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How to develop middle specialists: three main problems

One of the most common myths about IT is the difficulty of entering this field. But when you get there, other difficulties appear: it is unclear where to move on, how to work with imperfect processes and take on more responsibility. Dasha Izmodenova, team leader of business analysts at red_mad_robot Central Asia, talks about how to solve these difficulties.

At the company, we regularly conduct assessments for each employee. They need to formulate their goals for development according to the SMART model. But not everyone knows how to set goals correctly on their own, and it is difficult for someone to even imagine which way to move. Guilt and fear that if goals are not achieved, it will negatively affect reputation and salary often interfere. 

Before setting a goal, an employee must evaluate their skills, strengths, weaknesses, and motivation. It is also useful to go through a skills review: to do this, in r_m_r CA, we fill in the competence matrix. Based on it, you can make a development plan for the coming months.

If it is difficult for an employee to determine the immediate goals, you can hold a motivational session. Ask him to write out on stickers in Miro or any other convenient tool everything that he likes and dislikes in and out of work. At the meeting, discuss the stickers — this way you will get to know each other better and will be able to decide together where to move on. 

An example of stickers from a motivational session.

You can also offer an employee different tasks depending on their interests: write an article, speak at a webinar, or become a mentor yourself. He may feel resistance to new tasks, this is normal. Here you need to work well with motivation: some will be hooked by the prospect of a salary increase, others by the possibility of development.

Goals can change, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's okay to want something, try and change your mind. If you don't try, you'll never know if it's yours or not. So gaining experience in itself is already a significant achievement.

June learns, absorbs information and assimilates the image of ideal processes. But when he becomes a middle man, he is faced with a reality in which rarely anything is close to ideal. The conflict between expectations and reality can be frustrating. And if a person is a perfectionist, then this feeling will only get stronger. 

You can identify the problem by the following symptoms:

As a result, the employee spends a lot of effort on resistance, his productivity and motivation decrease. He may even leave the team, but the next project is likely to repeat everything.

First, just listen to the person. Discuss the situation, fix agreements, offer to share feedback and talk about problems with the retro team. The main thing here is to minimize emotions and move into a constructive direction.

When negative emotions disappear, you should not leave the situation behind and just work on. It is important to convey to the employee that there are difficulties in any project and there are no ideal conditions. Discuss with a colleague that flexibility and adaptability are very valuable. And also show similar situations from your career and highlight what experience you have gained through them.

Say that the whole team is responsible for the result and it is in the common interest to make everything go well. Turn the problem into a task, decompose it, and invite the employee to take the first step to solve it. This approach will help you take personal responsibility for what is happening and move from the position of the victim to the position of an adult.

After overcoming this crisis, it will become easier for an employee to take on new tasks, communicate with people and generally cope with difficulties.

Responsibility can be taken in different cases. For example, due to circumstances when the middle urgently needs to take over project management. And sometimes the employee himself wants more responsibility. At the same time, he often has false ideas about the role and tasks of the lead.

In all cases, it is important to transfer responsibility gradually. The approximate algorithm is as follows.

If he deftly manages his tasks, looks calm and unloaded, takes small additional tasks and completes them on time, then he has learned to be a good manager for himself. You can gradually connect other people. Feedback from the team and people from related practices, as well as a one-on-one conversation, will help you understand if an employee with basic hard skills is doing well.

It is important to highlight that the lead does not just distribute tasks to everyone. He manages processes, risks, team and quality of work, and becomes an entry point for solving problems in his practice. 

Therefore, for example, a lead cannot take on large tasks that require deep study. It is better to delegate them to an ordinary employee. Setting tasks and monitoring performance is another skill that you will have to learn in practice. You can read more about the role of the lead and its areas of responsibility in our telegram channel red_mad_product.

Help you learn new skills gradually: first connect one person and collect feedback. If everything is fine, move on. Try to avoid micromanagement and allow the employee to make mistakes, because a good lead makes decisions and is responsible for them.

If you deal with these factors, the middle specialist will be able to easily move towards the senior employee, who no longer needs to be told what to do and how to do it. Good luck!

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Спасибо за статью


Статья хорошая но целевая аудитория больше для ресурсных менеджеров. Основным навыком которая двигает профессионала вперед - умение облегчать свою работу, не за счет лени, а за счет прокачивания навыков и создания своего инструментария - кукбука. К примеру у меня есть свои собственные скрипты для быстрого создания макета нового проекта, кодогенерация для частых операция для обхода бойлерплейта. Инструменты для документации кода и тд. Я думаю это и отличает джуниор специалиста который только вышел из вышего заведения или буткемпа/курсов от уверенного мидла. Мидлам обыденные задачи при коммерческой разработке не составляют труда, мы уже умеем решать их. Больше времени занимают более глобальные решения (архитектура проекта, взаимодействие систем внутри одного ИТ решения и тд). Уверенно можно расти выходя за рамки комфортных обыденных задач. по немногу, беря на себя все более ответственные задачи. Главное не боятся ошибаться и накапливать опыт.