In our Management 3.0 Trainings we usually introduce the Team Competency Matrix. This visual tool helps teams and organizations to understand the competences available in an organization and identify the gaps to what is needed. It is a simple matrix, in which we show on one axis the needed competencies. The other axis makes the members in the team visible. First we identify what level we need for which competencies (e.g. Apprentice, Journeyman, Master). Then the team chooses the appropriate level of competency for themselves. After having identified needs and availability, it becomes straightforward to see the gap. Managers and Leaders can decide to hire new people or train your existing staff.
Recently in an organization we work with, we have realized, how powerful and visible the Matrix can be. As a software product company, the organization was looking for ways to create more diverse teams to foster innovation. So, instead for functional separation, they invited every function needed into the room and created a mission/goal for the team. Then, they created the Matrix first for the Software Engineering team to gain more experience on the matter. Within 24 hours, they had a clear picture of available competencies within the whole department of 23 persons. This broadened the view of the individual on their teammates.
At first, the team believed that one engineer was a great coder in one technology. With the competency matrix they learned that this person is also pretty good at Scrum. This would support the shortage of Scrum Masters in all the teams. As we already learned in our earlier post: making things visible is key. And this is not different: It is easy to say, that one might be a Master in a certain competence. It might be easy for a Leader to follow up on individual competence levels. But the bigger the team the more complex and difficult that might become.
The next step for the organization is now to get the Matrix filled also with the Non-Engineering Roles and matches them to the needs of the individual teams. One of the biggest challenges is, that the teams might not yet have the correct granularity of the competencies. However, as time progresses and as more used the organization becomes with the tool, the better they become on identifying the right level of granularity for their competencies.