Hi @Bruce, do you think that learning time should be allocated within the sprint? If yes, how many hours per sprint/week would you recommend? Thanks!
Bruce’s legendary reply:
Yes, absolutely yes. It’s one of my top 10 opinions that we’d all be better off and more productive and happy and innovative (ugh hate that word ahha) if we had 20% of our work day as slack time. I doubt I’ll ever work anywhere willing to try that though, because that’s an entire day out of every week.
I think learning time should be allocated in the sprint because when we learn things, that doesn’t happen in a void in our heads. It adds to our experience and feeds directly back into work. Companies are always talking about how they’re ‘innovating’ or doing something ‘ground-breaking’ but then they don’t give people time to experiment. To me, the easiest way to make great, consistent improvements in the team is to build slack into your processes.
By that, I mean individuals need to get into the habit of prioritising their own learning and development, and make sure that they keep time in the day to do those activities even when external forces are asking them to do something else - and managers should be helping them find ways to do that. Also leaders/decision-makers/big-players need to build slack in at a team level and not overload sprints so that no one has time to do anything until 9pm. xD
How much time is recommended will just depend on what people want to learn, and how much they personally feel they can dedicate mental resources to. In the past when we’ve tried doing things like “everyone gets X hours a week to do nice things”, individuals will still decide for themselves how much of that time they use. It should be an ongoing conversation with managers based on what each person’s goals are.