Let me start out by saying, that before I started working here at Zumba®, my perception of companies that were not “tech companies” was completely wrong. I was very naive, and thought that ‘those’ companies did not have the correct culture to nurture and expand my career as a software engineer. Not all companies are the same, but at least there are some companies, such as Zumba® that strongly believe in technology. Our team is constantly innovating, and we are on top of the latest technology. Don’t believe me? Here is some inside knowledge about our Zumba® Technology Day.
Nowadays, a lot of the big tech companies have some sort of program that incentivizes it’s employees to tinker with ideas that are not part of their assigned work. Apparently this concept was started by 3m and then was made famous by Google with their “20 percent program”, in which employees get 20% of their time to work on side projects or ideas. Following in their footsteps, we decided to implement a similar program in-house called “Zumba® Technology Day”, where the technology department gets at least one day a month (usually the last Thursday of the month) to actually experiment and come up with new ideas that can benefit the company.
The way our tech day works is pretty simple. It started simply with a google doc that we used as master list of ideas that anyone at anytime could go in and update. Over time, we refined the process to a Kanban project in Jira. This change made it easier to maintain and team members can now take ownership of what they want to work on and invite other team members to contribute. Note that we do not force anyone to use the google doc or the Jira project. In fact, we only have 2 actual rules:
- The only interrupts that will be taken are business critical interrupts.
- The Technology team must work on something that stabilizes our current systems or designs for the future. This includes documenting what we now have, designing a future vision, prototyping something that will help solve a business problem, documenting an improvement to the development process, automating tests, writing scripts, bashing a bunch of pet peeve bugs, researching an alternative technology, or the like.
It’s been a year and half since we established the Zumba® Technology Day in our department and during this time it has proven to be a success. Not only some of the ideas/projects that we have implemented started with a tech day and became actual projects that are now vital part of our company, but it has also allowed us to have a day where we can interact with each other in a different setting. We have created a work setting that we can work without the pressure of a deadline and restrictions from the business- It’s our time to be creative!
If you have been missing working with exciting technologies and experienced engineers on solutions to complex problems, then Join the team! We have several openings for software engineers and frontend developers.