Engaging Training Sessions

Hervé Roussel

Senior Engineering Manager at Indeed



"In the past, I always thought it was good to train people technically and in regards to soft skills, and to give them a chance to see new technologies. However, I didn't see much impact from the training sessions, and it was often inefficient and not very engaging. People were dreading going to it and I wasn't seeing a difference in our overall productivity or team velocity."

Actions taken

"There were two reasons training wasn't working for us. Firstly, the content wasn't relevant. I threw random technology that sounded cool into training sessions, but this wasn't helpful on a day-to-day basis. Secondly, I had assumed that everyone had the same level of knowledge in terms of technical expertise, when this wasn't the case. I really examined the areas where my team wasn't being as productive as I wanted, such as in the code review process and in code design meetings, and then designed a series of long-term training programs. Instead of randomly choosing new technologies to train my team in, I waited until it was clear somebody wasn't understanding something. In that way, I was able to make sure I was addressing real issues my team was facing. My training course covered the foundations of computer science and while it was initially just provided for junior developers, other more senior engineers quickly became interested, because they liked how thorough I had been about the foundations. Next, I made the training much more interactive. Rather than just being a lecture, I included a lot of interaction, including in-class exercises so my team could get more hands-on with the things they were learning. I then had a look at the technologies we were using. Sometimes engineers will start using a technology and trying to make it work without understanding the depths of why it's built that way or what is going on underneath. I sought out some resources and videos on youtube, made sure it was extremely relevant for what we were doing, and then made it interactive by quizzing them after the video to make sure they really understood it."

Lessons learned

"As a result of these changes velocity and cycle-time increased and our code-review process was much more streamlined. When trying to improve your training programs, identify the real pain points in your team. Generally, if it's not immediately applicable then it's very hard for people to get engaged with it. Don't assume that everyone knows the same things that you do or that everyone knows the same amount. Once you have identified glaring pain points, make sure your team understands why it's important for them to learn how to deal with them. Saying they're not doing enough probably won't be enough motivation for them to engage with training."

Be notified about next articles from Hervé Roussel

Hervé Roussel

Senior Engineering Manager at Indeed

Technical ExpertiseSoftware DevelopmentTraining & Mentorship

Connect and Learn with the Best Eng Leaders

We will send you a weekly newsletter with new mentors, circles, peer groups, content, webinars,bounties and free events.


HomeCircles1-on-1 MentorshipBounties

© 2024 Plato. All rights reserved

LoginSign up