Upskilling People

The continuous improvement of people refers to the practices and methodologies focused on the development and upskilling of team members building software products. This includes training, mentorship, knowledge sharing, and other activities that contribute to individual and collective growth.


To ensure that team members are continually developing their skills, knowledge, and abilities, enabling them to contribute more effectively to their teams and products.

  • Enhanced Skill Sets: Continuous learning ensures that team members can keep up with technological advancements and best practices.
  • Increased Team Versatility: Cross-training and knowledge sharing enhance the flexibility of the team, allowing members to take on diverse roles as needed.
  • Improved Morale and Retention: Investing in personal and professional development can improve job satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Fosters a Culture of Learning: Encourages an environment where continuous improvement and innovation are valued and pursued.


Industry Context

With an ever-increasing pace of change in both customer expectations as well as technology improvements there is an ongoing need for people to keep their skills up to date. In addition, as expectations for roles change, with a great emphasis on outcomes over outputs this requires a new set of skills that many people do not currently possess.

ZeroBlockers Context

The biggest drawback of long-lived cross-functional teams is that they limit the opportunities for learning across the organisation. Therefore companies must actively work to ensure that knowledge and skills are being shared.


Assessing Capability StandardsRegularly evaluating team members' skills and competencies against defined standards.Provides a structured approach to identifying gaps and opportunities for growth.
On-the-job LearningLearning new skills or technologies through practical experience and real-world projects.Encourages hands-on learning and skill development in a practical context.
Attend Training and EventsParticipating in workshops, conferences, or courses to learn new skills or technologies.Ensures team members have up-to-date knowledge and skills.
Share Knowledge InternallyRegularly scheduled meetings where team members share insights, learnings, or introduce new technologies.Promotes a culture of learning and leverages internal expertise.

Other Methods

MethodDescriptionZeroBlockers Opinion
HackathonsShort, intensive events where team members collaborate on innovative projects or ideas.Hackathons are great for generating a lot of ideas quickly but these are better suited to traditional Scrum or Waterfall teams. In ZeroBlockers, teams can generate ideas and solutions as part of their normal work.
20% TimeAllocating a portion of work hours (e.g., one day a week) for team members to work on projects of their choice.Google is famous for having implemented this policy but very few companies have the resources of Google to provide such a generous time allocation.
Innovation SprintsDedicated sprints focused solely on exploring new ideas or technologies.Innovation sprints are a great way of getting everyone to work together on a new idea but it limits the scope of what people can work on. Letting people choose what they work on increases the level of knowledge across the team.


  • Neglecting Individual Development Plans: Failing to tailor development activities to individual needs or goals.
  • Hoarding Knowledge: When team members withhold information or skills from others, limiting team growth and collaboration.
  • Overemphasis on Formal Training: Relying too heavily on formal training at the expense of practical, hands-on learning experiences.
  • Static Teams: Keeping teams and roles rigid, which can stifle growth and adaptability.

Case Studies

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Continuous Improvement Principles
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