The time it takes to build a progression framework varies based on the outcomes you're looking for and the approach you choose to take.

It can, for an existing team structure, be ready in a few hours. It can also (and frequently does) take 6 months or more to roll out.

Our founder Jonny spent three months building a progression framework in his time as a design manager. Two months after roll out, no-one could remember where the framework was even kept. Two years later Jonny founded Progression to solve this pain!

There are two sides to a framework. The positions you're building it for, and the skills you're going to have associated with each position. Both can provide blockers that slow it down. Let's take a look.

What will slow it down?

Writing your skills from scratch is the biggest factor that causes it to take months.

Writing skills is a pain. They're dense, complex pieces of work that take a long time to write. Not only is the process of writing them difficult, but from first principles, the process of deciding what skills you need in the first place also takes time. All of the people we've spoken to who've taken 3 months plus are writing their skills from scratch. Check out our skill writing guide for a sense of what goes into it.

Are you building this framework for a team that exists already, or are you using it as an exercise for levelling within the team?

For levelling, you need to discuss internally what positions you want in the team, what's the purpose of creating new levels and how does what you're doing in one team apply to the rest of the organisation. All important stuff, but if you can avoid it, it'll speed up the framework build no end.

Trying to make it perfect is impossible. So trying will take a long time.

Perfect frameworks are impossible. We've written more about this before. There are too many possible skills that every member of your team has to build a comprehensive framework, and if you try you'll make it impossible to use. And without testing their interactions with the framework you'll never know if it's right. So stop trying to make it perfect and get on with using it.

Working by yourself.

Creating a framework by yourself is painful. They are detailed documents, and it's super easy to get lost within it, and lose motivation. Work with other people in your team. Bring them in early and they'll take ownership over what's included. Provide some guidelines (in particular a maximum number of skills) and let them run with it.

What will speed it up?

The fastest way to get moving with your framework is to use pre-existing content, particularly skills content.

You might use skills content that exists in full, you might choose different collections of skills that have been grouped by someone else, or you might use individual skills, choosing your own to construct the framework. You could use these skills as they exist word for word, or you could use them as a template and then adjust the language to better reflect your business language.

Progression provides full team templates, collections, and a skills library to help get started.

Treat your framework as a product not a project.

Frameworks should change. Your team should grow, they should want to expand their roles, and their skills. New people with slightly different job titles and skill sets will arrive. Your framework wasn't perfect to start with, so you should iterate over time. For many reasons your framework should change. So embrace it, think of your framework as a product not a project, and get on with using it, and exposing the value within it.

Ok. So what's the fastest way to get started with my framework using Progression?

If you agree with us, that:

  • a framework should be a product not a project

  • perfect is impossible

  • your team members getting value from the framework is the most important reason to have one

  • and, you shouldn't let perfect be the enemy of good

Then you should look at our quick start series. These are our simplest frameworks, designed to get you up and running as fast as possible. For a relatively small team, you should be ready to roll out to your team for the first iteration of interactions within 3 hours. Seriously.

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