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Basic Lessons From COBIT Foundation Training

By Erik van Eeden

COBIT Focus | 26 November 2018

The COBIT 5 Foundation course helps students prepare for a multiple-choice exam. However, the answer options offered on the exam are not the only choices the learner should be making. Students who want to maximize the value they receive from the training have an array of decisions they must make about how to study and how to apply what they learn. This article outlines just a few of the decisions COBIT 5 Foundation students can make to maximize the value of their current knowledge and any new learning, both for individual professional development and to bring value to the organization. It is about choices.

A. The Foundation Course Covers the Basics

Many students enthusiastically enter the COBIT 5 Foundation training classroom ready to learn everything about COBIT 5. The foundation training focuses on the basics. Some discussions may arise that go into more depth than the foundation content, but students should keep in mind that the foundation training is not the end of the COBIT training life cycle. It is a great place to start to develop your COBIT knowledge. The follow-up training courses—COBIT 5 Implementation and COBIT 5 Assessor—go further.

B. Main Message Is Critical Basis

Students who do not understand the main message of COBIT 5 will have a hard time understanding the framework’s details. The main message of COBIT 5 is covered in the first portion of the course, yet I have had students who spend those first critical hours answering work emails (although they have been politely asked not to). These same students then have questions at the end of the course about the content they failed to heed at the beginning: “Why governance?” “How does COBIT fit in?” Without that knowledge base, it is hard to maximize the value of the training and, more importantly, the framework itself. The answers in the main COBIT message explain it all.

C. Do Not Focus on Your Organization

Students of COBIT 5 who focus only on improving governance at their organization are welcome to maintain that focus. But students who wish to pass the exam and get the most out of the course must let go of how governance is done in their organization and focus instead on the ideal road map to governance that COBIT 5 provides. To fully understand this road map, one needs to be open to it rather than focused on the individual circumstance of an organization. After completing the course and passing the exam, students can apply what they have learned to the realities of their organization to improve its governance.

D. Make Arrangements to Practice What You Learn

When students return to work after training, it can be difficult to find the time to implement the skills and knowledge they have learned while managing their day-to-day tasks. One way to combat this and ensure that both the student and his or her organization get the most from the new-found governance knowledge is to discuss the plan for transferring knowledge and ideas gained from the training even before the COBIT 5 Foundation training starts. Then, when the student returns, he or she can move more quickly to implementing newly acquired knowledge and tools to benefit the organization. COBIT 5’s Goals Cascade is a valuable first step.

E. Start With the Goals Cascade

The COBIT goals cascade has proven very useful for all types of organizations. The first step—getting a grip on the stakeholders—is difficult, but then the translation into business goals can be regularly adjusted. When that is understood, the translation into IT-related and enabler goals, with control objectives, is done. The overarching goal is to report from the bottom to the top again so all levels in the organization know what is going on. The continuous chain of starting with stakeholders and adjusting the business-oriented goals and control objectives can now be done successfully. When this mechanism is understood by user groups, the understanding of the IT role improves.

Erik van Eeden

Is an accredited COBIT 5 trainer who stepped into COBIT when COBIT 5 arrived. He consults and trains COBIT users in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. As a member of the ISACA Netherlands Chapter board, he supports the use of COBIT among chapter members and the world. Accredited by APMG, he trains all COBIT levels: Foundation, Assessor and Implementation.