This week on Scott Berkun‘s pmclinic mailing list we’ve been discussing pet projects, developers, management, and Google’s well-publicized and usually misunderstood “20% time” theory: people spend 80% of their time doing “real work”, and 20% of their time working on “pet projects”. In practice, there’s a lot more to it than that one sentence (and it’s not new, 3M did this before Google).
Here’s a company that’s actually not only adopting the idea, they’re blogging about it.
I think there are lots of ways to motivate people, and this is an interesting but not universally applicable idea… but I have to admit, Atlassian deserves some major credit for not only engaging in a thorough look at the idea (at a pretty large cost to themselves, they estimate $1,000,000 is the price tag), but putting the consequences, results, and trials and tribulations out there for anybody to read. Open Source Management, how cool is that?