In 2017, around 82% of residents in Spain over 18 years of age played a game of chance, should we consider that lottery played by members of our team is a risk factor for the project? This is what is known as the “lottery factor“: it is a concept that represents the number of members of the project, department or team that in case of touching the lottery (and no longer work) could jeopardize the future of the project.
This risk, although it seems unlikely, should make us think about the distribution of knowledge, or how we manage the lack of knowledge shared in a team. How much of indispensable is a person for the project, because only that person has some knowledge? The “lottery factor” is represented in many ways:
- With people going on vacation with the computer because nobody else knows how to do a certain operation.
Tasks stopped during the absence (due to illness) of a team member.
Other thousands of examples on how knowledge is not a shared heritage within the team.
What can we do to solve these situations and improve the management of the team members?
There is a tool that is offered from Management 3.0 that can help to better manage team members (and their knowledge): the competency matrix.
The competency matrix is a very visual and easy to use tool that will help us in the management of talent and knowledge.
The preparation work for the development of competences begins by identifying gaps both in our individual professional experience and in the experience within our team.
First, we need to identify the objectives. Then, we must work with the team to identify the necessary competencies and plan how to meet these needs successfully. Let’s start by categorizing “What are we good at?” The following positions or profiles are proposed:
- Expert: I can teach it (Green)
- Practitioner: I can do it (Yellow)
- Novice: What is this? (Red)
It is useful to create 4 matrices or separate the competences within the same matrix in these four groups: Topics or topics, Tools and technologies, Processes and practices, Soft skills.
Once the list of competences is created, we must identify in which areas we need to have competences to carry out a certain project successfully and how many categories of each one (expert, practitioner, novice) in each area.
Finally, we completed the Team Competency Matrix, identifying the potential contribution of each individual. As a result, it will allow us to identify aspects to improve or where there are deficiencies.
The creation of the Team Competency Matrix is intended to be a group activity, which allows us together with our teammates the opportunity to self-organize through an open communication of objectives and needs. It can also be done by the team leader or manager at their discretion, although in this case the team members are not aware or evaluate themselves.
It is a dynamic tool, since over time the necessary skills can change or reprioritization occurs. It also happens that over time, the team develops skills or improves those already present. These should reflect in the Team Matrix.
This tool has other very powerful uses, such as:
- To plan the necessary skills to successfully complete a project before starting it. This can also help us identify the necessary profiles, which, when compared with the competencies of the team members, will guide us to what the following actions should be: training or hiring plans.
- Create training / training plans for team members so that they can improve their skills aligned to the necessary skills for the team. In a training a student saw in this tool the element that he needed to shed transparency in the improvement plan of the team because it allows to establish an objective, the current state and an objective state.
The title could be “Bus factor” instead of “lottery factor”, since it was the original name which I knew at first this risk in project management. The “bus factor” is defined as the number of people that a bus would have to run over to endanger the company. The title has been modified, because we like much more a positive approach to the lottery factor.
Do not miss the opportunity to experiment with this tool or the benefits it can bring almost immediately!