As a professional trainer I get to deal with a lot of interesting dynamics when it comes to education and practice in organizations. By far the weirdest behavior is the urge to postpone a training if someone cannot join.
Here is my advice: Don’t wait with organizing a training until the entire team is available.
Do you think your favorite sports team will postpone practice if a team member can’t make it?
No, because practicing their skills is important irregardless of team completeness.
There is a lot of value in practicing with the team in its entirety. Certain moves can only be taught with all players present. But it is not the only way to practice and improve skills. In certain situations having a different composition might even be beneficial: for example when teams or individuals have to unlearn counterproductive behavior.
It’s ironic to see organizations create teams to become less dependent on individuals, only to postpone group learning because of an individual.
Let me clarify with an example: earlier this year I had a team postpone a training for two months. At the end of the training a participant wrote the following recommendation
Domain Experts & Stakeholders [should attend this training]. [Why?] To encourage collaboration, discussion and team identity instead of just requests [to the tech team].
– [Student in on-site DDD training]
Can you imagine? This team missed out on two months of better collaboration! It is difficult to put that into numbers but take a moment to consider what the burn rate is of your team. How much is it worth to you if improve their skills and improve team effectiveness because of improved collaboration and shared identity?
This leads me to conclude that the best moment for a training is NOW.
In case you disagree, let me know on Twitter