May 18, 2008

The 20 Percent Factor

I found a very interesting article posted by ABC News about Google's 20 Percent Factor (Read Story) and how corporate America is changing its views on productivity. The 20 percent factor basically allows Googlers (Google employees) to spend their one day per week to do anything they want to do. They can work on their little 'pet' projects on the side either as a team or individually.

The objective of this process is to extract the creative juices of their bright and young engineers to come up with new ideas that may become a mainstream project of their company. True enough, several of these '20 percent projects' were now part of their company's revenue earning services.

My 20 Percent Version

This has inspired me to somewhat replicate this practice and achieve the same objective.I called it as 'Saturday Projects'. Upon announcing this nifty idea from Google, I immediately saw the eyes of my team lit up like light bulbs and were itching to get started. Yes, just like the original idea, they can do any projects they want on Saturdays. There we some basic rules and guidelines that I set just to make sure they are not breaking any company policies yet still, this is something they can truly call their own time.

Last Saturday, my two best programmers were working on their little projects and were happily conversing each other on ideas. Saturday is a no-pressure work day for us and I don't intend to make it one. As a leader of my own technology group, I have to be patient and creative to bring out the best from my team. This practice is one of the many implementations.

Since this is still an experiment, I will keep a notebook and share my best practices of my company's 20 percent factor. What's your 20 percent factor?

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