The path beyond skills maps

We’ve already shared our reflections on seven years with skills maps, and our realization that we needed something more. We wanted something that could:

  • Help people to develop within their current role
  • Show different directions they could take their careers
  • Set consistent expectations across people within roles
  • Be relevant and detailed without needing regular updates of fine-grained skills

We already had much of that information, but people really struggled to take it on and consume it. We needed a better delivery mechanism than our alternative to the skills maps which we called ‘What Good Looks Like’ documents.

Learning from others

Thankfully, other people have been on a similar journey. Our research led us to, which collects many open-source frameworks used by other companies to deliver exactly this content.

We were especially taken by the Growth framework from Songkick. Not only did their aims strongly match our own, but they’ve also modelled similar career paths to those at Redgate (developing as an individual contributor or a people manager).

By giving a common template to describe each role and showing all those roles side-by-side, we really felt this framework gave a solid foundation to explain how people can really grow without the mental gymnastics of mapping from one role to another.

Taking this as inspiration ,we refactored Redgate’s existing career guidance into what we’re calling our Progression Framework. It’s a structured way to understand the different expectations of our roles, from entry-level positions to functional heads, and what different career paths often look like:

What’s next?

We introduced our Progression Framework to our product engineering organisation about six months ago, and it’s proven a huge hit.

The more structured, in-context view of our roles has ignited many career development conversations, and we’re seeing an uptick in the number of people who have Personal Development Plans to help them develop their careers. Several people have even progressed to more senior roles already, thanks to clearer guidance and their enthusiasm for growth.

We’re now able to use the expectations in the Progression Framework to support our salary review process, helping our line managers keep an objective view on their team members and how they’ve grown over the past year.

There’s even interest from other parts of Redgate to adopt a similar approach, starting with our internal systems teams and product managers.

We hope to contribute back to, and share more success stories of our Progression Framework in 2021.

If you’d like to read the original post about skills maps that started this conversation, it’s still available online.