There was a conversation on Twitter that came up today regarding your VCDX submission, and changes to the design between submission and defense. I have some personal opinions on this I wanted to write down instead of dealing with it on Twitter. Alexander Thoma had a spot on point about this.
— Alexander (@vcdx026) April 13, 2015
Your VCDX Design Submission
The first thing to remember is that your design was accepted for defense based on the submission you provided. That being said the first thing to remember is that what you submitted was already deemed to have merit for a defense. That’s a GOOD thing! It’s been reviewed by multiple people over a great many hours. They are familiar with what you have submitted and have prepared their questions based on what they have read. Therefore, changes will cause time to explain, but that might be okay if you handle them right.
Tweaks in your VCDX Design vs Major Changes
One thing you absolutely cannot do is show up to defend on a completely different or drastically different design than what was submitted. This would be like two sides of a court case where one submitted new evidence without allowing the other time to review it. It will result in some very unpleasant conversations and most likely a wasted trip on your part. That being said I have some personal ideas on how you should handle MINOR tweaks you may have found during preparation. Remember, your design WAS accepted based on the merit of what was submitted.
One idea I would suggest is to highlight the changes and areas in your slide deck presentation. be transparent about where you identified areas that you felt were incorrect, or you wanted to address. Be PROACTIVE about the tweaks you felt you needed to make and explain why. They may or may not even be relevant to the questions the panel has already prepared. The worst thing to do is do just roll along and when a question comes up simply say “Oh I changed that in the design”. No you did not as far as the panel is concerned, remember what they are looking at is what you submitted. You cannot hand them updated documents on defense day.
Simply put, just be smart about it, be transparent and proactive if you think the changes are noteworthy. My design was two years old be the time I defended it and you can bet I walked in on the offensive already talking about areas I would discuss that would have been done differently “today”. That did not however change the fact they were done that way based on customer requirements, and the technology available at the time.
Thoughts or other ideas? Does this make sense? Just keep it simple.