When creating a training plan for a newly outsourced development team, many people, unfortunately, forget about one simple idea: what the client’s business does. It’s easy to get lost in the specifics of particular resources and intricate processes, but new team members will greatly benefit from gaining a thorough understanding of the client’s actual business.
Gaining a 360-degree perspective and understanding of the client’s industry can be critical to the long-term success of the project. It can mean the difference between correctly interpreting requirements and blindly shooting in the dark. Clearly, performance is always enhanced when developers have a view of the bigger picture.
The training plan should educate team members about the client’s mission, values, markets served, and their basic organizational structure. Knowing this valuable information can help inform team members about how they should design, develop, and eventually maintain new applications. It is also helpful to understand the organizational structure so that if the team member needs to ask for help or clarification, they know where to find assistance moving forward.
When designing technical training plans, the client and consultant initially need to decide whether they will be bringing on generalists or specialists for the team. Knowing whether the team members are specialists will dictate how the training should be formatted and what kinds of expectations should be set.
For example, if most (or all) of the developers on a given team will be required to do full-stack development, it is better to have a team of generalists to accomplish all of the desired tasks. The team members will still need training in areas like the latest release of various frameworks or tools like AngularJS.
Conversely, if the team is organized with specialists in mind, like a group of front-end and back-end developers, then the training plan developer should tailor a training curriculum for each discipline. Training a database developer will require a different curriculum than training a mobile developer. Training plans are definitely a situation in which one size does not fit all.
Another important consideration for team training plans is the proposed team leader. The team leader will need to understand all of the technologies used across the team. With that knowledge, they will be better positioned to support various team members as challenges arise during the project.
However, the team leader is not the only important position. The product manager, business analyst, and QA analyst may require specialized training plans to ensure that everyone is knowledgeable enough to carry out their own responsibilities while also assisting others on the team.
A final consideration would be to ensure that all of the team’s resources are cloud literate. Team members should have a basic knowledge of how the client’s cloud functions, which services are included in the application architecture, and which services are available. Knowing these simple things help speed up development and ensure things run efficiently.
At EPIC, we use a training platform called Pluralsight for the majority of our self-directed training needs. We also employ instructors when needed. Instructors are often useful when there is a new technology or set of tools to introduce to the team.
We place a heightened emphasis on team training plans, as they can be a direct indicator of a team’s efficiency and overall success. When it comes to planning, it’s team training plans for the win!