Wednesday, June 22, 2005

When I was working for Thea, we had no training budget. There were all kinds of things we needed training for, but couldn’t afford. Many teams within CSC have the same predicament.


Action


I recommend that we establish two things: an internal market for training and training 'clubs' at the local level.


Internal Market


The idea here is to create an internal marketplace for training where teams can request somebody within the organization to give them training, for real money much less than they would have had to pay to contract for outside help. Every team is encouraged to have a training budget, however small, and to sell their training services on the internal marketplace in order to supplement their budget.


Selling training services means having your team members speak on their areas of expertise, and getting other teams to pay to attend. The pay is merely a shifting of training budget to the team providing the training.

The application service would be something like a meetup.com with a built-in cash register. It doesn't have to be coded at first but it can evolve into an accounting and information distribution system over time.


Training Club


The idea here is to invest a small amount of time every week doing code walkthroughs or just talking through something you've written or some problem you've solved with your team mates.

The Training Club will have two Organizers, a Master and an Apprentice, with an eye to increasing their team's training budget through getting members of other teams to pay to be taught, and by splitting into two Training Clubs as the club gets larger. The actual teaching should be taken in turns so that everyone in the club gets a chance to talk about some accomplishment they are proud of or some large mistake they overcame.

The clubs will use and develop the internal market software from the start and ensure that it is used by other teams.


Benefits


  • It's scalable. It doesn't have to start company-wide to work.
  • It requires no initial training budget to start.
  • It has network effects. The more training clubs, the more efficient the internal market for training becomes and the greater the selection of classes to take.
  • It provides incentives for the team to continue the process.
  • It cross-trains people in a working knowledge of the company.
  • It gives club members practice in communicating ideas verbally.

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