Thoughts, contemplation, & self-reflection

People, Growth & a Sense of Direction…

The growth of people has been is always a hot topic within leadership teams. A common trend as we evolve in culture within our organisations, is to have a Growth mindset or learning mindset? What is a growth mindset?

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

Dweck, 2015

We often get asked ‘how can I understand what my gaps are?’ or ‘I would like to get from role A to role B, how can I do this?’

Over the years I have learned that an ‘ad-hoc approach’ or ‘hoping that managers will do the right thing’ does not work as engineering teams scale. I found that people have less sense of direction and feel demoralised. In some instances, growth is confused with performance.

Common misconceptions…

A common misconception, is we tend to associate growth and performance as one and the same. You may ask ‘what is the difference?’ Performance (reviews) will always link into a set of measurable objectives, at an organisational, team or individual, using different frameworks such as OKR’s (Objective key results) or a set of KPI’s( Key performance indicators). These can be directly linked to some monetary form such as bonuses or remuneration. Whereas a Growth framework is a tool used to supports conversations on development and give people the the space to grow in there own, unique way, taking out the the generic mould of one-size fits all.

What is a Growth Framework?

A growth framework supports engineers to build on their skills, take on more responsibility, and allow for development in multiple ways. You may have heard of different concepts such as competency matrixes or career pathways which are also commonly known tools. Whatever your preference, frameworks are great tool to understanding a engineers gaps, helps to set achievable goals, and creates direction, essentially removing the fuzziness and uncertainty when growing your career within an organisation. We are creating a culture of growth and setting a clear path that is measurable, fair, and transparent.

Where to Begin

So how can we create a growth culture? How can we build a framework that empowers people to have collaborate and promote growth?

  • Keep it simple….Your growth framework should empower your team members to have those crucial conversions and reflection of professional growth. Define clear purpose, make it about growth and don’t reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of good engineering growth framework examples that are like gold.
  • Take your team on the journey….Give your engineers a voice. Communication and transparency are key, this removes ambiguity and reduces confusion. Have a clear approach on how to reflect, set goals and celebrate success.
  • Collaboration, experiment and improve…This is all about working together, so involve your peers and calibrate your framework and the content. I found this most valuable with the Skills matrix, and it gave a very clear understanding and alignment. Continuous feedback loops are extremely valuable, run survey’s and gather data from those who are consuming the framework and get there opinions. This will help with the evolution of the growth framework overtime.

Getting started can feel overwhelming. Remember your MVP concept, don’t aim for gold plated, produce your framework, use it, measure, gain feedback and iterate to improve. This is about supporting and fostering an environment of growth for your people.

The good thing is there are plenty of organisations that have already embarked on this journey, learn what is needed for the growth needs of your people. Here are some useful links you can use to get you started with your research:

Circle CI

Medium’s Engineering Growth Framework

Buffer’s framework

Soundcloud’s framework



  1. Daniela

    Such an awesome article my dear Santi!!
    I am now wanting to read more about what you have to say, keep it up!!

    • Santina

      Thank you Dani for all your support 🙏🏼

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