“Give Back Friday” or “Refactor Friday”

It’s been an incredible year for my team & technology.

We’ve managed to build isomorphic React apps with async data-fetching & rendering thanks to react-resolver, leveraged Redux (which is where the community is this week) for managing state, css-modules to encapsulate our components’ CSS, webpack for building it all for both the server & client, and finally deploying using Docker via CoreOS.

What’s even more incredible is that most of this happened this month alone.

Every project we start is relatively small in scope, or similar enough that we’re afforded the opportunity to improve our DX (“Developer Experience”) each time. Unfortunately, now we have a new problem.

Rapid adoption has created an ever-widening knowledge-gap between individuals and even entire teams.

After some discussions, I’ve decided to test out a few changes.

“Give Back Friday” or “Refactor Friday”

Each week, the entire team has the freedom of wrapping up their week with any one of the following:

  • Write a blog post (like this one, for example) relevant to to the business that’s* also* relevant to the team or industry peers. This is my personal preference, as it promotes individual growth and prepares individuals for eventually teaching or talking about a subject.

  • Prototype an idea that’s their own or has been on the back-burner for a while. Often these ideas aren’t in the scheduled pipeline, but historically have had significant positive impact on either the business or users.

If someone is passionate enough about something to act on it, get out of the way.

  • **Refactor **some code that’s been troublesome, to scratch an itch, or improve the DX of a project.

  • Get work done. After all, we’re all salaried employees responsible for fires, projects that need shipping, among other things.

I’m confident that this is a sound investment as we start each day with the intent to ship something. This can be a PR, deploying to production, or sending off a deliverable.

Although, some topics warrant proper training, or going in-depth on how a solution applies specifically to the business.

Monday Lunch Day

For deep-diving into a topic and garnering wider adoption within the team, lightning-talks can be proposed on Friday & subsequently scheduled for a “lunch and learn” on Monday.

These will be limited to 20 minute lightning talks to maximize time, narrow the scope, and encourage preparation on Friday to keep the talk focused.

If a teammate has attended a conference, the following Monday is an opportune time to pay back the experience to the rest of the team.

And So It begins.

Starting today, I’ll be asking the team to give this a shot.

The company is paying for timely solutions and, in effect, funding employee growth, the discovery of better tools, alternative solutions, maintainable projects, and a collaborative environment.

Let’s see how this goes!