Friday’s are great. But one Friday a month at Kashoo is extra special: Freedom Friday. What is Freedom Friday, you ask? In short, it’s one day a month when all Kashoo team members—from engineers to marketers to the CEO—can work on whatever they want, provided it relates to the Kashoo product. It’s an opportunity for Kashooers to team up and tackle something new. Perhaps one of our customer support specialists has an idea for new feature for our Android app. Or maybe some folks want to improve an admin search tool. Or maybe a designer and a marketer have chatted before about rebuilding email templates to increase open rates. The point is, anything’s on the table.
Jack Dorsey’s early sketch of Twitter.
Why Have Freedom Friday?
There are a number of reasons why we have Freedom Friday. For starters, it is a proven method to get folks exploring new ideas and thinking creatively. And more often than you’d expect, Freedom Friday outputs wind up actually going to production. That’s not to say every Freedom Friday effort gets forced through to see the light of day. Most don’t. But virtually every experiment leads to new ideas or sparks a new approach to an existing challenge.
Did Kashoo Invent Freedom Friday?
No. We were inspired by the folks at Atlassian and their ShipIt Days. (Read more about Atlassian’s ShipIt Days.) That said, we do have our own set of very, very loose rules and guidelines…
- If you participate in a Freedom Friday, you must demo to everyone in the company at the following Monday staff meeting. Even if you deem your project unsuccessful you present because we can all learn from it.
- If you participate in a Freedom Friday, you must document your exploration and findings for others on the Freedom Friday wiki.
- Freedom Friday is not only for the product development team. Everyone can get involved.
- Teams are allowed and encouraged.
- Bribery is encouraged. If you can’t get something done alone then enlist someone who can to help you attempt it.
- Nothing that comes out of a Freedom Friday is guaranteed to go to production.
- Critical business or time-sensitive work trumps Freedom Friday participation.
What Has Come Out of Kashoo Freedom Fridays?
The short answer is, “Plenty!” We’ve explored all sorts of things like a Mac desktop app, accounting education podcasts, experimentation with Docker, deploying our own lovable version of Hubot, new login options (Spoiler: look for more coming on this one soon!), behavior driven development infrastructure… the list goes on. Freedom Friday is all about exploring one of the countless “I wonder if we could do this” moments that we all have every day. Most endeavours won’t make it into production, but as the saying goes, “You won’t know until you try.”
But What About the Time Spend?
To some, allowing a team a full day to explore might seem wasteful. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In addition to the actual outputs, Freedom Friday does a number of incredible things. For example, given that there are firm time constraints, Freedom Friday has helped a number of folks on our team think differently about budgeting time. In fact, during the first few Freedom Friday’s many tackled a project far more ambitious than could be completed in a Friday. But now they are planning their Freedom Friday pursuits out over time, working on them incrementally with demonstrable progress each step of the way. It’s awesome to see that sort of passion driven by one idea. Other members of the team truly focus on a minimal prototype or a feature they would like to see in the app that might otherwise be passed over in favor of a larger feature perceived to deliver more value.
Regardless of the outcome, after the demos more ideas are generated and other team members often have suggestions for enhancements. It is a great way to throw off all constraints except time and probe to see if an idea has any legs.
Have something you’d like to see us tackle on the next Freedom Friday? We take requests! Shoot an email to email@example.com.