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COE Operating Model

Updated on November 22, 2019

A COE can exist in many shapes. Most organizations will iterate through COE operating models based on their level of maturity.

In the beginning, when maturity is lower, most organizations begin with the centralized operating model and a cross functional team that supports all business units. This cross functional team centrally manages key assets, frameworks, services, and tools.  In many cases, a single COE may be able to meet the needs of the enterprise.

Once maturity is gained, the cross functional team delegates responsibilities to the business units through a federated model. If there are very distinct needs that vary by business unit or geography, we have found establishing a federated model with a central COE supports several business unit COEs


Centralized operating model

A centralized operating model enables the COE to be the single point of contact for governance, enablement, technical standards, and delivery process for Pega projects, as well as the source on Pega technology for the enterprise.  Therefore, the COE becomes the cornerstone that supports Pega projects and provides the foundational elements to the enterprise.  It is built around the core facets of business value, team enablement, technical quality, and enterprise reuse. 

The centralized operating model ensures organizations are implementing Pega correctly and establishing a solid foundation. As a result, the COE provides delivery support for project teams, and integrates with existing enterprise entities and processes to assist with vendor procurement, project intake/management, project methodology, process improvement, and IT architecture/design. 


Federated Operating Model  

As the COE matures, scalability is paramount as there is an increased demand across the enterprise for Pega projects. The federated model supports scalability by shifting the focus from defining and launching a COE to operationalizing a COE. This shift changes the COE role from command and control to enabler of project success. As such, the COE delegates capabilities to business unit COEs. These include:

  • Maintains knowledge of corporate assets and processes
  • Owns business process specific framework
  • Provides specific business knowledge
  • Manages specific programs and rollout
  • Coordinates with project teams

Yet, the COE retains the following capabilities:   

  • Owns core frameworks and components
  • Creates and maintains policies, standards, and best practices
  • Maintains the global shared asset repository
  • Facilitates JCD and DCO
  • Provides expert services to project teams and enterprise

Consequently, a federated model allows organizations to specialize its COE services and increase the efficiency and accountability of its business units.  This supports scalability and delivery success of Pega projects across the enterprise.   



A guiding principle of a COE is to value people over process and tools – great people will make process and tools work, not the other way around. Consequently, it is important to define COE roles and responsibilities and identify the right individuals to fill and execute them.


The COE requires three types of roles: leadership, core team, and extended team. Each of these roles are further subdivided into positions. The number of positions filled are based on the COE maturity.  The below displays a recommended progression of Leadership, Core Team, and Extended Team positions. 


For each COE role, there is a series of responsibilities.  See the below grid for an overview of the responsibilities and time commitment.

These responsibilities will likely evolve as organizations refine their business strategy and mature in their understanding of Pega technology, standards, and best practices.  Consequently, the COE has the duty to update these responsibilities based on emerging enterprise and business needs.

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