Where Do You Get Your Knowledge From: Several Proven Ways to Learn Through Practice | Allegro Jobs

Where Do You Get Your Knowledge From: Several Proven Ways to Learn Through Practice

Do you also feel that living in a world with broad access to sources of knowledge and information doesn't necessarily make personal development easier? In fact, it might be even harder – the more knowledge we can absorb, the harder it is to reduce it to truly useful content. The good news is that there are three main sources of knowledge that we can utilize for professional development. Researchers define them proportionally in the 70/20/10 method [1]. We have examined how this method works at Allegro from the perspective of positions related to product and project management."

70% of knowledge is acquired through experiences

Working at Allegro is exceptional; there's no room for boredom and routine. Every day is an opportunity to learn, a chance for new challenges, and collaboration with people from different teams. 

When asked about a typical day at Allegro, Andrzej from PMO responds, "I've been working at Allegro for a short time, but what I can say is that every day at Allegro is different. New tasks keep coming up. Despite working here for a short period, I had the opportunity to take responsibility for a significant task, which allowed me to better understand Allegro's business model. I’ve shared my learnings in Strefa PMI, June 2022."

Through practice, we gain expertise in tasks we perform and become domain experts. Dozens of successfully completed projects or products developed with success make us aware of what to expect and how to handle difficult situations. And although every project or product is different, the experiences we have gathered, even the challenging ones, are applicable in managing them.

Sometimes, an expert needs to step out of the proverbial box and seek experiences and inspiration elsewhere. 

Agnieszka, a Product Team Manager, summarized her 14 years at Allegro with a LinkedIn post: "I have been working at Allegro since 2007, and I am still passionate about my work. I lead a team of Product Managers in the Technical Platform, although I am a cultural anthropologist by education, and 14 years ago, I started working in Customer Support. During these 14 years, Allegro has provided me with the opportunity to change my career path three times, offering necessary training, chances, and support from industry leaders. Thanks to this, I had the opportunity to build solutions used daily by millions of users. It is incredibly satisfying to see how the Quality of Sales, Super Seller, and rating systems I led until last year continue to support the satisfaction of buyers on Allegro. I am not an exception at Allegro - there are quite a few people here who have found what excites them the most in areas other than their originally chosen ones. The company attracts and retains people with its scale, professionalism, and the dedication of its employees."

This story inspires and shows that experimenting with your own career path is possible and even necessary because you never know what awaits around the proverbial corner. There are many such stories like Agnieszka's at Allegro. There are probably many in your workplace environment as well, though you may not (yet) be aware of them.

BONUS from the authors: The quiz "Guess your colleague's field of study or the title of their diploma thesis" is perfect for team integration. Gather necessary information from team members beforehand, and then place it along with random answers in the quiz. Guaranteed fun! (PS: You can read about our diploma thesis topics in the bio.)

Interteam Tourism at Allegro 

When we think about development opportunities at Allegro and want to verify whether a particular subject is something we could really engage in for the long term, interteam tourism comes to the rescue [2]. It's an internal mobility program where an employee can join another team for a chosen period of time, ranging from 2 weeks to 3 months. During the tourism, the employee becomes part of the new team, participates in their meetings, and works on specific tasks.

Karolina from the Talent Acquisition team, a "tourist" in the Agile Coaches team, was asked about the reason she decided to go on this interteam tourism, and she responded, "I decided to go on interteam tourism because it's an opportunity to develop through my own experience. Instead of speculating about what the Agile Coaches team does, I decided to see it for myself! My goal was to understand the scope and responsibilities of the AC role and identify the necessary competencies for performing this job. Additionally, I wanted to learn about best practices in team optimization and collaboration with management. The best part of this experience is that, besides shadowing, you also have real tasks to 'carry out,' so you can test yourself and consider whether it's the right path for you."

Interteam tourism works when an employee wants to influence their career or personal development from the beginning, based on practice and experiential learning. It's an approach that proves effective when we plan to change our qualifications, broaden our perspective and knowledge in a specific area, switch to a different product or project we are working on, or simply connect the dots. More about interteam tourism and development at Allegro can be found in our integrated report at: raportesg.allegro.pl

20% of knowledge is obtained by learning from others' experiences and using feedback.

