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How Do We Establish Skills Development in the Team?
Or “How do we facilitate a skills bingo session?”
Or “How do we develop t-shaped people on the Team?”
Skills Bingo is a visual tool that helps you to clearly see the skills and competencies of individuals within a Team. It’s a tool for Team skills management (although similar approach can be applied to all levels of an organization). The primary goal of Team skills management is to offer support for understanding, developing, utilizing, and tracking skills on a Team so as to:
- Improve the flow of value through the Team:
- At a personal level, continuously learn new skills
- At an organizational level, encourage an organization that continuously learns.
- Understand the current skills and experience within your team or organization
- Identify skill gaps, where your team is lacking skills and experience
- Find high-risk areas where you are relying on a single person to complete critical tasks
- Plan the way forward when trying to introduce new skills or approaches to your team; and restructure your team to improve its effectiveness
Skills in Demand
Demand for certain skills plays a key part in helping identify potential skillset bottleneck. Before conducting Skills Bingo, the upcoming work (such as Epics and Features) should be briefly analyzed to capture a rough idea of what skills will be needed. To capture demand, proper engagement of technology as well as product professionals is required (e.g. all Team members, Product Owner and Manager, Architect, senior software developer).
How Do We Initially Run a Skills Bingo Session?
It is a good idea to have first captured a skills demand profile, as this should inform where skills need to develop (see above).
- White Board with a table drawn on it (manual or use tape). This is the template to capture the results - see below
- Columns will contain first name of team members at the top
- Rows will contain knowledge required for the team to deliver work (observe proper balance of the granularity of skills)
- Print skills bingo legend and make it visible - see below
- Get enough dry erase markers, stickies or whatever you'll be using to capture information
- Use color code for skill level vs interest level
If you are doing this session virtually, then you will need to set up something equivalent to capture the results. The basic discussion should not be too different.
Template to capture results:
Legend for skill level:
- The Team brainstorms the list of skills and fill up the lines with a name for each skill
- One or two people at a time should fill up the matrix based on current skill level and interest level (refer to legend)
- Facilitator to highlight skills that contain the least number of knowledgeable people
- Facilitator to conduct discussion on next steps:
- What skills will be in demand based on the upcoming work?
- What are the most critical skills gap in the team?
- How can we ensure people are given opportunities to develop that skill (hands on work, training, pairing, etc.)