Monday 8th of February I was scheduled to participate in the defend session of the VCDX panel at Las Vegas. For people not familiar with the VCDX program, the defend panel is the final part of the extensive VCDX program.
My defend session was the first session of the week, so my panel members where fresh and eager to get started. Besides the three panel members, an observer and a facilitator where also present in the room. The session consisted out of three parts;
• Design defend session (75 minutes)
• Design session (30 minutes)
• Troubleshooting session (15 minutes)
During the design defend session you are required to present your design, I used a twelve deck slide presentation and included all blueprints\Visio drawings as appendix. This helped me a lot, as I am not a native English speaker using diagrams helped me to explain the layout.
There is no time limit on the duration of the presentation, but it is wise to keep it as brief as possible. During the session, the panel will try to address a number of sections and if they cannot address these sections this can impact your score.
The design and troubleshooting session you need to show you are able to think on your feet. One of the goals is to understand your though process. Thinking out loud and using the whiteboard will help you a lot.
So how was my experience? After meeting my panel members I started to get really nervous as one of the storage guru’s within VMware was on my panel. The other two panel members have an extreme good track record inside the company as well, so basically I was being judged by an all-star panel. I thought my presentation went well, but word of advice; read your submitted documentation on a regular basis before entering the defend panel as the smallest details can be asked.
After completing the design defend pane, I was asked to step outside. After the short break the design session and troubleshooting scenarios were next. I did not solve the design and troubleshooting scenarios, but that is really not the goal of those sections.
Thinking out loud in English can be challenging for non-native English speakers, so my advice is to try to practice this as much as possible. I did a test presentation for a couple of friends and discovered some areas to focus on before doing the defend part of the program.
After completing my defend panel, I was scheduled to participate as an observer on the remaining defend panel sessions the rest of the week. After multiple sessions as an observer and receiving the news that I passed the VCDX defend panel, I participated as a panel member on a defend session. Hopefully I will be on a lot more panels in the upcoming year, because sitting on the other side of the table is so much better than standing in front of it sweating like a pig.