The's general definition of training.


The Training protocol defines training (the practice of acquiring a skill) in the context of technologists, engineers, designers, product owners, and startups.


We wrote this protocol to create a conducive environment with clear, efficient communication and alignment between mentors and apprentices ("Community Members"). We achieve this by having a shared definition of training, constrained such that they are healthy and sustainable. In a mentorship or apprenticeship engagement, this will reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings, mismatched expectations, and unnecessary disappointment.

By reading this protocol, you will be able to assess your current learning context and communicate with peers, and navigate your training phases.

Detailed design

  • Training - This can broadly be described as the process of acquiring knowledge, skill, and expertise.

  • Training sandboxes - Training sandboxes are a reduction of the actual context, whether by space, scope, or difficulty. For example:

    • When playing Golf, going to the driving range is a training sandbox, while playing on the fairway is the actual play. There is a reduction in the complexity of the practice in that you simply focus on your learning your golf swing and calibrating to your irons.

    • When playing Basketball, practicing free throws is a training sandbox, while playing a match is the actual play. There is a reduction in the complexity of the practice in that you don't practice dribbling and focus on shooting. On the other hand, neighborhood matches in comparison to competitions/championship matches are reduced in stakes, rather than complexity.

Training Sandboxes in Software Engineering

In Software Engineering, you have a variety of areas to iterate and practice on different kinds of skills.

ActivitySkill to practice

Daily Stand Up reports

Communication, preparation, accuracy, truthfulness, conciseness, specificity, clarity

Sprint planning

Estimation, unraveling complexity, accuracy, truthfulness, specificity, collaboration, correctness

Code reviews through Merge Requests or Pull Requests

Communication, articulation, correctness, clarity

Brown-bag sessions with colleagues

Asking questions, absorbing concepts, curiosity, attention and focus

1-on-1 mentoring sessions

Clarity, planning, discovering one's goals, commitment, accountability, estimation, health and sustainability

Stages of Training

We use a simple 5-stage model for training. Determining which stage you are in will help identify what the requirements are needed for the next stage of training.

Stage 1: Introducing

If you are still new to a topic, one might be intimidated by the variety of new words they are encountering. This is the Introducing stage of learning a new skill.

Feelings: Uncertain, anxious, intimidated, fearful, overwhelmed, adamant, hesitant

Appropriate mindset: overcome, face, or accept the fears you might be experiencing.

Stage 2: Familiarizing

Once you are no longer overwhelmed by the newness of things, you would be at a Familiarizing stage to the concept, without committing to learning it yet. Whether you are convinced or not, you have not yet decided to allocate time and resources to practice the skill.

Feelings: Cautious, open, enlightened, non-committed, curious

Appropriate mindset: commit time, energy, and effort in focused practice and training.

Stage 3: Training

When you have committed resources (time, energy, money) to learning a new skill, you are now at the Training stage of learning a new skill. You don't have the literacy yet to recognize mistakes, but you are slowly getting the mechanical aspects of the new skill you are learning. Here, external feedback is critical to ensure you gain insight on your growth progression.

Feelings: Focused, humbled, striving, disciplined, devoted, unaware, erroneous, goal-oriented

Appropriate mindset: be comfortable making mistakes and humbly request for feedback.

Stage 4: Polishing

The Polishing stage of learning a new skill is when you are able to sufficiently perform the skill or activity, and have gained the literacy to self-correct. You and your mentor are similar in your assessments of yourself (e.g. the precise recognition of your mistakes and wins). You may not be confident in attaining perfect results, but you have acquired some level of literacy to sustain your positive feedback loop of learning independently.

Feelings: Self-aware, conscious, intellectually humble, sustainably critical, consistent, confident

Appropriate mindset: grow awareness and scrutinize yourself to gain skills and confidence by becoming like your mentor.

Stage 5: Mastering

You clearly understand your wins and mistakes. You actively seek out the complexity, nuance, and precise description of your mistakes. You no longer take on other people's standards and define your own. You are now at the Mastering stage of your skill or at the forefront of reinventing the skill.

Feelings: Independent, self-directed, nuanced, optimal, artful, elegant, expert

Appropriate mindset: seek existing standards, and go beyond them into excellence.


  • Simple definitions of non-sequential stages of training.

  • Common terminology to understand each other when it comes to training.

  • Emotionally-validating perspective when it comes to learning and growth.

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