After taking a long weekend to get away and recharge the batteries, it’s good to be sitting at the computer again. Over the course of my career, I’ve discovered that sometimes it’s very good to step away, relax for a day or two and focus on something other than work. I’ve also noticed that to be true for project teams.
Over the last couple of years in particular, I’ve noticed that most teams jump from one project to another without so much as taking time to breath. I think we should all take a cue from Agile teams.
If you’re part of a SCRUM team, after every three-week sprint, there is a little time to decompress. After the retrospective and usually before the next sprint planning meeting, most teams have what they call a “lab day.”
This isn’t intended to be a party day, but it is intended to be a break from the regular work of the last or upcoming sprint to work on something else—usually an initiative that individual team members feel passionate about. It’s been said that a change is as good as a rest, and I’ve found that to be true.
I also like the Agile methodology’s focus on sustainable effort. The concept is something that I really admire and have come to appreciate over the years. Long days that push into the night just aren’t sustainable over the long haul. In fact, too much overtime is a real indicator of a project that could be in trouble. Project teams that are tired and burned-out make more mistakes and aren’t able to perform at their best.
What do you do to help the team pause, refresh and get ready for the next project? Even if you don’t manage an Agile team, I really like the concept of the occasional lab day. If you do work as an Agile time, I’d be interested to learn about some of your lab day experiences—and how they help the team get back in the saddle.