Starting Out With Expertise Matrix

Published: Friday 4th October 2019 Expertise Matrix | Starting Out With Expertise Matrix

Introduction

So you've just signed up for an Expertise Matrix trial or started a new subscription. What's the process for setting up your new account, inviting users and starting to effectively manage your team's skills? That's what this article aims to answer: we'll take a look at the Expertise Matrix sections that will be most important to you, and import some example data to show you just how simple it is.

Finding your way around Expertise Matrix

Navigation

The Expertise Matrix Welcome Screen Dashboard
The Expertise Matrix Welcome Screen Dashboard

When you first login to Expertise Matrix (EMX) you'll be greeted by the dashboard. Now it'll look pretty empty to start with, but that's because you don't have any data yet for it to work with.

Let's come back to the dashboard later and first look at navigating around EMX.

The Expertise Matrix Menu
The Expertise Matrix Menu

The menu is split into collapsible sections for convenience:

My Account

This section is all about you, showing your profile, your skills, your targets, etc.

Skill Search

You come to this section whenever you want to find other users by their skills. So, say for example you want to find everybody with the "Cooking" skill at proficiency 5 or above, you would: go to "Find Skilled People", add the "Cooking" skill, drag the slider to proficiency 5 and hit Search. Expertise Matrix will do the rest for you and find everybody who fills that criteria.

What about if you want all the people with "Cooking" AND "Cleaning" skills, or everybody who has either "Cooking" OR "Cleaning", the skill search can do that and more.

Also in this section you'll find the Skill Gaps function. This makes it incredibly simple for you to identify which skills are under-represented and present a risk should that skill be needed suddendly. Or to find those skills which have single-points-of-failure because there are too few people with a good understanding of them.

People & Skills

Like the My Account section, but instead of you this is for managing everyone else on your account. Here you'll find the options for adding, modifying and removing: people, skills, targets and teams.

Administration

Finally, there's the Admin section. The entries here may require a bit more explanation, so I'll go into them one at a time:

Accounts

Your trial or subscription is linked to an "Account". That account has all of the people you add, their skills, everything. While a person can belong to more than one account, the other data attached to an account cannot be shared with other accounts.

Most people just have the one account, but we provide the option of creating additional accounts for situations where it is desirable to delineate certain areas. For example, let's say you have two large teams: Team A and Team B. The skill sets for these teams are very different, but some people work for both teams. You could have a single account for both teams, and just chuck all the skills in there; alternatively you could have an account for each team, keep all of the skills nice and separate. This way, for those people in both teams, they'd be able to switch easily between them and wouldn't end up confusing their skills.

Subscription

Quite simply used to manage your subscription (or create a subscription if you haven't yet). From here you can view the limitations of your subscription, upgrade or downgrade it, cancel it, modify payment details, and gain access to past invoices.

Settings

All of your account-wide settings are found here: General Settings for things like date and time formatting, skill level customisation for defining if you want proficiencies running from 0 - 10 or 0 - 100, and setting waymarkers at specific values to turn them into human readable form; and setting up permission groups so that you can give people varying levels of access depending on, for example, their seniority.

Event Log

For monitoring and auditing purposes, any change that occurs to your account will be shown here.

Support

If you need help with anything you can get into contact with us quickly and easily from here.

Your First Steps

Taking your First Steps with Expertise Matrix
Taking your First Steps with Expertise Matrix

1. Profile Security

The first thing you're going to want to do is to make sure that your account is secure. You've already set a nice, secure password on the account, but what if someone gets hold of that password? Disaster!

Not to worry because of Two-Factor Authentication. Under "My Profile" you will find the Security tab, scroll down until you find "Two-Factor Authentication" and click "Enable Two-Factor Authentication".

Enabling Two Factor Authentication
Enabling Two Factor Authentication

Congratulations! You account is now linked to your email account, and the next time you login you'll be prompted for a code which will be delivered to your email address. Without the code, you (or any potential hackers) won't be able to login.

2. Define your Skill Levels

I previously mentioned how you can define your proficiency levels under the Settings section. This can be changed at any time, and it will attempt to match people's skill levels across to the new scheme as best it can. This process is not without its problems, not least of which is that fact that all skill targets and historical skill data will be deleted, so it is much better to set this right at the very beginning and then not have to come back to it.

Navigate to Administration -> Settings -> Skill Levels.

Skill Proficiency Range
Skill Proficiency Range

By default this is set to a range of 0 - 10, meaning that people can rate their proficiency in any particular skill as 0 (no proficiency), 10 (expert) or any whole number inbetween. The other options available are 0 - 3 if you want it to be very simplified, or 0 - 100 if you want more granularity. This just comes down to your personal preference and you may indeed just want to leave it as the default.

At the same time you may want to modify the default labels.

