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What is a Skills Matrix session?

Today the Skills Matrix exercise, which aims to identify learning & development opportunities in the agile team.

How do I run a Skills Matrix exercise with my Agile team?

Collectively list all existing and desired skills within the team on one axis, and then list all team members names on the other. Try and anticipate required skills for the near future.

Next, each person ranks their competency level against each skill. It helps doing this in a visual way. Use Harvey balls or images to indicate the degree of competency (from noob to full expert). I've used images of papa, brainy and baby Smurf.

Now collectively identify and discuss any skills gaps in the team, and align these with your personal learning goals.

Image by Ronald van Geloven
Example of a Skills Matrix session I ran in Miro

What is T-Shaping?

Team members are each an expert in their particular field, but are encouraged to broaden their skills in adjacent areas. This benefits both the individual as the team, as it increases the team's ability to remove impediments.

Finally, identify 1-3 learning goals each, and commit to completing these Learning Backlog items over the coming period.

This exercise forms the basis of Individual Development Plans; it encourages people to take ownership of their career, whilst also keeping an eye on the needs of the team.

I try and run these sessions with my teams every 3-6 months.

This post first appeared here.


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