In order for our engineering team to excel we must always commit to ongoing learning. This is something we have believed wholeheartedly since we started Procept over 14 years ago. Typically this has taken the form of regular, external training. However, what we didn’t realise was how valuable internal knowledge sharing sessions would become in improving the way we work and deliver products with our customers. Though we’ve only been doing it for a relatively short time, it has quickly become one of our biggest assets within Procept, and forms a central part of our culture
Given the benefits we’ve seen we thought it only right to practice what we preach and share some of these.
Here are 5 benefits of internal knowledge sharing for your engineering team:
1. Helps build confidence
Presenting in front of other people can feel uncomfortable, but the nature of internal sessions means it’s a risk-free way to get used to communicating ideas to groups of people. Given the personal nature of the topics, passion and excitement comes out in spades which directly transfers to the team who are listening. The confidence to share and discuss ideas has improved as a result of this.
2. Diversity closes the skill gap
We have a broad range of ages and experience levels in the team. The sessions have allowed more experienced engineers to share useful shortcuts that seem like second nature to them. It has also allowed our younger engineers to contribute fresh ideas and perspectives with those more experienced. This combination has proved powerful in improving efficiency in the team, which is a great outcome for the product and customer.
3. Knowledge sharing beats knowledge hoarding every time.
Internal knowledge sessions lead to openness. As engineers, it feels great to get into the zone and solve a problem by yourself, whether this is in hardware or software. Through an increase of knowledge sharing a culture has emerged that means it’s ok to collaborate early and admit you might not have the answer straightaway. Talking to other team members has resulted in quicker problem solving, and a shared sense of achievement in uncovering an answer.
4. Better decision making
The nature of product development means we have to be comfortable with change. Change requires decisions and decisions require good information, especially relevant to engineering when a technical decision can impact the very success of a product. Internal knowledge sharing has enabled quicker and more effective decision-making, with engineers able to make decisions more confidently and comfortably after discussing with a fellow engineer and the wider product team.
5. Creates a tighter nit team, and a better working culture.
Through the acceptance of the “ask your neighbour” attitude, a tighter knit team has emerged. A more relaxed and open environment allows for breadth of ideas and discussion to flow, often triggering new ways to overcome an engineering challenge. As humans we have an inherent need to feel part of a group, and this spirit of working has provided that. Out of all the benefits we’ve seen from internal knowledge sharing this has been number one. It results in a happy team, doing great work which in turn results in a great product.
Our knowledge sharing system is still evolving, and will take time to perfect. However, we have already seen some substantial benefits.
If you have tips on how you are using internal knowledge sharing to your companies benefit or have implemented new practices after reading this post we’d love to hear them.