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Manage   »   Time   »   Gold Card days


Now, we said that we are very, very tightly managing time. All we seem to have done to date though is post some strategically placed posters and eat some donuts. So, let us look at some of the more popular agile time management techniques.

Gold Card days are days off from the project. The idea is that you select your Gold Card day, from the project calendar and spend the whole day researching technical or other subjects of interest or benefit to the project. You may elect to establish a skunkworks, off-shoot or splinter project to research and develop a particular idea for inclusion within the main project at a later date. Whatever method you choose, you are classed as not available or off project and you are unavailable to other team members. Our recommendation is, if you really want these on your project, manage them very carefully.

In our experience people rarely spent just one day on an issue of interest to them. Keenness for a subject overtakes reality and personnel will surreptitiously dip in and out of the subject when the first spare moment arrives. Unfortunately, these spare moments could be more efficiently used to benefit the project. Spare moments used on off-project activity are not directly contributing to the projects prime focus.

What was originally one day spent on topic rapidly escalates into two days and three days and so on. Also, we find, people build up a dedication to their specific cause or subject and this engenders competition between team members. You will however get early warning of any delays this is likely to cause as you get early warning of all topical issues at your Daily Forum.



This competition to deliver ever improved results is best directed to the main project and not ancillary issues. Gold Card days should not be discounted without a consideration of the benefits they may bring to your project. They are an opportunity to reward team members and explore ideas of benefit to the team. Supervision of the effort involved and the costs of this is evidently an issue and the use of Gold Card days requires careful management. In our experience, Gold Card days are almost never used to look at cost or time reductions they are invariably used to improve the richness or quality of the project deliverables. This is laudable yet still needs management and planning. So let us look a little further.
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