When my older brother was a young man his fantasy was to be a part of a great team building cutting edge race cars. His passion led him to spend countless hours on his own figuring out how an internal combustion engine works, how well-tuned suspension helps keep power to the ground, and why one transmission was better than another. He got his foot in the door at the local garage and began his career as a mechanic. Today he is a very successful, respected and knowledgeable mechanic at a different local garage. I am very proud of him and the skills he has acquired over the years. But what happened to building race cars?
At his garage my brother had all the tools he needed plus skilled co-workers. What stopped him from building his race car? Whenever my brother wanted to work on something new, innovative, and generally cool he would have to wait until after work hours or the weekend. Young and energetic he would complete his work day and dive into his own pursuits. Sometimes he was even able to get co-workers to stay with him and try something he could not do alone. This lasted for a while but as time went on he could not afford to invest the hours his creative mind was asking of him. At the end of the day he would be exhausted and ill-suited to pour creative energy into his projects.
In the agile software development environment I currently work in I am surrounded by seasoned professionals, inexperienced raw talent, and everything in-between. I am proud to be a part of a company that values professional development time as discussed in Hemant Naidu‘s post, A Vivid Imagination Isn’t Just for Kids. In doing this we acknowledge how important creativity and innovation is to the growth and success of our company.
In an effort to provide momentum to the professional development time the development leads have asked our developers to get together with no manager participation. They have been tasked with using their professional development time to work together on the major hurdles affecting development across all teams. It is our hope that leaders will rise, tribes will form, and developers will learn to work together on their own initiatives. As a developer, expect from us the creative freedom to try, and from yourself the courage to fail.
By Logan Peters
By: Chris Dagenais