Participating in the ServiceNow Certified Master Architect program

If you’re a ServiceNow Architect, aim to become one, or work with Architects, this article could be useful for you!

I wanted to share with you my experience of the excellent ServiceNow Certified Master Architect (CMA) program that I’m lucky to be a part of.

Wait… What is that Certified Master Architect program?

ServiceNow has created a new “elite” program, to train and certify specialists, way above the “Implementation Specialist” level.

This is a six-month program, including 2 weeks of on-site trainings, and 4-6 hours per week of live webinars! This program is currently only offered to registered implementation partners and internal customer facing ServiceNow consultants. This program and certification is not intended for customers.

A typical participant is expected to be a veteran leader in the ServiceNow field, having successfully delivered many large, complex, global multi-product projects on the ServiceNow platform. They are required to have a special blend of technical expertise and soft skills in sales conversations and also post sales deliver domains allowing them to manage and communicate best practice advice and guidance with customers.

The curious may have a look at the CMA FAQ.

Why a new certification?

As in most domains, specialization and expertise are ranked by their difficulty and the experience required to achieve them. Graduating from High-School is easier that achieving a Doctorate. ServiceNow is aware that its current certifications range does not fully cover the expertise required for its eco-system.

The CSA/CAD/CIS tiers were useful for ServiceNow jobs like “Admin”, “Developer”, “Technical Consultant” or “Solution Consultant”, but were not covering others like “Business Analyst” or “Solution Architect”. This is why ServiceNow is working on two additional tiers: “Architect” and “Master Architect”.

There is no official information on “Architect” level certification, but I do believe it’s being prepared. In the meantime, ServiceNow has launched the final level of the pyramid, for Certified Master Architect (CMA).

Master Architect Role Description

The Master Architect will be responsible for providing the overall guidance and structure for creating and maintaining the designs for the main services of the company ensuring the required business outcomes are delivered. The position involves management of a small team of Technical Architects. All designs created by the team should align to the architecture principles of ServiceNow and should be reusable, reliable and adaptive. The role also will provide a technical gateway between the initial designs agreed in the sales conversations through to the delivery cycles with the project managers, business analysts, solution architects and developers. (see attached PDF for the full suggested job description.)

Program Pilot Year

I’m part of second session, and for the pilot year of 2019, the program implies no costs. This program has not really been announced to the public, as communication mostly went thru ServiceNow Partner Managers and Partners. I do hope this new certification will announced at Knowledge and other official events, as to raise awareness on the Master Architect qualification.

Initial Impression

It’s very exciting to meet so many talented experts! The program focuses on making us learn a bit of every domains, and essential soft skills. This is an approach I already applied as a strategy for my own professional development, so I’m fully enjoying the program!

How is the CMA certification exam?

The Board review will be the culmination of the program. It’s made up of a case study that candidates will be given on the day to review and prepare for an hour presentation to be delivered to a panel role playing customer representatives. The outcome of the board reviews will determine whether or not the student has passed.
Candidates turn up at the allotted time to a global ServiceNow location, they are given the customer use case and instructions. They have 120 minutes to review the case study (7–10 pages) and prepare a design either on Flipcharts and/or a PowerPoint presentation.

Candidates are given 30 minutes to present and defend their solution in front of a panel of ServiceNow experts. Candidates will also have 30 minutes of Q&A with the panel. Should the presentation last only 20 minutes, then the Q&A will extend to fill the complete 60 minutes.

Questions can occur during the presentation. Candidates are be scored on: Platform Capabilities Knowledge, Integration Knowledge, Domain Knowledge, Effective Presentation Skills, Understanding Customer Outcomes.

I want to participate! How can I register?

