For every sprint we fight with the priorities to improve our services and products as much as possible for a greater value. Sometimes however you might get stuck in priorities that limit creativity and you might lose track of where you are heading.
So, we introduced Leonardo.
Inspired by Google’s “20% time” we launched Leonardo, for the developers to spend 20% of their work time on future projects that are not included in regular planning. However, they could only choose among a certain number of projects in social data, that all were on our future road map. It could be features, new products, improvements to our systems etc.
They were free to approach the project in any way they liked as long as they constantly logged what they did, so everyone could follow the work, give input or continue the work if needed further on. They could go at it alone or together with someone else.
The purpose is to give the developers more creative freedom, full responsibility at the start of a project that they have selected and a picture of the different parts of our distant future. At the same time it gives us all a better detailed idea of our challenges ahead which helps us prioritize among new projects.
After the team was presented to Leonardo and the projects to choose from (four times more projects than team members), they got three days to choose their first project. Some chose project almost unwillingly and we even had to schedule time in our regular planning for everyone to get started.
Now after 6 months, we are still not fully embracing Leonardo. The big challenge for probably any team is to really set aside 20% of the work time on regular basis. Daily and weekly priorities are made for a reason and that knowledge in relation to available hours sometimes dims the view.
A few projects have come as far as it is possible under Leonardo and waiting to be included in the regular planning, while some have temporarily been abandoned for the choice of other projects. Projects with longer runways to get off the ground have seemed a bit more difficult to get attention, probably because they clash even harder with the short-term of daily priorities.
In our struggle for a more improved effect, the picture of the future painted by our Leonardo is still important every week to keep us on the right track and to see future synergies. We will continue to evaluate and develop Leonardo to generate more value in the future of social data.
If you are running similar projects, please share your experiences and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or thoughts about ours.
Why the name Leonardo? Well, Leonardo da Vinci was a genius ahead of his time…
By Pontus Edenberg
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