Last year a tier-1 telco asked me to develop a training / mentoring plan for graduates entering their OSS stream. Not just a short-term training plan, but a 4-5 year career development model for their team. They’re setting aside approximately a day a week for personal development for each trainee entering the program.
That blew me away. I was so impressed that they were willing to invest so much time into the long-term development of their staff.
I’ll share the 5-year OSS Training & Mentoring Plan below, but first a few things that came to mind when preparing it:
- The key to a successful career is developing rare, enduring and valuable skills as fast as possible, particularly early in their career. Same goes for relationships. These traits have compounding effects in the same way compounding interest works
- Whilst there was a focus on the individual, it the effort expended also had to contribute intrinsic as well as extrinsic benefits to the telco
- It had to start with the most basic building blocks and terminologies, both from a global perspective, but also within the telco’s specific context
- It then had to build from basic into the mastery-level subject matter
- Learning OSS is not an occasional two-week training course, but an apprenticeship.
- Most “real” learning happens through experience in-person, interacting with others (colleagues, clients, sponsors and other stakeholders) and hands-on using tools / data / processes
- It had to incorporate methods of understanding the telco’s specific context and contributing to it as fast as possible through work-related activities.
- The reality is that even OSS experts tend to take months before becoming their most productive within a new environment
- Unlike medicine, there is almost never one “best practice” way to do any OSS tasks
- It had to look outside the telco’s environment and include interaction with external ideas and expertise through widely attended conferences
- It had to cover all aspects of OSS from strategy to delivery to operations and all associated roles
- If certifications can be gained, then all the better
- Our industry changes quickly, so whilst planning out an indicative syllabus over 5 years, there has to be flexibility to adapt in-flight
Whilst the following OSS Training Plan will be overkill for most, it may help to give you some ideas for creating a factory to build your own Valuable OSS Tripods.
But OSS is such a broad subject matter to learn and nobody’s learning journey will be the same. I’d love to hear your thoughts about what else should be included in (or omitted from) this OSS Training and Mentoring Plan. Are there any other OSS-related training courses that you’d like to suggest for inclusion?
PS. This podcast with Michael Jones provides some fantastic insights into gaining a job in the OSS/BSS industry