There is about 25 participants per sessions.
Don’t overlook the minimal requirement:

  • 5 (five) current certifications must be held at the time of application submission:
    • Certified System Administrator
    • Certified Application Developer
    • CIS – IT Service Management
    • + 2 other CIS certifications (e.g. HR, Discovery, etc.)
  • Evidence of involvement as an architect or technical lead in at least 6 large/global ServiceNow projects or programs
  • ITIL Foundations Certified
  • 5+ years of significant ServiceNow and consulting experience
  • Experience of presenting to large  audiences

Applications for the next cohort, focusing on the Asia/Pacific/Japan area, open 18 November 2019. The applications are open for about 2 weeks.
Pricing for this program is yet to be finalized. It’s currently free and will become chargeable in 2020. Travel and accommodation to the on-site events will be the responsibility of the candidate or candidate organization.
The plan is to run three cohorts a year one in each region: APJ (February 2020), Americas (June 2020) and EMEA (September 2020).
Have a look at the CMA FAQ page for the latest information.

What are the expected commitments?

Estimated time commitment will be 6-8 hours per week, including group work and self-study.
Candidates are required to attend all in-person cohort group activities located at a ServiceNow office either in America, Europe or Australia.
Candidates will produce and deliver original content including whitepapers, blogs, webinars, and videos.
Be aware that there are heavy requirements for the Certification Maintenance (Maintaining required certifications, Demonstrate ServiceNow Thought Leadership, Ongoing Professional Development, Project and Customer Delivery Maintenance cycle is over two years, and certifications will be reviewed at the end of each cycle. If the maintenance points, as defined in the Maintenance Program document have been gained, the candidate will be re-certified as a CMA for another 2 years.

The current cohort at the end of the first on-site event in Amsterdam.

Coaching Loops

Possibly the most underrated, poorly documented, yet incredibly useful ServiceNow plugin!

If you are looking for a way to improve the learning speed of new hires, train whole groups to learn new process or simply make fulfillers better at their jobs, you’ll be interested by the Coaching loops functionality.

When you want to improve a team of fulfillers, you can put satisfaction surveys in place, have yearly training events or do some coaching during the yearly performance review.  Those very common methods, may not the most efficient tool to use. Let me explain why… Continue reading “Coaching Loops”

ServiceNow Online Training Alternatives on Udemy

Last year, I found a few ServiceNow online trainings on Udemy. Some of them are now on sale for the first time since I spotted them.

Those courses are usually priced 100$ each, but until the 11th of January they are heavily discounted at 11$ each for the New Year Sale.

I will probably review some them in much more details, but in the meantime, you may want to grab a copy for you, or recommend them to someone else, while they are on such discount.

ServiceNow 101: Administration
ServiceNow 201: Development
ServiceNow Administration (Latest Version – Nov 17)
Service Portal in ServiceNow – Kingston
ServiceNow IT Operations Management

Continue reading “ServiceNow Online Training Alternatives on Udemy”

Exam Review: Certified Implementation Specialist – ITSM

I want to share my experience about passing the brand new ServiceNow Certified Implementation Specialist – IT Service Management (CIS-ITSM) exam in late November 2017.

In 2013, I passed the previous ServiceNow Certified Implementation Specialist (CIS) exam. It was a difficult certification, and many had to take the five day training boot camp to prepare for it. I choose not to follow that expansive path, but that required me to study some of less common ServiceNow features that I was not familiar with.

Last month, this certification was deprecated as too generic, and replaced by six specialized certifications: Service Mapping, Financial Management, HR, Customer Service Management, “Security Operation – Vulnerability Response” and IT Service Management (ITSM).

ServiceNow consider that CIS-ITSM is the closest certification to the deprecated CIS. This article focusses the new ITSM exam from the perspective of a previous generic CIS holder. Continue reading “Exam Review: Certified Implementation Specialist – ITSM”

JavaScript learning path: From Zero to Hero

When I started as a ServiceNow admin, in 2011, I did not have any experience with JavaScript. I had to learn the basic, fast, and I choose to continue to progress along the way. I consider that continuous improvement is especially important to be applied to oneself.

I did a previous article on the learning path to become “ServiceNow Certified Implementation Specialist”, but this time I’ll focus on building your JavaScript development skills, via a selection of free or inexpensive courses available online. I’m in no way affiliated to any content linked here. I only want to share the amazing study materials that I found in the past years.

