OUR SLACK DAY: SCHEDULING TIME FOR INNOVATION!
For many people, “slacking” means doing nothing. Our Slack Day is quite the opposite: We schedule time for new ideas – structured and premeditated!
Shortly after founding autoscan, we had a thought: What about a special day just for trying out new ideas?
We really, really want to try out new software development approaches to satisfy our curiosity – but the daily routines never really leave enough time. So, we plan to check out new services that could be useful for autoscan after hours – which we end up spending playing with the kids or going for a run to clear our heads (time well spent, obviously.)
It became obvious that we needed a set time slot. A time slot for the whole team. A time slot that allows everybody to play with new ideas. Our Slack Day was born!
SO HOW DO WE ORGANIZE A SLACK DAY?
Creativity requires space – but without boundaries, this space becomes a vast field for aimlessness. To put it less prosaically: Our Slack Day needed a structure.
The day before
The first structural element: Everybody must present their ideas for Slack Day the day before. These short presentations take place during our daily team stand-up meeting. If at least one other colleague finds it interesting, this idea is fit for Slack Day.
On Slack Day
By choosing topics the day before, we already know in the morning what new ideas we are going to work on for the rest of the day. We start off with a small kick-off meeting, talking about the ideas in more detail. Each topic receives a goal: creating a prototype, finding out if we will continue this idea or realizing a clear “nope” at the end of the day.
Trying and testing a new idea can be done alone or with others.
We spend Slack Day on our online communication tool Discord because we are all working from home. We are constantly online, asking questions and sharing our findings.
At the end of Slack Day
In the afternoon, it’s time for presenting our findings. It’s especially important to define the further course of action: Are we going to continue this idea? Are we putting the topic directly on the backlog for our product? Did we gather new knowledge that needs to be shared with the team? Or has the idea become something concrete that we can already use?
So far, our Slack Day has taken place twice, and we are already reaping its first benefits: The recently published Release Notes are a result of Slack Day. The monitoring with Microsoft Azure Monitor is also a result from this day “off” (our usual work schedule).
Our Slack Day is quite young, some things have yet to be clarified. For example: How often can we treat ourselves to a whole day without any economic productivity? And how and where do we document the topics and results?
There are still a few questions that need to be answered. What we don’t question: that Slack Day is here to stay. The results of the first two Slack Days show how important scheduled time slots are for innovation – and thereby for the continuing success of autoscan!