Just-in-time skills inventories

Question: How do you keep the skills inventories pages of the whole company up-to-date, so that when you’re starting to investigate a new-to-your-team technology you can find out at a glance who the go-to people should be?

Answer: Because people tend not to keep up skills inventories, a better solution might be for a team which is about to look at a new-to-them technology to send out a bulletin to all employees, along the lines of “We’re about to look at technology X. Anybody worked on it recently? Anybody know the neat things we should try, or the other things we should avoid at all costs?” That way you get up-to-the-minute information without wasting time trying to overcome people’s unwillingness to keep skills inventories either up-to-date or exhaustive.

In a small company or a company with regular movement between teams, it would be easier to just remember that someone one had worked with a project or three back had had an interest in X. But failing that, an easily filterable email (subject line like ‘[TechnologyQuestion]…’) seems the lightest-weight way of being sure of having the most current information.

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