Plan in slack

Building software means paying equal amount of attention to creation as building. It is a delicate balance but if failing in either end is fatal. We can be all the efficient as we want but still struggle every day making a living.  We can be creative all day long but unable to move the idea to market. Most important, even Scrum teams can fail in striking this balance.

All innovative stuff start with a concept, an idea, a thought.  If we accept that, we also need to think about how to make room for concepts and ideas to develop.

So what can you do?

  • Plan in slack. Plan slack into  your project, sprint, flow – whatever. Constant pressure is devastating to creative work. If someone comes and ask you "what is that?" – tell it is planning time or valuable buffer for variance (queuing theory).
  • Focus, Relax – Deliberately switch between these states. This activates both the active and passive problem solving. Make your team go home for the day or have a meal when banging their head against the wall. When they return, they will solve the problem in a couple of minutes. Pair programming embodies this by allowing  you constantly to switch between these states.
  • Stimulate – Creativity needs to be stimulated, it seldom just occurs. Create a monthly hack day for your team. Let them do what they feel like. In the beginning the developers are likely to just continue on with their normal work so be sure to plan in demoing to each other bundled with lunch to counter weight this. Lead by implementing your own crazy ideas.

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