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The Open Group Standards Process

4. The Certification Development Process

The Open Group provides Certification Programs for people, products, and services that meet The Open Group Standards.

The Open Group performs the role of Certification Authority (CA) for Certification Programs for all Standards of The Open Group.

For Product and Services Certification, The Open Group produces standards that reflect practical market requirements. The programs provide a warranty of conformance for products, services, and business practices to these standards.

For People Certification, The Open Group provides a globally recognized, credible, and portable validation of knowledge, skills, and expertise.

This section describes the procedures to be followed when developing a Certification Program.

It includes the Core Processes applicable to all Certification Programs, together with supporting descriptions of the deliverables.


4.1 Core Processes

The Core Processes run from approval to commence development of a Certification Program through to operation of the program. The Open Group Executive Management approval is required in order to commence development. The high-level development process is shown in the following diagram:

Human Actors


4.1.1 Develop Certification Materials

A number of documents are required to be developed to support a Certification Program. These typically include a Certification Policy, Conformance Materials, and Legal Agreements. The exact deliverables depend on the program type, whether it is a Product Certification or a People Certification Program.

Further information is provided in Section 4.2.

4.1.2 Company Review

The review process for certification materials is the Company Review Process.

See Section 3.2.2 of the Standards Process.

For certification materials, the review period will normally be two (2) weeks, except for a new Certification Policy where it will be four (4) weeks. Where a Certification Policy is a derivative of an existing Certification Policy, the review will be two (2) weeks.

4.1.3 Approve Certification Materials

The approval process for certification materials is the same as for The Open Group Standards and includes approval by The Open Group Governing Board.

See Section 3.2.3 of the Standards Process.

4.1.4 Publish Certification Materials

The Publication Process for certification materials is the same as for The Open Group Standards and involves a review by The Open Group Executive Management. Publication is often held to coincide with the program launch.

See the Section 3.2.4 of the Standards Process.

4.1.5 Launch Certification Program

The launch of a Certification Program is the responsibility of The Open Group Certification Manager.

The launch plan will be developed by The Open Group Certification Manager in collaboration with the relevant parties, such as the sponsoring Forum or Work Group.

The launch plan is subject to approval by The Open Group Executive Management.

4.1.6 Operate Certification Program

Once launched, responsibility for day-to-day operations is passed to the Certification Operations team within The Open Group. Certification Register/Directory

When an application for certification has been successfully processed, details of the product, individual, or service, as appropriate, are added to the relevant Certification Register for the Certification Program. For People Certification Programs the register is sometimes referred to as a Directory.

4.2 Deliverables

The key deliverables for a Certification Program are:

4.2.1 Certification Policy

The Certification Policy describes the way in which a Certification Program will operate. An approved Certification Policy becomes the framework for all future steps.

The Open Group Certification Manager is responsible for the development of the Certification Policy. The development of the Certification Policy affects all constituencies within The Open Group and must include consultation with any relevant Forum and Work Group.

It is at the discretion of The Open Group Executive Management whether a full Certification Policy document is developed. For additions to an existing Certification Program which are significantly different to the current program or for any where a new or amended legal agreement is required, an agreed Certification Policy builds consensus at an early stage in the development process.

Where an approved Certification Policy exists, review of all subsequent documents is restricted to the correct implementation of the approved policy.

The Certification Policy for a functional area should normally define the following information:

4.2.2 Conformance Materials

In order to support the introduction of a new Certification Program the following conformance materials are required: Program Configuration

The Program Configuration document defines key parameters of the Certification Program and allows for the details to be abstracted from the policy documents. Typical contents include: Conformance Requirements

The Conformance Requirements represent the normative definition to which a product, service, or person must conform in order to qualify to carry the certification mark. The contents depend on whether it is a Product Certification or People Certification Program.

The development of the Conformance Requirements is the responsibility of The Open Group Certification Manager.

For Product Certification, the Conformance Requirements should include:

For People Certification, the Conformance Requirements should include: Conformance Statement Questionnaire(s)

In some programs a simplified Conformance Statement Questionnaire (CSQ) is used known as a Conformance Declaration. In such cases these are created by the Certification Authority and are not subject to Company Review.

CSQs are pro-forma documents used by trademark licensees to define exactly how their product relates to the standard for certification, especially in places where the standard and/or referenced standard(s) contain optionality or flexibility.

The development of CSQs is the responsibility of The Open Group Certification Manager. CSQs are subject to consensus approval using the established Company Review Process.

In general these are only used for Product and Services Certification. Indicators of Compliance

Where a desirable Indicator of Compliance for a Certification Program is a test suite (for Product Certification), examination (for People Certification), or assessment (for Credentials), The Open Group Certification Manager will establish an appropriate project for its development, subject to a satisfactory business case.

The development of an Indicator of Compliance is the responsibility of The Open Group Certification Manager. It is recommended that acceptance criteria for general availability of a test suite or an examination and its acceptance as an Indicator of Compliance for certification be developed prior to start of development.

4.2.3 Other Materials

Certain other materials must be developed as part of the certification process. These may include:

These materials are not themselves subject to any consensus process.

4.2.4 Legal Agreements

The Open Group Legal Counsel is responsible for the development of new legal agreements or updating of existing agreements.

Note: The majority of new programs use standard templates for the TMLA and other legal agreements, or are an extension to an existing TMLA or other legal agreement.

The Company Review Process is only required in the case of a non-standard template being used. In this case the balloting members of the Review Group are the nominated representatives of members of The Open Group Governing Board.

Last updated: October 2018