I was throwing ideas around in how to increase our developer engagement. I was also thinking of a way to give our product development a little boost. I love the developers that I work with and would like to support their passions and boost their care for their jobs.
One idea I had was to take a day or two a month and let developers work on a pet project. The only caveat was that the pet project had to be related to the company somehow.
I was thinking it would allow them to experiment with new technologies, develop new skills and do something they enjoy. My thought was is while it would give something different for them to do, it would also advance our product offerings, processes and our team’s skill set.
My opinion is that the personal gains for each developer involved would and their job satisfaction out weighs the loss of a day or two. I believe that this could also be offered to senior developers who demonstrates ownership and accountability. It really gives a developer something to look forward to. Even better yet we could encourage them to work in teams and use it as a team building exercise.
This all sounds good and so what’s stopping me from trying this? Honestly it is a hard sell to have developers for a day or two a month not officially making money for the company or building the outlined product roadmap. There is little control and risk of nothing produced. It is often about the bottom line and not so much about developer engagement or satisfaction.
I would really want to do this with a team that I manage. Perhaps someday with the right team at the right time at the right company. If not; hopefully I can inspire someone else to do this to advance their totally awesome team and their product offerings.