People & Teamwork

Best practises of knowledge sharing in the workplace

| 10 min read

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest

Benjamin Franklin

I recently joined AppUnite and there were a lot of unknowns, the world of software languages and frameworks was all new to me, on this level. This led me to hoping that there was a good knowledge base to explore, allowing me to expand on my knowledge in the workplace. Was I glad to find that Notion was the platform of choice.

Going through the knowledge base I found that the values of the company repeated themselves through practical examples. This level of sharing of knowledge in the workplace was to my relief. I wanted to dive deeper into where this all stems from and how AppUnite got the promotion of “corporate” education right. My findings led me to writing this article, which aims to expand on how it does not come down to one factor but in fact many. This first edition covers the initiatives we have to further to help us further our education and the second edition will highlight how AppUnite has overcome blockers to sharing knowledge and how this set the company up for success.

During my onboarding I was introduced to the company's values and cultures. From previous experience I thought to myself that this is just a mantra, set for public image. Fast forward to where I am now and I can truly vouch that these values are carried out, with a lot of energy and effort driven into, “we never stop learning”, a value that translates into growth. This can be seen by this quote from the workspace, one of many, “It is thanks to the fact that we gain knowledge, learn and experience new things that we are able to develop and move forward. We want each AppUniter to have space for this, in an area that is important to them.”

Thanks to education going digital, it is no longer reliant on being physically present. If you have access to the internet, you have the world of knowledge at your fingertips. One could even go as far as to say that education has been revolutionised due to Covid, going from years of learning about topics, transforming into short courses, online platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, Udemy etc. One is now able to further their education with more comfort, on their terms and is a great plus when the company you work for promotes this.

The question that comes up most is, “where does this all start?”. In simple knowledge sharing starts at the beginning of trust, a foundational element in making sure sharing is inclusive of all. This is one of the harder cultural elements to foster in a company as the saying goes, “Trust is built with consistency”, Lincoln Chafee. Trust is not an element that randomly appears in an organisation, it is something that is built on and fostered through the company's actions over time. Having got this right, we can see knowledge being shared everywhere in AppUnite. Let’s dive into some core examples that highlight best business practice with regards to education in the workplace.

AppUnite initiatives to spread knowledge:

Workshops

Workshops are a key place where knowledge sharing takes place. Annually AppUnite takes part in many workshops and teams regularly join minds to explore which workshops they could benefit from. I will highlight the top two that stood out to me.

Bottega

Stemming from knowledge gaps, Bottega was a solution in improving AppUniters knowledge regarding DDD. It was a great success that brought all participants up to speed and was met with great feedback.

If you are like me and are wondering if DDD is a spelling error, here is a quote from their website as it could not be summed up better, “Our program is based on 10 years of experience in using and teaching DDD. DDD outline Domain Driven Design is currently the only methodology that supports, in a comprehensive way, from technical perspective, the agile approach to software development. Comprehensive approach of DDD includes: modelling of complex domains in cooperation with a Domain Expert, recommended architectures and designing using tested Building Blocks to the techniques for creating a testable code, which by design is open for the iterative process of extension and Knowledge Crunching. Benefits resulting from the use of DDD”

As for feedback from those who took part there was a lot of information that was gained over the three days. For people new to the topic it could be a lot of information to consume over an intensive 3 days. Thanks to our process of open communication we have a few open channels where discussions take place regarding what was learnt. This allows for knowledge gaps to be filled.

“This is the best DDD workshop that I have come across on the polish market”, with feedback like this, no wonder we regularly have requests for when the next workshop will be. We also want to paint a realistic picture that some of the feedback was also around the intensity of the workshop and that it was very intense as it is from 09:00 through to 17:00 for 3 days. This feedback was taken on board and in AppUnite fashion, this problem was overcome. Slack channels were made use of and two dedicated channels to Bottega and DDD were created so that the sharing of knowledge and working as a team was reinforced. It also allows for an engaging space to collect FAQs which can be revisited at any moment.

As for stats and facts Over 30 AppUniters joined the workshop and every team which had participants in the workshops were positively impacted by the positive changes implemented from learning. Some changes came about over time and others immediately.

Bottega definitely set industry standards and I am sure AppUniters will continue to make use of their workshops.

Motywacyjnie przy kawie

Created out of a need to build bridges in communication and not walls. This workshop was a great success and is thanks to an AppUniter, Magdalena Misiak. The need for such a workshop was identified by Magda after noticing that people meeting in the office kitchen are discussing some very interesting problems and needs. She decided to create a dedicated space for them. The workshops were a great success as they highlighted topics that are overlooked but essential to teamwork, leadership, verbal and non-verbal communication, soft skills, assertiveness, and more! Two sessions of motywacyjnie_przy_kawie were run also for people outside the company.

