The two key people in getting a group of people certified are the Influential Leader and the Worker Bee. We know, because the current Associate Director for Certification at INCOSE started off as a Worker Bee. As one of the first people at her company to get certified, her Influential Leader (who went on to become an INCOSE President) drafted her to help her colleagues get certified.
The Worker Bee is often one of the first SEPs within their organization. While they are applying for certification, they are a benchmark to see if other employees like them will likely qualify and they are gathering information on how to make the process efficient for those who follow them. Like a prototype or an early test site, the first few SEPs within a company will likely do some things inefficiently. They may study more than necessary, or give too little detail on their application form. After they get certified, the Worker Bee will be in a good position to share a presentation with colleagues, explaining the process to them and giving their personal advice. The Worker Bee may also share their completed application form and other materials they used to study. They are not allowed to talk about the content of the exam questions, but they are welcome to talk about the exam questions’ format and logistics.
The Influential Leader declares to an organization that INCOSE certification matters. This person provides organizational support in the form of funding of prep courses, certification fees, or labor for Worker Bees. The Influential Leader may also encourage recognition of SEPs in career development plans. They may sign a Memorandum of Agreement with INCOSE, which reduces the number of references required for CSEP applicants from the organization. They may form an internal committee (led by the Worker Bee) to review applications before they are submitted and encourage a shared drive to store certification applications, PDU logs, and exam study materials.
In getting your team certified, figure out if you are more of an Influential Leader or the Worker Bee, then find the person to fill the other role. It may be someone from outside of Systems Engineering. Reach out to INCOSE’s AscD-Certification with further questions or for best practices.