Our lower level is being used as a branch office for the small software development company that our son works at. He’s been doing the COVID-19 ‘Work From Home’ approach since he started working back on June 1st, after he moved home as a new college graduate. We’ve tried to give him his own space and not bother him too much during office hours, but sometimes he is coding software on one end of the table and I’m building LEGO projects on the other.
That funny juxtaposition of who is the child and who is the parent came to life in another way last week he invited me and Mrs. Fire Station for an impromptu ‘Bring Your PARENTS To Work Day’.
He checked it out with his boss at work and let us sit in on their Friday morning staff meeting where the software development team goes through their latest ‘Sprint’ project check-in. It was cool to see the kinds of projects they work on, how they scope each project, and prioritize what to work on for the next three week run. They call the process ‘Poker Planning’ as once upon a time they would ‘vote’ with poker cards to rate the complexity of each project. Now everything is done over ZOOM with a sophisticated, online project planning tool.
This peek into his work took me back to my own days of project reviews, new product planning, and initiative prioritization at MegaCorp. On some of the projects they were developing ‘MVPs’ – Minimally Viable Products – to test out the functionality of certain ideas. That’s part of the ‘Lean Start-Up’ methodology created by author Eric Reis that we first explored 10 years ago with Reis himself for MegaCorp’s ‘Innovation Speed’ task force. It was great to see the smart approach used effectively at this SmallCorp.
He also showed us how they do some of the front-end and back-end coding and have an intra-team review process for their work. Each employee has a lot of autonomy in what projects they do, how they approach the work, and when during the day they do it. Since there are only 12 people on the team, they are able to collaborate very seamlessly with each other and the group seems to have a good work/fun balance. Each employee is allowed to do ’10% time’ – another MegaCorp hallmark – where they can spend an afternoon a week working on their own interests that can be used to push the business forward.
They capped their workweek on Friday afternoon with a fun game of ‘Jeopardy’ that everyone on the team participates in. Even though they are on ZOOM – working remotely from their own homes – it’s great to see the camaraderie. We often hear our son laughing from the lower level when we are up in our main level kitchen. There are no prizes for the weekly Jeopardy winners, but you can tell they are all enjoying it a great deal.
As we finished up, I remembered 10 years ago taking our son to ‘Bring Your CHILD To Work Day’ at MegaCorp with me. I think it was a boring day for him with a lot of meetings. The high point might have been getting his picture with our advertising characters or going to the office vending machine. This turnabout to ‘Bring Your PARENT To Work Day’ was great payback for me and helped us understand what he now does and what is happening in our basement ‘branch office’.
Who Else Has Had The Opportunity For A ‘Bring Your PARENT To Work Day’?
Image Credit: Pixabay