Re: TechCom skills competency grid or matrix

Subject: Re: TechCom skills competency grid or matrix
From: Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 11:06:45 -0800

2011/1/24 Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>:
> Not difficult. I would meet regularly with everyone for a 1 on 1.
> Sounds like a lot of overhead, but you need to know what's happening
> with them, and not just when the project fires are blazing.


This management style is described in "Behind Closed Doors" by Johanna
Rothman and Esther Derby. While the book didn't describe skills grids,
skills matrix/matrices, or skills charts, the protagonist, a
senior-level manager, must have kept some personal scorecard to keep
his staff straight. My colleague got me hooked on Pragmatic Press
( materials. Bless his agile soul.

> Most liked having this skills inventory around...Some didn't like the fact that their
> skills are tracked...

So I take it the grids were made available for everyone to see. Did
they also know how they ranked on the grid, or were they able to build
a case with you to say that they can perform at the next level, so
they should earn the badge?

Another list member shared their department's grid with me. While it
is more descriptive than the one line-per-item spreadsheets used by
other departments in my company, I can see how it would help to
quantify a person's level of experience in relation to the
expectations for that level, and be a helpful guide for both
management and the employee.

On Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 7:43 AM, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com> wrote:
> Tony, perhaps you can clarify your question a bit. Are you looking for
> criteria to justify an increase in your own salary rather than someone who
> reports to you?


Neither, and both, actually. Our company has never had a TechCom
department, so another writer and I are it. We were asked by a senior
manager to work out a skills grid similar to the ones used in other
departments. An employee's rankings on the grid were to be reviewed
with management, and pay grades will be discussed during the annual
performance review.

Both my co-worker and I are pushing for more frequent feedback to
drive continual improvement, with the skills grid used to drive the
coaching plan rather than determine our salary. However, if we can
also prove that our level of responsibility increases as well, then I
don't see why we shouldn't be able to use the grid to leverage higher
pay rates. It's tough to speak manager and employee at the same time.

I totally agree with your other point that while a manager could
factor in the cost of replacement/training, the employee shouldn't
play that card:

On Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 9:40 AM, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com> wrote:
> As a manager I can make a case to upper management that it would be
> more expensive to replace one of my reports than to approve a salary
> increase I'm proposing. Attempting to cite that same criteria for
> one's own salary would be venturing into very hazardous territory.

2011/1/24 Milan Davidović <milan -dot- lists -at- gmail -dot- com>:
> On Sun, Jan 23, 2011 at 7:16 PM, Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca> wrote:
>> Personally, I believe that anyone, whether employee or contractor, is
>> responsible in these negotiations to report on the value of the work
>> they do and how it benefits an organization.
> Do you think that responsibility rests solely on the employee/contractor side?


Knowing how what we do impacts a company's bottom line justifies to an
employer that we are good for their business. This knowledge is
helpful when looking to retain, or obtain, a client. Objective metrics
set us apart from our competition. The tough part is gathering the
metrics that the employer values.

On Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 9:35 AM, Dana Worley (MVP/JB)
<dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com> wrote:
> I don't think a matrix of skills is useful after the hiring process. To
> evaluate job performance I take a more holistic view:
> * The employee's goals for a period and how well those goals were
> achieved
> * The number and complexity of projects completed
> * The value added to the product because of the employee's skills
> * The employee's level of responsibility and commitment
> * The level of independence in getting the job done
> * The employee's interaction with other members of the team


Your broad overview is similar to the categories the other TechCom
member forwarded to me. Thanks for providing additional support.

Why does work have to be so complicated?


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TechCom skills competency grid or matrix: From: Tony Chung
Re: TechCom skills competency grid or matrix: From: Bill Swallow
Re: TechCom skills competency grid or matrix: From: Milan Davidović
Re: TechCom skills competency grid or matrix: From: Bill Swallow

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