Skill Proficiency Labels
Skill Proficiency Labels

These levels mark waypoints on the progression through a skill, providing an easy to understand label for people to judge their proficiency and development. If someone has a proficiency of 5 in the default setup, they are considered to still only have a Basic understanding of that skill, but once they advance to 6 they are thought to have "levelled up" to Intermediate.

As with the level range itself, these very much come down to personal preference. Unlike the level range though, these are visual only and can be changed at any time without having any impact on your data.

To add or modify one of these levels, simply select the proficiency number in the dropdown box and type in a label, then click the button to add it to the list. The changes made here are only saved when you click the "Save changes" button.

3. Add Some Skills

Navigate to "People & Skills" -> "Skills" and click the "Add a Skill" button to get started.

Expertise Matrix Add a Skill Dialog
Expertise Matrix Add a Skill Dialog

From here you can add one skill at a time by giving it a name and entering (or selecting) a category to group it into. You can also select an icon that you think best represents that skill or give it a 1 - 3 letter "shortcode". The icon or shortcode are used as a visual aid to quickly identify skills, and when displaying a lot of content on screen to reduce the page size.

Adding a single skill like this is shown in the video below (click to embiggen).

However, I already have a text file with all of the skills I want to add, and I lack the patience for adding each skill one at a time, so what can I do? Simple: Click the "Add Multiple" button.

Expertise Matrix Adding Multiple Skills Dialog
Expertise Matrix Adding Multiple Skills Dialog

Defining a list of skills is a long and complicated process, so for the purposes of this example I will provide a very basic list of skills that you may find in an average office:

Soft Skills
Communication
Teamwork
Adaptability
Problem Solving
Planning and Organisation
Critical Observation
Conflict Resolution
Leadership
Negotiation
Public Speaking

Financial
Reporting and Analysis
Forecasting
Auditing
Bookkeeping

Software
Microsoft Office
SharePoint
Visio
Adobe Photoshop

Strategy
Process Analysis
SWOT Analysis
Project Management
Marketing Strategy

Taking this list, I can encase the categories (e.g. "Soft Skills") in curly braces ("{" and "}") so that EMX knows that this line represents a category, and it'll take care of the rest:

Expertise Matrix Adding Multiple Skills Dialog (Example)
Expertise Matrix Adding Multiple Skills Dialog (Example)

And after clicking "Save Changes", the new skills are ready to be used.

Skills Added to Expertise Matrix
Skills Added to Expertise Matrix

4. Start Adding People

Now that everything is set up for them you can now start adding people to your EMX account by going to People & Skills -> People.

Your Subscription Limits

Expertise Matrix Subscription User Limits
Expertise Matrix Subscription User Limits (Left - Active, Right - Inactive)

The only limit we put on the different subscription packages is the number of both Active and Inactive users you can add. Active Users are added by entering their email address to which an invite is sent, they can then login and setup their profiles and skills themselves, Inactive Users however are just entered by their name and are not given the ability to login themselves. For more information, see the User Guide.

Depending on your planned use of EMX, you'll have setup your subscription with these numbers as needed, or, if you're still using your free trial period, you'll have the 30 Active and 10 Inactive users granted under that.

Adding an Active User

To add an Active user, click the "Add a Person" button.

Adding an Active User Account
Adding an Active User Account

Each time you enter an email address and press enter (or click the "Add" button), the email address is added to the "New User List". Note that the user isn't actually added until you click the "Save New Users" button.

Each user is added with the Permission Group currently selected at the top of this dialog. Be careful to make sure that the correct group is selected and that you aren't accidentally making everyone Administrators! You can see which Permission Group a user will be added to as it says it under their email in the "New User List". If you make a mistake, you can easily remove a user again by clicking the button, and then re-add them with the correct Permission Group selected.

Once you click the "Save New Users" button, the user accounts will be created and, after a few minutes, invitation emails will start going out to those users with instructions on how they can setup their accounts.

Adding an Inactive User

Alternatively, an Inactive User is added by clicking the "Add an Inactive Person" button.

Adding an Inactive User Account
Adding an Inactive User Account

Here the users don't have an email address associated with them (as they'll never be able to login), and instead they are added by entering their name in one of the following forms:

SECONDe.g. Smith
FIRST SECONDe.g. John Smith
FIRST INITIAL SECONDe.g. John A Smith
FIRST MIDDLE SECONDe.g. John Alan Smith

As with the Active Users, pressing enter or clicking the "Add" button after entering each name will add them to the pending list, and clicking "Save New Users" will add them to your account.

Populated User List with Active and Inactive Users
Populated User List with Active and Inactive Users

Congratulations, you now have some people and skills to associate them with!

What's Next?

Next time I'll be looking at Expertise Matrix from your user's perspective, how they can add and manage their skills, watch their progress, and start looking at a populated dashboard.

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