Considering our transferable skills

Can one acquired skill be applied & supportive in other fields?

Illustrations by
Illustration by manypixels

I have been chewing a little on the usefulness of transferrable skills. Let’s go.

Create human connection, share experiences and stories. Why? We live and build stuff together, help each other and on top of that, we have a deep need to be seen and heard. At work, in teams, share our skills ranging from solving problems to catching each others’ blindspots. I sometimes heard comments such as introverts hates building relationships. I suspect that there is simply insufficient data on that! Introverts build relationships differently from extroverts, introverts are lively and love to share in 1:1 and in small groups. Not stereotyping introverts and extroverts would be most supportive to building relationships.

“Shh…just listen”

I sometimes need to use this to remind myself to quiet down, both with friends and with colleagues. Just slow down to understanding while listening is a great help. It is also the most precious gift you can give to anyone.

Could it be the Zeigarnik effect that helps me when I have more than 10 tabs open in my browser? Or the doodle on my notebook that I used 3 colour pens to keep the topic open ended?

The cognitive challenge of holding a few things in my mind have been a good skill to be applied to Project Management and following up with my team.

Input, output // Illustration by manypixels

Shouldn’t this be easy? Well, on the contrary, I took a while to see the habit kicks in. Many would agree that signal and noise to an event or a task are contextual. A signal to repair on tool X may be just noise to others.

The skill of untangling signal from noise helps me to focus on the critical path from coaching a crew, facilitating a workshop to planning a test session.

“Intelligence is not only the ability to reason; it is also the ability to find relevant material in memory and to deploy attention when needed.”
Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

I used exploratory testing A LOT in software testing. Pick an area of the product, looking through the user flows, revealing the workings under the hood, building mental models, generate some questions, note down the findings, repeat or simply jump through a few hypothesis. This process can be helpful in finding out scenarios that was not spec from the beginning. No doubt, there is a cost to exploration. I would choose to zoom out and betting on the exploration cost is worth it compared to the fixing cost when a change is shipped to the customers.

The skill to zoom in and out is often noticeable when ‘glueing’ customer support and the engineering team.

Pick an area that the customers enquire / a feature area that connects to many fields in the product. bring the team in, dissect the emotional changes of our customers on friction/pain point, plot, pick a few customers to do a few qualitative interviews, reveal the underlying motivation, generate more questions, note the finding — feedback to the Engineering team.

Having said that, this can be a challenge to be applied to the practical events outside work, e.g. preparing the garden for the winter! I aim for progress and not perfection both at work and outside work 🙃

There may be plenty more that you have in your mind, want to share them with me?

The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important.