T-Shaped People

Traditionally, companies hire two different types of people.

First, there is the hyphen-shaped person:


Hyphen-shaped knows about lot of things. For example, this hyphen knows Agile, Medical, QA, Coding, and Servers.


Because he knows about a lot of different things, he can converse freely about these topics with others. He might even be able to do some basic work in these areas.


But Hyphen’s understanding of these topics are not very deep, just like him.


If he needs to do something that requires a lot of skill, he’s in trouble!

The other type of person companies hire are I-shaped people.


Notice how deep he is in his field!


His depth of expertise allows him to perform work that requires a lot of skill.


But when dealing with other employees outside his area of expertise, he is confused and frustrated. He can’t speak their language and doesn’t understand their point of view. It’s so different than his own.


In Agile, we value what’s called a T-shaped person.


T-shaped is highly skilled in his area of expertise so is a value to the company.


But he has a breadth of knowledge in other fields so can converse with others. He understands their point of view even if he doesn’t have their depth of knowledge.


Imagine a company full of T-shaped people. Collaboration, communication, trust, and respect would thrive as much is accomplished.


But what about us who aren’t T-shaped? Is there any place for us?


Just because you are I-shaped or hyphen-shaped, doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. It’s time to get out there and learn about your colleague’s fields. Talk to other employees from other departments. Study their area of expertise. Learn all you can!


Before you know it, you will find yourself becoming T-shaped!


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