OK, it’s a silly name, but as Bill the bard said:
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
So, yes - I could have come up with a better name for this idea, but it is still an interesting idea. So what are we doing? Well, as we are still learning what it means to be a “Lab” we want to do things that are a bit different from how we work in a normal software development environment. We’ve delivered a mix of internal and external projects and I felt that we were falling into a pattern more like a day-to-day development team than a laboratory for new ideas. Hence the birth of “Cool Stuff Week”. The general idea is that we have abandoned all our standard on-going projects for the week, brainstormed a variety of different ideas that would be interesting to pursue, picked a few of those and are spending the entire week just focused on those activities.
The goal is to have something that is demonstrable by the Friday afternoon, see what we may have learned, determine if more work is warranted in the future or whether perhaps it isn’t really worth pursuing. I am hoping we find as many things that aren’t worth pursuing as we find interesting projects worth pursuing. Sometimes the hard part in technology is deciding what NOT to do - so if we can eliminate a few options from the table that would be a success as far as I am concerned. Of course, I am hoping we also find a few nuggets that will develop into longer term projects, but we’ll see how that goes.
We’re still trying to determine how frequently we should have our “Cool Stuff Weeks” and, of course, we think we should have a better name but I’m waiting for someone to suggest something better! Regardless of the name, I am hoping for some sweet smelling results!
Do you have any experience with doing things to break up the routine? To drive teams to be creative and innovative given the freedom to work independently? I’d love to hear about things you do to encourage this!
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