What is the Right Mix of Skills? 🍰

Aug 06, 2021 7:05 pm

Hi there,

Today I woke up thinking about skill liquidity. Seriously, I'm weird. Before I get into that and how you can use it, I thought I'd let you know that I spent some time this week collecting all the podcasts and recorded conferences that I've done. I've placed links to them on a new part of my website where you can get to them and download various guides and checklists that I've made in the past year or two.

Check it out!

On to skill liquidity! I learned about this from my friend Cat Swetel and started using it in a way she hadn't quite expected. You see, organizations spend a lot of time thinking about which teams people should be on. Highly engaged managers have a good sense of the members' strengths and weaknesses, but they don't have that with a new person. So people wind up on teams where they perceive the need.

What I do is slightly different, boring, but very effective. I build a spreadsheet and I list every type of skill or knowledge we desire for our team to succeed. Sometimes I split this into technical vs non-technical, but things like "Coherent Emails" might show up.


Now, everyone ranks themselves for every single skill. Sometimes I do this as a group exercise, and sometimes I don't. The rating scale goes something like this:

  • 0 - Never heard of it before
  • 1 - I can do it, but I'll probably need help
  • 2 - I can do it
  • 3 - I can do it and can teach it

This isn't meant to be super granular so this typically is enough of a rating to get the job done. You'd be amazed how many times orgs bring new tech to a team and the whole team is a 0 on it.

With just this info we know now where we can focus skill growth, training, or other resources to round out our team. We can use this to a better place or shuffle teams when needed and place a new team member based on a skill gap.

But wait, there's more! I also, at times work with leaders to fill another version of this sheet with a minimum required skill for everything. Once we have this, we can identify risk in skill gaps and alter our hiring to match. My personal favorite bit of this is when leaders recognize that they've created a team of technical prowess but nobody is there who can communicate and engage stakeholders.

So that is a quick bit on skill liquidity. It's a pretty easy way to get analytical to the skills you have available and provides insight into where to put your own resources to grow them.

If you have questions, just email me!

Here's my weekly update for August 6th, 2021...

πŸŽ₯ Dont Start Work Start Teams - Lean Agile KC 2019


Click here to read more

πŸ—’οΈ When Flow-State is Dangerous


Flow-state is a zen-like experience for developers where code seems to produce itself with low effort.

As much of a joy as this experience is, there are hidden dangers to this flow-state, so let’s explore them.

Click here to read more


Ryan Latta