Zan’s Weekly Challenge 8/17/15: Develop Your “T-Shaped” Skillset

It’s time once again for “Zan’s Weekly Challenge”! Each week, I will pose a challenge to help spur your thoughts, strengthen your skills or open your mind to new possibilities on your Agile journey.  I welcome you to post your feedback on this challenge as a comment on the blog, send me a tweet @zandterman, or any other way you see fit.

This week’s challenge: “Develop your ‘T-Shaped’ Skillset”

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a “T-Shaped” skillset, the idea here is that, while we all have our specialties and areas of expertise, we also have a diverse set of skills outside of that element which will make us into well rounded individuals. The area in which you are an expert forms the vertical portion of the ‘T’, while the supporting skills forms the top. For example, a Front End Developer’s skills will focus heavily on CSS, HTML, scripting and the like, they also have other supporting skills in Mid-tier and Back End development, and possibly design or testing as well.


This week, make a concerted effort to expand a skill outside of your comfort zone, or area of expertise. Some tips:

  • Don’t expect to get there on your own. Find your local expert and pick his/her brain a little. Also, be prepared to reciprocate. Teaching your skills is the best way to check your own level of understanding.
  • Don’t feel the need to become an expert.  If you’re not doing something all the time, a cursory understanding will give you the ability to assist the true expert.
  • A little learning goes a long way, but acknowledge your limits as well.  If Steven Hawking gives you a few lessons on physics, don’t expect to challenge Neil DeGrasse Tyson to a debate and win. There is always more to learn, and others to learn from.

Good luck with this challenge. Please let me know your results, what you think of this challenge, and if you have any ideas for future Zan’s Weekly Challenges!


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