Are you a Specialist or a Generalist?
I came across a very interesting discussion that happened between two groups of team members. I found it very interesting and made me pause and think if I fall under specialist, generalist or both.
The first group: We need generalist more than specialist… if I have team members with multiple skills on our projects; we will be able to swap resource from project to project and will be able to optimize resource on the project rather than having specialized in each area.
The second group: I think we need specialist and not generalist? This project is very complex project and we need specialist in many areas to get to the right solutions. Deep knowledge in specific areas will help understand business requirements and in deriving the right solution in an optimal way.
Generalist – Knowledge in multiple areas as example knowledge in multiple modules within SAP and other 3rd part applications. These team members are like Swiss army knives. Generalist will be able to navigate various applications and fix quickly. This may span many modules in SAP and many diverse applications.
Specialist – Specialized in specific areas as an example Pricing expert or Payroll expert in SAP. In-depth knowledge of the application and SAP modules. These team members will be able to understand the Business process, analyze requirements, offer and recommend efficient and effective solutions and validate solution meet requirements.
In this specific scenario, we are not debating about efficiency or productivity of generalist or a specialist. Assumption is that they are all excellent.
The consensus from the above discussion was that we may need …. Generalists… Specialists… or both and it depend on the projects. For Production support tickets to minor releases we may need more generalists. Whereas for complex SAP implementations or SAP upgrades we need more Specialists.
My take on this is it is always good to be a specialist at least in one core SAP knowledge area (core capabilities) and be a generalist by expanding knowledge in other peripheral areas.
Who are you? Generalist… Specialist….
Appreciate if you can give us your thoughts on when we need a generalist… and when we need a specialist…..