Kaizen – Innovation through 20% Time

October 18, 2012

We are always looking for opportunities to improve what we do at Atlassian. Here is one example from Michael Tokar of the GreenHopper team:

Hey all,

There are conversations currently happening in the JIRA team about 20% time and the way in which it is taken. … I wanted to get a feeling for how you all think about 20% time as it is right now.

Some questions for you to ruminate on as you drink tea. Feel free to discuss or reply privately. For this exercise, just think about the time on the GreenHopper team, not other secondments.

Do you feel like you get “enough” 20% time?

Do you feel like you have been “shipping” the fruits of your 20% time? Or do you put time in for not much shippable gain?

What motivates your choice to work on a particular thing for 20% time?

Do you ever feel like your choice in 20% time project will conflict with the product vision of GH / JIRA? Does this concern you?

How much involvement do product managers have in 20% time? How much do you think they should have?

Do you feel like you have great 20% time ideas but you have trouble getting access to the right people to help you finish them?

Is there enough visibility around what 20% time projects do get shipped, from an individual / GH / JIRA family team perspective?


I’m talking about the Atlassian experience with 20% time at Rakuten Technology Conference tomorrow. Just thought I would share this email as it is more validation that we are constantly looking for opportunities to improve our practices. Love it.