In My First SAP Job – Part 2 of this series of articles I highlighted the frustrations of accepting the norm. Just because everyone else is making mistakes doesn’t mean that I have to. Installing an information is difficult enough as it is, and whilst modern incarnations of SAP and the NetWeaver platform go a long way towards integrating disparate systems, we still have to deal with people, cultures and politics.
Reflecting back to my undergraduate days, all of the tutorials and seminars seemed logical, and made sense. The difficult bit was transferring what is learned from the classroom to the workplace, which is a totally different environment. After all, discussions about code quality and exception handling are quite straightforward when you don’t have to consider that the project programme is 4 days late, your most experienced programmer is off sick and the company decides to launch another product (which will use all of the data that you haven’t migrated yet).
One aspect of the classroom sessions was the emphasis upon learning from experience – an approach that sounded startlingly similar to that which I had been apparently practising. The key difference was that a ‘starting point’ was identified by a series of exercises to examine my learning style and preferences. These exercises included a session that explained how people learn, and more importantly, how I preferred to learn.
I discovered that the act of learning together with naturally occurring experiences, can be supplemented with deliberate learning. I would therefore have to identify my abilities and needs for new skills, the process of which would enhance my ability to learn, itself a development activity.
In fact my overriding weakness appeared to be my acceptance that learning was naturally occurring. I took for granted that I was deriving maximum benefit from experiences, although in real terms I was only obtaining a fraction of what was possible.
This all seemed quite exciting – a chance to possibly change my approach to learning from work-based experiences. In the next article I shall explain how I went about it.