pencil I started filling in the blank pages. Make sure you have a good eraser as a lot of the initial notes change as you continue to read through. By the time I got to the end of the scenario and I have drafted all my artifacts, I had 40 mins left on the clock.

Now I had to redraw them on the flip charts. I wanted my artifacts to be neat and presentable, using different colors and adding all the nitty gritty elements needed. This took much longer than I expected and I will need to practice this some more. Its definitely a different skill set to draw on the big pages compared to the normal letter size sheets. Also, my writing of the attributes such as ownership and standard vs custom on the data model was way to small, so I need to make sure I write BIG enough on the flip charts.

I didn't have enough time to draw my Release Management artifact on the flip chart, and I ended up drawing it on the white board while I was presenting.

At the end of the 2 hours one of the CTAs took all my papers and i had a 15 min break. This break was horrible.. I was pacing up and down in the hallway trying to remember the scenario requirements, and I made myself very nervous. Next time I am going to try not thinking of the scenario and do some meditation or something. I need to get a good control of my nerves in these 15 mins.

I was then taken into the boardroom where my artifacts were pinned on the whiteboard and the 2 judges were sitting accross from me, typing away on their laptops. Ready? Go!

It's hard to just start and I needed to have a way to kick things off without loosing time, so I decided to just introduce what I was doing: "Thank you for giving me time to take you through my proposed architectural solution for GRS..... Lets start with their existing system landscape..."

Thats was enough to start the story and I was good to dive into the artifacts.

I had 45 mins to present my solution to the judges and throughout my presentation the judges typed on their laptops and didn't look at me. It's really hard talking to people with no eye contact, no queues or signs that what you are saying are makes sense. Here I need to practice some more to be ok without the judges' affirmation of what I am presenting.

I presented for the full 45 mins, and could have used another 10 mins, so I need to work on presenting my components more succinctly - fewer words and more impact.

At the end of the 3 1/2 hours, I was exhausted. I definitely need to practice this process a few more times - its not enough to just have the knowledge, the true test is the ability to use your knowledge to solve a scenario, draw your solution with ALL aspects and present it in very little time.

#Examtips #CTA #ockReview #LadiesBeArchitects

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