“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google.”

“This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.”

  • Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin from their 2004 IPO letter.

Whether 20% time still exists within Google is a matter of debate. I think it’s more the idea of 20% time than the actual reality of it that is important. 20% time promotes the thinking that as technologists, we should always be broadening our horizon to discover new technology, tools, methodologies and mindsets. This curiosity is responsible for some of the most significant technical and cultural changes throughout the software delivery landscape. It separates the innovators from the soldiers.

I plan to take this voyage into the eighty-twenty split. I have carved out two-hour blocks first thing in the morning on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. While the first stint of my 20% time is more catered to learning and filling gaps in my skillset, rather than discovery, it is all still relevant to my job as a Development Operations Engineer at Envato. (A shoutout to Envato for being an excellent company and allowing me the flexibility to undertake such initiatives.)

During my first iteration of 20% time, I am outlining my path on a dedicated Trello board. By doing so, I can track my progress and visualise a sense of achievement as I pull more cards into the “done” column.

My Trello Board

Feel free to follow me on my journey as I blog each card on my Trello board to show what I have learnt and the parts that are of value to a DevOps and Lean IT enthusiast in a modern software delivery industry.