Skill Levels

Assessing skills is not an easy task. That is is why we decided to give you guidance on how to pick the right level for yourself or others in your workspace.

In iCombine, a competency profile is used to capture interests, skills and custom information of all workspace members. Our solution provides better visibility of each individual and creates a common understanding of available skills. In that context, knowing the level of expertise of different people is necessary to make better planning decisions. For example, it is good practice to staff a team of developers with a senior and a junior developer, so that the junior developer can be guided by the senior in day-to-day activities, allowing to continuously learn on-the-job.

iCombine allows you to specify your level of competency on a 5-level scale for each skill in your profile. This scale was chosen based on our customer research: too many levels make it hard to assess yourself. Too few levels prohibit a meaningful differentiation between people.

2. What Skill Level should I pick?

Please read the following summaries to understand what each level means. The descriptions for each level were inspired by the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition and its adaptations made by Stan Lester (PDF can be found here).

1 - Novice

Has minimal or textbook knowledge without connecting it to the practice

Needs close supervision or guidance

Has little or no idea of ​​how to deal with complexity

Tends to look at actions in isolation

2 - Advanced Beginner

Has basic knowledge of key aspects of the practice

Straightforward tasks are likely to be done to an acceptable standard

Is able to achieve some steps using own judgment, but needs supervision for the overall task

Appreciates complex situations, but is only able to achieve partial resolution

Sees actions as a series of steps

3 - Competent

  • Has good working and background knowledge of area of practice

    Results can be achieved for open tasks, though may lack refinement

    Is able to achieve most tasks using own judgement

    Copes with complex situations through deliberate analysis and planning

    Sees actions at least partly in terms of longer-term goals

4 - Proficient

Depth of understanding of discipline and area of practice

Fully acceptable standard achieved routinely, results are also achieved for open tasks

Able to take full responsibility for own work (and that of others where applicable)

Deals with complex situations holistically, confident decision-making

Sees the overall picture and how individual actions fit within it

5 - Expert

Authoritative knowledge of discipline and deep tacit understanding across area of practice

Excellence achieved with relative ease

Able to take responsibility for going beyond existing standards and creating own interpretations

Holistic grasp of complex situations, moves between intuitive and analytical approaches with ease

Sees overall picture and alternative approaches, has vision of what may be possible

3. Indicate your Interest to Develop a Skill

Keep in mind that the hat next to a skill can be used to indicate that you would like to develop this skill and become better in the future.

4. Customize your Skill Levels

You should see this guide as a baseline for understanding skill levels and start working with iCombine. 

A good agile practice is to Inspect and Adapt on a regular basis. You might find that the definitions of these levels need to be adjusted to the needs of your organization. In this case, we recommend that you create your own definition of the 5 skill levels. Just make sure the levels are clearly distinguished and visible to all workspace members in your organization to guarantee comparable profiles.

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