Employee development plan

I was recently participating in managers workshop at my current company Mash. One of the learnings was about employee development plans. Please find below the key points that in my opinion should be always considered when crating development plans.

Not everyone needs a development plan

Many employees may feel good at they current position. It is not always appropriate to push for more. People may want to specialize at their current role and may be doing a great job in this role. Managers should not be pushing for “next” levels. Especially if it requires to change focus to other things. Not everyone who is a great engineer would be a great team leader or great designer. Adding new responsibilities may affect ability to continue the great work that given person is currently doing.

There are moments in career that people may actually want to change something and this is a proper moment to have a development plan which would support employee in reaching next personal goals. But it most cases it is far more important for employee to be able to fully engage in the current role. Development plans should be not a replacement for that.

Where the development happens?

If everything is working well in our workplace, here is where learning happens:

  • 70% of the learning comes from everyday tasks
  • 20% from colleagues (peers or mentors/leaders)
  • 10% from external sources like formal training, conferences or books – that are  great ways to get some initial knowledge but what makes an expert is practice and solving real problems, not reading articles.

This division should be also considered when designing development plan. Employee may spend many days at conferences but if everyday work is not giving opportunities to develop and use that knowledge – then development activities are far from being effective.

Who needs a development plan?

When preparing development plans, first think about poor performers. They may need extra attention to help them reaching expectations. Employees may perform below expectations because they did not have enough internal training and knowledge sharing to be able to carry on assigned tasks. If all the necessary knowledge sharing was done and there is still no improvement, then employee improvement plan should be discussed instead of development plan.

Also remember about your “rocks stars”. They usually also need extra attention to make sure that they have enough challenges to grow even bigger.

The most important is to listen to your team members to know what they really need. Development plans should be an outcome of real needs and expectations. As all other things in teamwork – it should not be based on assumptions.

DNA – week one

What is DNA?

DNA comes from Polish name “Droga Nowoczesnego Architekta” – it means: “The road of modern architect”. English abbreviation would be “TROMA”. This one of very little examples where Polish is simpler than English 😉

This is a 19-weeks course crated by 3 experienced architects who are also trainers. They are supported by popular blogger Maciej Aniserowicz who is the publisher of the course. He made the program well known thanks to the broad IT audience in Poland following his devstyle.pl blog and social media channels.

Course is dedicated to senior software developers and architects. The goal is to propagate modern patterns in software development. Presented theory is backed up by cases from real-life. It is meant to be the “killing feature” of the course. In addition to that there are also practical exercises after each week. The idea is  that participants get not only theory but also examples from real life and exercises to practice.

Visit droga.dev to learn more about DNA.

First impressions

I was following more ore less what was published by DNA mentors as “teasers” in recent weeks before full program became available. I was prepared to expect good content and I was not disappointed. The content is solid and also the way of presenting it is fully professional.

Good content was not a surprise for me after buying access to the course. I believed that those guys will do great stuff. I knew what I am buying. When you go to good restaurant you expect to get good food, no excitement here. But there was one thing that was a bonus that I was not expecting to be so meaningful: the community.

Joining DNA community on Slack was pure fresh excitement. This is a closed group for all course members. Joining this group was like joining tens of new teams in different companies in one day. People share and discuss how they approach various topics in their projects. This is great, tons of information and different points of view! You can read about an useful tool, online resource or interesting approach to specific problem. I expect that the value of content generated by the community may exceed the value of the course content itself as the time goes. Of course it’s Slack so no structure is present here and it will be impossible to find anything after couple of weeks 😉 But among all possible distractions you can have turned on, this Slack community is the beneficial one and can really broaden your mind

Eye opener #1

I like to search for analogies between constructions and software industry. In general there is a lot of analogy, but one of them seemed harmful to me: software developer is a creative role whereas constructions developer most often is doing a repetitive job based on detailed project. DNA explained that discrepancy – software developer should not be treated as construction worker but as constructor.

Developers write code which is a kind of design. In software the role of worker is taken by compiler and build pipeline. Having code written, we can then start many instances of running program created almost automatically. How beautiful it would be if we had “compilers” for building construction projects that would automatically execute design documents to create a real building?

Disclaimer to all construction workers who read that: if you don’t have specs from architect/designer/constructor, then you are also a creative worker creating something out of nothing 🙂

Looking forward for more eye openers when continuing with the course 🙂