IT GovernanceLeadership/InnovationProject Management

7 Thoughtful Steps to Plan Free Time Innovation

Innovation is all the rage today for the digitally advanced world of business. Evidence of this pressure to constantly reinvent and innovate demands utilization of free time.

In this article at Forbes, Andrew Miller explains that to grow big, product delivery organizations need to provide their staff free time to drive innovation.

Key Shots

The biggest struggle for leaders or project managers is to find the right approach to innovation. Often, they conclude that they need to establish an innovation team, typically using a broken portfolio management process. At times, these teams outperform while often they leave the rest of the organization grappling with the question of what it means to not be on the innovation team.

Therefore, the author suggests a solution for bringing ‘innovation everywhere’ approach. If combined with a culture of constant improvement, the approach can build an environment of empowered teams doing their best in solving issues. In contrast to a single innovation team, this approach fosters a highly collaborative, open environment through pre-planned free time. The entire product delivery organization self-forms into teams to work on projects of their choose. Follow these steps to bring innovation in free time:

  1. Executive Buy-In: Promote the value of shared learnings, operational efficiency gains, clarity on ideas stuck in the backlog and even cool new apps. Show how time for ground-up improvement and exploration is an accelerator for the next generation.
  2. Plan Wise: In organizations with aligned sprints, the sprint calendar is its soul. Use it to your benefit by picking one or two sprints per year for a free Dedicate these sprints to exploit the potential for new relationships, shared learning, and new perspectives.
  3. Define the Rules: Develop a simple rule to set the bar. ‘Make the company better’ and ‘No teams of one’ are the two set rules suggested by the author to help drive the selection of ideas and ensure collaboration.
  4. Stakeholders & Rally Teams: Prior to the free time sprint, send a formal notification to the organization with important dates. Provide transparency into key opportunities and challenges facing the organization by rallying stakeholders. Ask them to pitch their ideas to help seed potential project teams. Establish a central location for team self-formation and provide ongoing support and encouragement.
  5. Execute the Sprint: Cancel nonessential recurring meetings and hold an official ceremony to kick off the free time sprint. Ask the leadership team to take over front-line escalations to provide the teams with uninterrupted time to execute.
  6. Sprint Review: Conclude the free time sprint with a special review session. Plan the appropriate time and focus on demonstrable features to keep the audience engaged.
  7. Conduct A Retro: Follow the event with a formal retrospective or survey. See what worked well and which area needs improvement. Incorporate it into planning for the next free time sprint.

Click on the following link to read the original article:

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