Feel free to check out the execution of this: Side note, it is in Polish. Part 1 Part 2

Books formula

All AppUniters have access to a book formula which allows one to request the purchasing of a book they would like to read, either physical or e-book. AppUnite covers the cost of the book and in return only requests that the knowledge gained is passed on. In practice most people who read the book pass the knowledge on through to their teams. For example adopting newly learnt time management skills etc. The books covered topics from IOS & Programming all the way through to People & Health.

It is also very common for books to be suggested on our internal channels to read and what their take home factor was for the reader. In some cases the knowledge learnt is then conducted in practice and through the confirming of these practises, articles on the topic are written. What is great is that the book, once purchased, is stored in our in house library which doubles as a reading room.You are more than welcome at any time to pop in and then fill in the formula that you have taken from the book, just incase someone else would like it, it is tracked.

How it looks in practice: over the course of 2021, over 51 books were taken out through the book formula, this was a mix of both e-books and hard copies. Incase you were wondering what it looks like once someone has read a book, here's a quote from an internal channel: An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management, was taken out and in turn, “The book described simple systems that enable teams to create better products. It opened my eyes to things that I haven't thought of and enabled me to improve my teams.

To make sure there is a centralised place for all book lovers to share info, feedback and suggestions, we also have an internal “#bookworm” channel on Slack.

Budget for education

Every year, all AppUniters are given a budget of 2000zł which is reviewed annually to see if it is adequate to market trends. This allows for the freedom of choice in what workshops, training or events you would like to partake in. In practice 20 courses/ webinars/ events were made use of in the year of 2021. Our highlighting workshop from popular demand was Bottega as it had the largest turnout and is regularly requested when we can organise the next training.

Blog

A long ongoing initiative which is popular among the software development industry. In practice this process has been ramped up and everything is done to make sure that authors get the needed help to position their articles well. It helps spread knowledge and through this showcasing, others can learn what we have learnt, either as a company or individually. There are many eager writers who want to express their skills and pass on what they have learnt and it is great to be part of this. This definitely comes from another key value we have, being pragmatic. For those that are not sure of the meaning it can be simplified to this, Simplifying what you do so that it represents practical use and not just theoretical.

Today I Learned

What started off as an idea by a few AppUniters and got a lot of praise and positive feedback has now been brought to life. This is an example of how AppUniters have the power to make a change in the workplace and are not blocked. The project was taken on by the proposers all the way from setting up the space, testing bugs, gathering feedback and making needed changes. It is incredible to see the desire to want more and that it comes so effortlessly.

AppUnite always pushes boundaries and is very creative in ensuring that there is knowledge shared amongst the workspace and to our external stakeholders. This extends itself to overcoming the problem of articles, which are a longer form of writing, that they can be time consuming. There has recently been the addition of the TIL section on our website and is thanks to the initiative of a few AppUniter who said they would like to make something like this happen. They took on the task and are now live on our site: This is a valuable add to companies where peoples main focus is not writing and is somewhere else, in this case Software development. It allows for shortened pieces which are compacted with knowledge and what one learns is shared regularly.

Akai

As AppUnite believes that the future is in the hands and minds of the youth, what better way to take advantage of this and benefit from a fruitful collaboration.

The partnership is recent but that does not lower its value. Appunite intends to provide its experience and professional knowledge gained from commercial projects. This in turn will convert to a greater reach when it comes to knowledge sharing as AKAI will organise meetings to disseminate this knowledge. AppUnite appreciates that the future is in the hands of our youth and what better way to be ready for the future than to invest in the beholders.

With all the initiatives having been covered over here it is also important to mention that this has a strong influence on how things are done around here and the quality of the outcomes. If you are like me and are interested in seeing how this all translates to practical examples, the AppUnites portfolio highlights this very well. You can also see how the companies image is seen in a positive light and that the level of knowledge of AppUniters is also noticed by clients on Clutch.

Summary

In a world filled with smoke and mirrors, it is a breath of fresh air to be a part of a company such as AppUnite. Not to mention how they encourage and make education possible in the workplace. Even though I did not cover all that takes place within AppUnite, you should have a good enough idea of how invested the company is in each AppUniter. Do stay tuned as part 2 of this article aims to cover AppUnite efforts to overcome blockers in sharing knowledge.