Knowing that 94.7% of all web sites use JavaScript should be a great incentive to learn more on the subject.

Continue reading “JavaScript learning path: From Zero to Hero”

Great UX Trick: Field decorations with 295 hidden icons

ServiceNow contains a hidden treasure of almost 300 icons than can be used to convey better visual distinctiveness to your users’ bookmarks, service portals and system info messages. This distinctiveness can be used to ensure that your contextual messages receive more attention and to facilitate navigation in your instance. Continue reading “Great UX Trick: Field decorations with 295 hidden icons”

Great UX Trick: 250 hidden icons to use with bookmarks

ServiceNow contains a hidden treasure of almost 300 icons than can be used to convey better visual distinctiveness to your users’ bookmarks, service portals and system info messages. This distinctiveness can be used to ensure that your contextual messages receive more attention and to facilitate navigation in your instance.

Those icons are dingbats characters grouped in a special web font included in your instance, and can be applied in your html content via CSS classes, applied to the italic or emphasis tag. Example: <i class=”icon-name”>i>.  This web font was compiled by ServiceNow, using the open source Grunt-Webfont project. As of June 2017, the version included in Jakarta is called retina_icons_2017_1_17.woff and contains 295 distinct icons.

You can access a nice preview with all the characters included in the web font via a hidden URL that is available in any instances, even HIhttps://YOUR_INSTANCE.service-now.com/styles/retina_icons/retina_icons.html

Continue reading “Great UX Trick: 250 hidden icons to use with bookmarks”

Great UX Trick: HTML Placeholders

As a software platform, ServiceNow has a great and modern GUI that works with any web browser. Yet there is one glaring missing UI feature from modern HTML: HTML Placeholders. Let me present you my ninj’admin trick to implement them in your instance.

What are HTML Placeholders?

Placeholders are the ghost texts present in many web sites’ input fields. They are an old trick, introduced with the HTML5 standard in mid 2011.
The most common usage is with Search input fields.

As soon as you type something in the box, the placeholder text will disappear, to be replaced by your own input. Used in the Service Catalog, or in your Forms, they can add useful information without being obnoxious for the users.

Continue reading “Great UX Trick: HTML Placeholders”

Istanbul automated testing

One of the most exciting feature of the ServiceNow Istanbul release, is the new Automated Testing Framework (ATF).

Why so excited over automated testing?

  • Custom test frameworks are very expensive to implement.
  • Most customers only do manual tests.
  • Every time customers upgrade their instance, weeks of works are needed to test against regressions. The time spent bug-fixing is often tiny compared to the large amount of time spent on manual testing. Anything that has automated tests will consume almost no resource at all and will benefit of better reliability.
  • Because of this resource burden many customers don’t upgrade their instance as often as they could. Instead of having a steady process of continuous improvements, they focus all their resources over testing and ignore new functionalities that could benefit their processes and users.
  • ITIL best practices recommend continuous improvements. Yet, customers don’t like to implement changes, or experiments with new features, because it is too heavy on costly resources when not automated.
  • Major UI changes tend to break documentation made for testers, or break tests implemented in custom test frameworks, like Selenium. Istanbul’s automated tests are UI agnostic.
  • We now have a free, out-of-the-box, automated test framework specialized for ServiceNow.

Continue reading “Istanbul automated testing”

When ServiceNow Express have better UI than the Enterprise version

I suppose you have heard of the Express version of ServiceNow. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the young little brother of the Enterprise version: ITSM focused, no JavaScript allowed, almost no plugins, and mono instance. Amongst its advantages: it cost a quarter of the price of its bigger sibling, it’s very robust because you can’t implement dirty customizations without JavaScript, and a few elements of the User Interface are way more intuitive.

In this article, I’ll focus on those interface improvements, and show how to implement the same contextual feedbacks in your Enterprise instance.

Continue reading “When ServiceNow Express have better UI than the Enterprise version”