We learn through practice, fortunately not just our own, as no matter how hard we try, we cannot experience everything.

At Allegro, the way to share knowledge is through the internal conference called Allegro Tech Meeting (ATM). Although our employees have the opportunity to participate in many external events and conferences as attendees and speakers, it has been a tradition for 15 years that a conference is held within Allegro, where the speakers are our own employees. They have the opportunity to share their knowledge, talk about projects, successes, and sometimes even about unsuccessful undertakings. All of this is done to learn and develop from each other, but also to celebrate. The event takes place in September, around Programmers' Day, and is a unique celebration of technology at Allegro.

Demo and Feedback 

For a Product Manager, the perfect opportunity to learn from others and gather feedback is the Product Demo [3]. It can be both a Demo organized by the Product Manager or one in which they participate as an observer, observing other solutions. Anita, a Product Manager at Allegro, highlights the value and function of Demos: "In my product team, every two weeks, we hold Demos for newly prepared functionalities. The finished products are presented by the individuals who created them. We showcase both developer work and mock-ups, visual proposals for campaigns, and more. Through these meetings, I can not only quickly provide feedback and iteratively improve the products at work but also learn about the team and from the team. With each successive demo, we get to know each other and our communication style better, so I learn how to work with individual team members, provide better requirements, and useful feedback. Additionally, I learn from other team members - in our product team, everyone willingly shares ideas, opinions, and engages in improvements."

We also value feedback. Well-delivered feedback helps eliminate mistakes, reinforce strengths, and, in turn, develop and increase self-awareness for each of us.

10% of knowledge is acquired through formal training. 

Employee development is crucial for Allegro's growth. MindUp is our educational program, which includes training in soft skills, technical training, management programs, and development tools. Other learning opportunities we embrace throughout the year include mentoring, coaching, assessment and development centers, and diagnostic tools such as Extended DISC or CliftonStrengths assessments. We also make use of short forms of acquiring new knowledge, such as webinars, e-learning courses, articles, internal workshops within business development academies (e.g., Commerce Academy, CX Leader Academy), language classes, a company library, and many others.

Coincidence? I Don't Think So

90% of the knowledge we acquire at work is based on our own experiences or those of our colleagues. Is it just a coincidence? When continuous and effective development is at stake, there are no coincidences. Instead, there's openness to new solutions, developing observation skills, a thirst for knowledge, and the need for constant updating of once-gained information. Do you feel the same way? We hope so!

Teresa Bęben 

Professionally (and full-time) engaged in employer branding for several years. This year, she completed the School of Brand Strategy conducted by SAR - Marketing Communications Association. For the past 2 years, she has been certified at the Professional level in DIMAQ. She enjoys well-written content and communication that meets the needs of the audience while keeping in mind "the law of spoiling successful approaches”. Her master's thesis focused on the implementation of control rights of Regional Chambers of Auditors in relation to local government.

Ewelina Ziółkowska 

An Expert in Portfolio Management with extensive experience in international organizations. An enthusiast of project order, which helps present and manage the most complex projects in a predictable manner. She has been working at Allegro for 3 years. She strives to combine the project world with the product world, creating solutions based on the best practices available at Allegro and around the world, as there's no need to reinvent the wheel. Proudly, in addition to her economics studies, she has a defended engineering thesis in the field of optimizing blueberry nutrition.

The text originally appeared in the quarterly: Strefa PMI

[1] In the book "The Career Architect Development Planner," Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger first introduced the 70/20/10 method in the context of maximizing the effectiveness of professional development.

[2] Internal mobility at Allegro, commonly referred to as inter-team "tourism", involves employees moving between different roles and projects within the organization. The aim of this practice is to broaden and enhance the knowledge and skills of employees from various areas of the organization. As a result, their competencies are increased, and they gain a deeper understanding of the organization and the relationships between functions and processes.

[3] Product Demo is an open meeting that anyone interested in the topic can attend. The team discusses and presents what they worked on during the latest sprint.