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Building the Plane while Flying it!
Let's face it, cloud technology is taking the world by storm; some would argue it’s been around since 2006 when Amazon launched AWS with the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service but that’s a story for another time. As an IT manager or team lead, you're likely feeling the pressure to ensure your team has the necessary cloud skills to stay ahead of the curve, especially in this current macroeconomic setting. But how do you balance the need for cloud training with the demands of everyday work? In this blog post, we'll provide you with practical tips and strategies to help you upskill your team in cloud technologies without sacrificing their productivity. Here are the high level bullet-points:
- Identifying & Prioritizing Cloud Skills
- Creating a Cloud Learning Roadmap
- Striking the Right Work and Training Balance
- Leveraging External Resources for Cloud Training
- Fostering a Culture of Continuous Cloud Learning
Identifying and Prioritizing Cloud Skills
The first step in implementing a successful cloud learning program is to identify the most crucial skills your team needs. This may include understanding various cloud platforms like Google Cloud (GCP), Azure, and AWS, mastering cloud security, or deploying cloud-based applications. By prioritizing these skills, you can create a more focused and efficient training plan that maximizes both learning and productivity. To prioritize, consider conducting a skills assessment to determine the areas where your team members may need improvement. This will help you allocate resources more effectively and ensure that your team develops the most relevant and in-demand cloud skills aligned to your organization’s business and technology initiatives and projects. Typically this can take the form of an Cloud Competency assessment of your team for the relevant Cloud skills and competencies.
Creating a Cloud Learning Roadmap
Once you've identified the essential cloud skills for your team, it's time to develop a roadmap that outlines the learning journey. A well-defined roadmap should include short-term and long-term goals with milestones to track progress. This will help your team members stay motivated and engaged while they develop their cloud expertise. As you create your roadmap, consider incorporating different learning formats, such as online courses, workshops, and on-the-job training leveraging coaching, to cater to different learning styles. Additionally, try to include a mix of technical and soft skills, as both are essential for success in the cloud domain.
Striking the Right Work and Training Balance
Finding the perfect balance between work and cloud training is crucial for maintaining productivity. Encourage your team to set aside dedicated time for learning, while also ensuring that their day-to-day responsibilities are not neglected. It’s really about maintaining consistency. This might involve adjusting workloads, offering flexible hours, or providing access to online resources that enable self-paced learning. One approach to achieving this balance is to implement a "learning hour" where team members can dedicate a specific hour each day or even once a week to focus on their cloud training. This can help create a routine and instill the importance of continuous learning within the team. For example, in my teams, I encourage them to set aside Friday (the last day of the working week) afternoon to delve into new topics e.g. Multi-Cloud and FinOps for my Cloud & DevOps teams (provided there are no deadlines!).
Leveraging External Resources for Cloud Training
Utilize external resources, such as online courses, workshops, and certifications, to support your team's growth. These resources can help fill knowledge gaps and provide hands-on experience that will benefit your team in their daily work. Additionally, external training can help your team members stay up-to-date with the latest cloud trends and best practices.
Consider partnering with industry-leading training providers to offer your team access to high-quality cloud training programs. These programs can provide your team with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles, as well as helping them gain valuable certifications that can boost their careers.
Fostering a Culture of Continuous Cloud Learning
To maintain a high level of cloud productivity, it's essential to promote a culture of continuous learning within your team. Encourage your team members to share their knowledge and experiences, and provide opportunities for them to collaborate on cloud projects. By fostering an environment where learning is valued, you'll see a boost in both cloud skills and productivity. This Harvard Business Review article provides some excellent insights on creating a culture of learning in your organization. One way to encourage continuous learning is by setting up a cloud-focused learning group or hosting regular "lunch-and-learn" sessions where team members can share their insights and experiences. This not only helps build a strong learning culture but also promotes teamwork and collaboration. It could be as simple as setting a new Slack channel, LinkedIn or WhatsApp group relevant to your team’s Cloud training.