At Fenwick we have a deliberate policy of recruiting at the graduate level then training in-house to instil our culture of quality and constant improvement. One of the first tasks facing each new graduate is to come to grips with the breadth of functionality available in Dynamics NAV and the development environment they will be working in.

One of the questions we constantly wrestle with, is how long does/should it take for someone to master a product as functionally rich as Dynamics NAV?

During my summer reading I came across one possible answer, courtesy of Malcolm Gladwell’s fascinating book ‘Outliers’, and it seems to be a 10000-hour rule – not just for NAV but for almost any skill or technique. Using a series of examples ranging from The Beatles to Bill Gates, Gladwell claims that in anyone who has achieved full mastery of their profession, you will find evidence of around 10000 hours of solid practice.

In the Beatles’ case, their 10000 hours came from playing eight hours a day, seven days a week in Hamburg in the early 60’s, after which they were so polished and professional they ‘sounded like no-one else’. For Bill Gates, the 10000 hours started in 1968 at the age of 13 when he had the good fortune to get easy access to computers to hone his programming skills.

As our new graduates progress through the stages of learning from beginner to competent, proficient, expert and finally master, they get plenty of opportunities to develop their skills, but looking at those who have achieved true NAV ‘master’ status – and there are many – all of them have clocked up the requisite 10000 hours (and more).

As they say, experience counts.

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Written By Steve Langmaid

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