Monday, May 17, 2010

Sifting Through the Avalanche

With the topic of age and leadership analyzed to death in the last couple of weeks, an issue that came up repeatedly was is there really a necessity for constant learning by everyone. The challenging thing about this issue is that there is a huge volume of information and change coming at us all at the speed of light. So how do we sift through this vast amount of information in a way that most benefits us? Clearly, we cannot ignore all this information and do nothing. And yet it is humanely impossible for one person to learn everything. So what is the answer?

The most obvious starting point would be to specialize in one’s area of expertise. This means that a Project Manager should pay special attention to the changes in tools, techniques and methodologies that are occurring in the area of project management and to ensure that they learnt what was important and relevant to them. However, staying current in one’s area of specialization is the bare minimum required nowadays.

It is at this point that the IT professional must choose where they wish to move towards in terms of their career and longer term goals and keep current with that. Also, one area that most IT professionals would do well to master is the use of proper terminology and an awareness of what the industry standard is even if it is not utilized at their place of work. A higher level learning of overall management techniques such as ITIL and CMMI may also be a good idea, irrespective of specialization.

Over and above this, folks will want to keep up with the culture of the times which is changing all the time as well. It was not very long ago that Facebook, Twitter and MySpace were pretty much unheard of. Now Facebook has overtaken Google for the number of hits worldwide. Clearly this is something both individuals and organizations must keep abreast of now.

It’s getting to be so that constant learning is now a mandatory part of our lives. It’s a question of how smart we can be about it. Like anything else it’s going to be a challenge of getting the most bang for the buck, or in this case, time.

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