Force yourself to learn by doing – BATMAN!

Learn by doing – A skill that looks simple and really hard to master. I have tried several methods of learning by doing during the past 2 years. Of course, I had some success and some failures. But in my current team, I believe I found the best solution so far – this concept is called Batman.

Who is the Batman?

Batman – eh??

At my current team, there is a special role that rotates between the team members every week. In every single week, there is a person who has a responsibility to minimize the interrupts and this person is the Batman.

  • Live issue? Call Batman!
  • L3 support question? Let the Batman answer it!
  • The build server is broken? The Batman will check this!
  • … 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtoMN_xi-AM

Batman equals support. Support does not equal Learn by doing. What is it know?

Yes, I know – for the first sight, that role seems to be a simple supporter, but please think a bit about it. What is the best motivation to learn something? If you have no other choice. If you are the Batman, there is no question, you will learn. 

Did you want to learn about one of your projects? Maybe you have already put that into some kind of learning list, prioritized and already have scheduled the time to take care of it. But what happens if something brokes and you are the men who have to fix it? Or you are the person who must answer the question? 

In that case, you have no choice. You must learn it. That is the purest possible way to learn by doing. Right here, right now. There is no excuse and no procrastination: you learn it now and you will answer the question or fix the bug.

Okay, it means, I have to do everything?

No, it’s not. Your job is still a teamwork. You can still ask questions to your teammatesBatman can still teach you the necessary steps. But the responsibility is yours. You have no choice – you must learn by doing and you must do it now. There is no tomorrow.

Final thoughts – my first Batman week

I had only about 3 or 4 weeks of effective work with my current team when I went on my summer holiday. After a week, I got the information that I am the Batman!

First reaction

I have been shocked. Just now started on that product. And I know almost nothing. Today, I am the person who will be asked. And I have no idea what to do now.

What I have learned during that week by digging deep

First of all, I have learned where I find the tasks related to the Batman. In one day, I had to learn our input sources (emails, slack channels, boards) from outer teams.

  • I have gained knowledge about our error logging and monitoring.
  • I had to learn a special query language. 
  • I was digging deep into our invitation process. 

Summarize

Learning by doing is an easy concept – You create some kind of learning project and implement it. But finding motivation is the other part of it. If you have good motivation, you can 10x your result. Yes, painful. Of course, it’s hard. But I think that week was my most effective learning week in the past years :D.