Code Collective’s Labs program allows us to remain connected with the latest trends and industry thinking. Through the labs program Code Collective can develop company level capabilities we need and our staff can craft the careers they want for themselves. We design tangible deliverables for the R&D labs work that directly benefit our clients and partners.
Labs Program Methodology
Two week cycle
The labs program kicks off every 2 weeks with a plan session. Every staff member is welcome to join and those that want to contribute will have documented something to present to the team.
The plan session starts with presentations staff members who have something they think would be valuable. As a group we will evaluate what has been presented and attempt to convert it into a SMART goal that covers as many of the following criteria:
- Research aspects are aligned to the individual(s) career path.
- Research aspects are aligned with a capability that Code Collective wants to foster.
- The work includes a valuable and tangible deliverable.
- The work can be billed for.
The group decides whether a piece of work gets to be completed as part of the labs program. A piece of work might not meet all the above criteria to qualify. The decision is made collectively.
Ideally the SMART goal should be achievable before the next labs plan session, however it could be part of a larger project that runs over a longer time-frame. For example someone might agree to complete 2 or 3 sections of an Azure course which is part of a larger project to move a product into Azure.
Code Collective’s desired capability development is aligned with industry trends and the medium term objectives of our partners and the general interests of the staff.
Annual Collective Conference
Each year Code Collective change the context of the whole team. We often go somewhere other than the office. We focus on themes that aren’t directly related to our billable work. We reflect and seek perspective. We learn how to be better by spending time with experts.
Code Collective likes to foster the idea that staff should be working on one other thing besides their everyday work. That one other thing should be aligned with some goals and ambitions and it should move that person’s career forward.
The labs program creates some space for the ‘something else’. There is a supporting framework where each staff member is paired up with a mentor. This pairing provides a platform for identifying and developing career aspirations over time.
One-on-one meetings with a mentor
Each staff member will spend 30mins each month with their mentor. The meeting has a loose framework that includes:
- Career diary: documenting notable progress, specifically related to greater career objectives, made during the month.
- Career plan: updating a career plan document that details current thinking for a capabilities and skills acquisition over time.
A career diary and career plan create some structure to help hold what is often a fast evolving journey into Software development. The primary aim is to provide clarity about what to focus on now (and what not to focus or worry about now) while keeping a loosely held view on where we’re eventually going to end up.
Often in the early stages of a journey into software development the goal is to learn about what parts of the process align with your strengths (and interests). During this time the career plan may be a list of capabilities to exposed to. The next step might be to observe which of these come naturally.
In the later stages a career plan may include steps that move a staff member closer to a developing a specific capability.