COE: Structure, Roles, and Responsibilities

COE Structure, Roles, & Responsibilities

A COE’s structure evolves overtime; regardless of where you are in your COE journey, be sure that you have the critical roles and skills in place to be highly effective. If qualified resources are limited early on, Pega experts can help get your team enabled.

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A COE is not a “one size fits all” model, and each organization needs to create a structure that will work for them. There are some scenarios in which a single COE will not meet all of an organization’s needs. When there are very distinct objectives by line of business or by geography, we often find that what works well is a central, corporate level COE that supports several individual COEs.

Early in the lifecycle, when maturity is lower, most of our clients begin with the centralized model and a cross functional team that supports all lines of business.


  • Owns core frameworks and components
  • Creates and maintains policies and standards
  • Maintains globally shared asset repository
  • Facilitates DCO / prototypes
  • Provides expert services to business solution centers and project teams

In the Federated model, each business line has its own COE

  • Individual COEs maintain knowledge of assets and processes
  • Owns specific business process framework
  • Provides particular business knowledge
  • Manages program rollout
  • Coordinates with project teams

Roles and responsibilities will vary depending on your COE structure and budget, but you will generally have resources that fall into one of the following four categories: COE Leadership, COE Core Team, COE Extended Team, and Project Team(s). Funding a large COE might not be feasible to start; you can form a small core team to begin with and can grow in tandem with the organization’s investment and the COE’s perceived value.

  • COE Leadership consists of the Chairman, IT Executive Sponsor(s), Business Executive Sponsor(s), an Enterprise Architect, Process Champion(s), and COE Manager. The Leadership team provides the executive support and governance to project teams. Because both are represented in leadership, IT and Business work as partners in project delivery.

  • The COE Core Team is comprised of the COE Manager, LSA, LBA, SA(s), and Enterprise Architect. This team handles demand and intake from project teams. They are tasked with standardizing the delivery process and performing the value-add services of the COE. They own and improve best practices and methodology, enable project team members, deliver R&D projects, and participate in program/project governance.

  • A COE Extended Team is made up of a multitude of roles that are often part time, depending on the size and maturity of the COE. They are the Test Lead, Infrastructure Lead, DBA Lead, Release Engineer, Performance Lead, Governance Manager, Enablement Lead, and Security Liaison. The Extended team develops Pega Platform and application experience and knowledge in their individual domains to support Pega projects. They provide feedback to the Core Team on ways they can improve delivery.

  • Project Team(s) consist of your delivery leadership and resources, the Project Manager, System Architect(s), Business Architect(s), SMEs, and QA. Some of these may be staffed by a Pega or a Delivery Partner. Project Team(s) manage and drive the project on the ground. They are responsible for the day to day deliverables and scope and delivery project outcomes according to the best practices and methodology determined by the COE.


COE Benchmark Results (Part 3)

Pega’s philosophy is that customer enablement and co-production yield the best results. We advocate this philosophy in the staffing of project teams and in the staffing of COEs. We believe that customers are best served if they enable, develop, and staff COE roles. Many organizations will wish to create a COE prior to the availability of trained, experienced staff. In this case, we recommend a Pega-facilitated COE model, where Pega will staff one or more of the critical roles until the customer is self-sufficient. Typically, in this model, Pega will staff the Business Lead and the Architectural Lead roles until a customer is ready and able to provide these resources. The customer would staff the Business Analyst and System Architect roles. In many cases, customers will also utilize certified partners to staff the System Architect roles.

A typical customer Line of Business COE will evolve from a Pega-facilitated COE to a Pega-supported COE, where a certified Pegasystems Lead System Architect is an integral part of the customer COE, providing leading technical expertise and support, as well as a connection to “Pega Central.” This includes:

  • Access to the Pegasystems Expert Design Clinic – a live bi-weekly clinic staffed by Pegasystems’ experts who answer technical and design questions and provide guidance to Pega architects globally.
  • Direct access to the Pegasystems Situation Management Team, a cross-functional team of expert diagnostic and situation managers who are deployed to help stalled or troubled projects
  • Access to white papers and artifacts of the Pega Implementation Methodology, design best practices, project management, and testing
  • Advanced technical information and support, including technical notes and developer notes not directly accessible to customers

Which COE Model Fits You?

Which COE Model Fits You?

VIDEO: Hear what our benchmark survey results say about COE structures.

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