Continuing education is an important aspect of the culture here at Achieve Internet. Every employee is encouraged to attend at least one class or seminar every six months. The most important part of this educational experience is the ability to share his or her gained knowledge with the rest of the Achieve team. Upon returning from the educational event, the employee is responsible for hosting a lunch-and-learn event for his fellow team members. The employee is asked to prepare a 1 to 2 hour presentation to the rest of the team on the highlights of the educational subject matter. The simple fact of being accountable to share your knowledge with one's peers is the single most important aspect of this experience.
The value of this process was not more evident then this fall when one of our software leads made the journey to the Open Source version of Mecca. (Zend PHP conference) Knowing that he was responsible to thoroughly understand the subject matter led this individual to seek out and pull aside the conference speakers to clarify their positions. In one case our lead met with the key speaker to discuss his concept of better forecasting in greater detail. As a result of this conversation, the lead came back to Achieve with three important initiatives to improve our processes.
Zend PHP Certification
One of those initiatives was getting the team certified on PHP4. Zend was planning on discontinuing the certification for PHP4 as of 12-31-06 to push their new PHP5. However since 95% of all PHP development is still done in PHP4 our lead felt these certifications were important. He came back gave a 2 hour presentation over lunch and then set up study sessions to get everyone ready for the certification testing. Working as a group they worked through the material and the pass rate was an astounding 100%.
Even though the Achieve management is thrilled about the 100% pass rate. We are as proud as parents with the team ability to work together to raise the level of knowledge and collaboration that make Achieve Internet a great place to work.