My Thoughts on Innovation Days and Free Days

Start from Failure

Free days idea has been popular ideas. There are different version of it such as Innovation days, FedEx days and others. For improving best engineering practice, we have tried different format. It is not a success. I do believe there were some things that we were missing:

  • Commitment to show business the outcome
  • Get fully support from management
  • Freedom to choose topic

Learn and Fly

Now our team have decided to choose "Innovation days" as name. And with discussion from both Altassian and REA Group, we have decided few rules to follow.

  • Have a theme meeting to vote on ideas presented by team members
  • Team members can self-organized into 2-3 teams into highly voted ideas
  • Team members decide deliverable features (can be prototype)
  • Team will present outcome to business
  • Participants vote on teams
  • Winner team have prizes
  • Team should not be distracted

Things We Learn

It has been great success. There are few team members even work much over time in the first day.

As normal innovation days, there are lots of risk involving for each project to achieve goals. Different teams have tried to achieve goals using different ways. A team knows risk earlier is able to make good decision to which actual feature to achieve. Another team knows risk in half way has failed to deliver most of features as discussed. A team to be success in such iteration with very short time box requires extremely and mature way for developing. And it is great way to test agility of team members.

Great in helping
. Team Work
. Urgency about Due Date
. Discover personality against pressure
. Risk assessment about what to achieve
. Quicker try and error (fail quicker)
. Prove team's ability to deliver
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