Team Appic looking for people

Team Competency Matrix

Frederik Heins, Engineering Manager - Sep 21, 2022

How to find your next team member?

Recently, we were looking for a new team member. In order to find out what skills we were missing and to create a job posting, we used a tool called Team Competency Matrix. In short: a Team Competency Matrix shows you which skills are present and which are currently lacking in a team.

How does that work?

We did a workshop with the whole team (developers, UI/UX designer, product owner as well as our agile coach). The session was split into 2 parts. In the first part, we would gather all the skills needed in our daily work and in the second part, we would map our team’s skills to the required skills.

Step 1: Gather required skills

This was done similarly to a brainstorming session. We would use Mural as a digital whiteboard and everyone wrote down all the skills that are required during our daily work. This part was really insightful. It provided a good overview of the status quo and was also really valuable to reflect on what we are actually doing during the day.

The skills collected contained items like:

  • PHP
  • Unit / Integration Testing
  • API Design
  • Graphql
  • User Journeys
  • Splunk
  • Code Reviews
  • Frontend Tests
  • Docker

The collection was a lot bigger, so in the next step we had to group those skills as a preparation for step 2.

Step 2: Creating the Team Competency Matrix

The collected skills from part 1 were added to a google sheets table.

skill table

Everyone would self-assess how well they know a certain skill using the following criteria:

  • green (1): I can teach that
  • yellow (2): I can do that
  • red (3): no clue

skill table colored

Using that result, we could count the green team members for each skill and easily determine the required skills for our job posting. But keep in mind: some skills require more people, other skills require fewer people. In a typical development team, it’s probably fine if 1 or 2 people take care of user journeys; but there should be more people who write code.

Key learnings

Using the Team Competency Matrix was not hard and didn’t take much time. We spent like 90 minutes doing it. It was very valuable to get everyone on the same page where we were as a team and what gaps we had. We realized during the workshop that it is crucial to be very clear on what the colors (or numbers) mean. We made the mistake of switching from numbers to colors which caused confusion. I highly recommend using numbers and having the background colors adjust automatically based on the number.

Additionally, self-assessing your skills is always a good exercise in order to find areas where you want to further develop yourself and grow in your position.

In the end we were able to craft a well-matching job description for our team and actually already found our next team member!

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