One of the key tasks of an engineering manager is to identify capacity building opportunities. My Team Capacity Matrix for Capacity Building planning can help you:
- Know what skills are strongest in the team
- Highlight capacities that need improvement
- Identify members of the team that can lead training sessions
- Identify members of the team that need handholding
The Team Capacity Matrix
How to create a Team Capacity Matrix?
- Start by writing a list of your team members in column A.
- Next, add your required hard and soft skills and the areas of your product as headers.
- Now you’re set and ready to start adding your data!
How to rate a team’s skills
I like to use a 0-4 scale to rate the skills within the team:
0 - No knowledge 1 - Knows a bit, but needs hand holding 2 - Has enough knowledge to work independently 3 - Could help people in levels 0 or 1 to get started 4 - Could lead or train a team in this skill
The most complex part of the process is probably deciding which score to assign to each person in your team. There are different options to achieve this:
- Ask your team members to go to the spreadsheet and add the capacity they believe they have. Transparency and assessment work well in some team cultures, so if you are lucky to be part of this kind of team, this is your way to go.
- Give each team member a list of the skills and ask them to self-evaluate. Then, transfer their scores to your global sheet for the analysis.
- You can conduct a test that helps you define indicators for the different areas based on objective answers.
- Last you can fill your own subjective perception of the team’s capacities if you can’t afford to spend a lot of time in this exercise. Even if you are in a rush, though, I’d advice making 30m to get a peer review on your scores. You’ll be surprised of the hidden skills this helps you identify.
Present the results (not necessarily the spreadsheet, this depends on your team culture), highlighting the skills that are strongest in your team first.
Next, move on to list the skills that need more improvements, and mention team members that are doing specially well in these areas and that can be able to help.
Last, after the presentation, spend some time talking with the members of the team that need more handholding to listen to their perceived needs for capacity building. This will help you go back to the drawing board to list, prioritize and plan your capacity building.
I recommend working in quarters and trying to get as many people in the team as possible involved in the planning as well as attending. You can get bonus points if you manage to make your capacity building sessions:
- Open to anyone
- Recorded, so that can be consumed later / in The Future
- As self-organized as possible
- A Ceremony for your team