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DSIA™ Practice Framework

DSIA Practice FrameworkThe DSIA Practice Framework is designed to equip organizations and individual practitioners with the means to assess and advance professional discipline.

To build professional discipline, one must first exercise a discipline of practice. Through practice we discover and learn; succeed and fail. In the end, the effective and successful behaviors we repeat over time naturally reveal discipline.

The DSIA Practice Framework originates from a presentation by Nathaniel Davis titled, The Practice of Information Architecture : It Takes a Village of Practitioners to Raise a Discipline. In the presentation it is argued that the future success of the IA field, IA organizations, and individuals rest on the efforts of many practitioners who explore various and complementing interests around the function of information architecture; all the while using a formal approach for acquiring knowledge and building discipline in a way that fosters knowledge sharing.

Formal approaches contribute to organizational efficiencies and individual performance. In a profession such as information architecture, this approach means a method of formal practice. And as the phrase goes, "practice makes perfect".

As an introduction to the DSIA Practice Framework it may be helpful to become familiar with the DSIA-formulated definition of practice. View the DSIA definition for Practice

The DSIA definition for practice encourages an actionable perspective by which discipline, for an individual or any size organization, can be cultivated and assessed.

How to Apply - Organizational Assessment
If you are a manager of information architecture and/or information architects, you can begin framing the practice of your group by exploring the Organizational Assessment column.

The goal is to be able to answer each question regarding: 1) the intentions of your IA organization, 2) the areas of interest in which your organization is developing competencies, 3) the method/s by which your IA organization is seeking contribution of its practitioners and 4) the recording and communication of such contributions, 5) the processes by which your organization reaches internal consensus amongst practitioners, and 6) how such consensus becomes part of the basis for executing information architecture within your practice.

The improvement of your organization will be based on your ability to close any gaps in these areas and ensure your staff has the structure and support to meet the requirements found in the Individual Assessment column.

The methods by which you achieve compliance against this assessment category is not the scope of this framework. See practice methodology.

How to Apply - Individual Assessment
Individual practitioners can refine their skills and provide greater value to their organization by exploring methods for closing the gaps presented by the questions in the Individual Assessment column.

As a practitioner it will be crucial that you 1) understand the goals of your organization and align your intention to that of your IA organization, 2) are active in exploring a specific area of interest that complements your core responsibility and others within your group, 3) are prepared to contribute your insights as personally vetted by you and supported with 4) documentation that can be evaluated as a way to reach 5) consensus within your organization. The goal is to cultivate your areas of interest in order that they may become part of the 6) discipline that influences the work product of your organization, and potentially your field. Not only does this behavior make you deserving of the designation of practitioner, it will position you as a valuable contributor to your organization's competency and success.

The methods by which you achieve compliance against this assessment category is not the scope of this framework. Consult with your manager and colleagues.

DSIA Practice Framework
Notice: V1.0 - This online resource represents the most current version of the DSIA Practice Framework.

Primary Attributes
of Practice
Intention Is your IA organization able to articulate its functional objective within its parent organizational business model? Do you understand the work product of your IA organization? Does your intention align with the IA organization? 
Areas of Interest Does your organization explore subject matter that fills gaps in its processes and offers value to your IA organizational model? Are you pursuing core area/s of interest? Do your interests complement others in your immediate group? Do you understand your role?

Is your organization fostering a forum for building knowledge that is in line with the strategy of the IA organization?

Have you set a goal to contribute your insights to further a collective knowledge and shared awareness within your IA organization?
Documentation Is your organization archiving and providing supportive communications around its collective discoveries? Are you allotting time to record your experiences – good or bad – in order the apply learning in the future?
Consensus Is your organization refining its insights and identifying a path whereby knowledge can become accepted as “best practice”? Are you growing in understanding? Are you testing/validating your assumptions and/or those of your peers?
Discipline Does your group focus on understanding the system and efficiency of its functional responsibility, to the business organization, in order to repeat it. Are you building upon and referring to formal systems (discipline, theory) to help guide what you do?

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About Practice Modeling  |  Next: Practice Methodology

Practice Model: Work Product

Research Overview
About Practice Modeling
DSIA™ Practice Definition
DSIA™ Practice Framework
DSIA™ Practice Methodology
• DSIA™ AOI Model - TBD

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