Thursday, July 1, 2010

Atlassian 20% Time and FedEx Day

This is a great presentation by Atlassian on their 20% Time:
* Innovation@Atlassian: FedEx Day and 20% Time - Atlassian Summit: Charlie Talk

Summary:

Rules:

  • Is 20% of the development time that would have been spent, not support time, vacation, or conferences.
  • Engineers should work on something at least related to the company, the company's products, or open-source components used by the company. (This doesn't need to be enforced very often.)
  • To continue on the project and continue getting support: (This encourages projects to "fail early". But failure is not a problem. Innovation is about taking risks.)
    • If have worked on it 5 working days - must have 3 other engineers to say I think that is a good project and you should continue working on it. This is done via periodic reviews.
    • If have worked on it 3 weeks - must have company founder's approval to continue working on it.
Scheduling:
  • Easier on larger teams (for example, a developer that wants to take off a week to work on something).
  • Timekeeping - hard to get developers to do that. Someone just has to chase them with a whip.
Challenge:
  • Merging functionality with products, having to support life of project.
  • It will affect schedule of products because of that, but is providing features.
Sorts of projects usually worked on (up to developer to decide):
  • Not big things.
  • Things/bugs that annoy people.
More info and examples of things created with 20%:
Things tagged as "20 percent time" on Atlassian's developer blog

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