A new era of cooperation - the end of Expertocracies?
Long gone are the days when knowledge rested solely with a few experts. Collaboration and sharing knowledge are more important than ever to be successful. But what does that mean for the experts, who have always been the focus of attention? Will there no longer be experts in the future?
In this article, we shed light on the expert status around IT knowledge and show how collaboration brings an advantage for every company.
The Limits of Expertocracies
In today's knowledge society, where knowledge is at the core of our work, it is no wonder that we are often dependent on the expertise of others. Whether in projects, product development or operations — experts are often in demand and their opinion is considered decisive. But how does this fit with models of personal responsibility?
It's similar in engineering: New team members should familiarize themselves with the tool chain used and become productive quickly. In principle, this is possible — IT knowledge can be acquired on your own, provided you have enough time and energy. We explain later in this article why this is not always the best approach.
Constant work on certain topics and the constant further development of one's own skills are essential aspects for getting ahead in the job. But it is not just knowledge that is crucial, but also the ability to recognize which knowledge is relevant in the respective situation.
What is preventing developers from building expertise?
There are some things that prevent developers from keeping their knowledge and skills up to date. Most of them are fixable, however.
The time available is the first obstacle for developers. In order to be able to complete all tasks, they have to manage their time very carefully. The scarce resource of time can make it difficult to deal sufficiently with new technologies and methods.
Another obstacle is the lack of feedback. Feedback is necessary for developers to know if they are on the right track. Unfortunately, some do not get enough feedback from their colleagues or superiors. This can result in them not progressing in their work and one day becoming stagnant. When familiarizing yourself with new topics, there is often no one in the team who could give well-founded feedback.
A final obstacle is also a paradox: the fear of a lack of expertise and therefore the fear of making mistakes. This often leads to engineers getting caught in analysis-paralysis: they overanalyze and plan everything down to the smallest detail. However, this can lead to them getting bogged down in their planning and losing track of things and not even starting to implement them.
This fear can become a major challenge because it occurs not only on a personal level, but also on a team and company level and can cause a lot of damage if not checked in time.
One way to solve this problem is to ask a mentor or more experienced colleague, i.e., a buddy, for advice. This can help to overcome fears and show colleagues how they can build up their expertise step by step. So, is expert knowledge the solution?
Experts in the knowledge network
Many developers are convinced that to build expertise, all they need is more knowledge. However, this is only partially correct. Of course, it is important to build on a sound knowledge base, but it is just as important to exchange existing knowledge in a personal network and to be willing to experiment with new ideas and solutions.
Often an engineer's expert status is not so much dependent on the amount of knowledge they possess, but rather on how they use it. Many successful engineers are not necessarily those with the most knowledge, but rather those who are able to effectively network the existing knowledge and experiment creatively.
So, in order to build expertise it is important not only to have good knowledge but also to be willing to share it, try new ideas from others and constantly work on yourself. You must be open to new things and ready to learn from mistakes. But today this is more effective in a team than alone in the ivory tower.
A new era of collaboration and knowledge sharing
The world of IT is aware of the fact: The time of the lone fighter is over. The complex systems that our developers write and our ops experts oversee today require a wide range of expert knowledge that goes well beyond the confines of one's own knowledge and even that of the team.
One solution lies in networking knowledge and having the courage to experiment. This means that we should no longer just focus on specific technologies or tools, but rather try to share our knowledge and in this way find the best solutions to our problems. Colleagues can also receive valuable feedback.
So much knowledge, so many experts—who could keep track of it all? It is difficult, especially at the beginning, to find your way through the information jungle and to find the right buddy in your company.
We developed 8Buddy to make the whole thing work in practice. On our platform you can quickly find the right expert who suits you and your project. You can search across teams for a colleague who has a specific skill. There are skill levels from junior to senior so that you can assess the depth of knowledge.
With 8Buddy, nothing stands in the way of successful cooperation and joint experiments.
Engineers shouldn't be afraid to share their knowledge and contribute their views, even if they don't consider themselves experts in a field. Complex systems can only be further developed successfully in networked cooperation.
The expertocracies that still exist are increasingly being replaced by networks in which engineers share their knowledge and thus develop further together. With 8Buddy you will always find the right contact person, mentor or coach for an existing challenge.
- knowledge networks
- impostor syndrome