Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Pet Projects - An Idea For Ideas!


While reading “Agile Product Management With Scrum” book, I found the following paragraph -under “Techniques For Creating Vision” section- very interesting. It says:

“At companies like Google, developers are encouraged to spend 20% of their time on “pet projects.” Those private research projects result in new ideas implemented as prototypes. The results justify Google’s investment: Half of all products released by Google in the last six months of 2005 started as pet projects (Mayer 2006). The developers who cam up with the original idea continue to work on the project that brings the product to life, as in the case of the Google’s Chrome browser. Ben Goodger & Darin Fisher, two of the engineers who came up with the original prototype, played an important role on the Chrome development project (Levy 2008). Ken Schwaber (2007, 80) favor this approach to developing new ideas:

I recommend you set aside a part every employee’s time to pursue activities that are outside their current Scrum teams & that benefit the enterprise. I recommend an allowance of 20 percent of their time. Let people coalesce into interest groups where they work together. Some of this can be spent working with peers in sustaining & enhancing functional expertise. Some of the work can be researching & prototyping new ideas. The yellow sticky notes of 3M & Gmail at Google were developed this way. ”

I looked up for more info about the “pet project”, & I found this article with more detials about the idea. I’d liket to excerpt those few paragraphes here:

“According to 3M’s Web site, the company has an “unstoppable commitment to innovation, creating new technologies and products.” From this commitment came the invention Post-It Notes, back in 1977, which was a personal project of one of its researchers.”

“The day-to-day work week can sometimes become dull and uninspiring, so by having a fun, inspiring personal project to work on, employees can reenergize themselves to keep working on their daily tasks.”

“Try implementing a program like this at your company—even for a couple months—to see the kind of response you get from it. You may be completely surprised (and have some great new company projects to brag about!).

Though often very difficult for employers to swallow—employees already complete personal tasks on company time, approved or not. A recent survey from Salary.com found that the average worker frets away about two hours per day, not including lunch.

So since it’s happening anyhow, your company might as well benefit from it.”

Well, I think this might be a quit good idea for coming up with new project ides for almost any thing! Just think big... & act small ;)

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