Innovation @ Atlassian
    Bill Arconati - bill@atlassian.com
               @barconati
ATLASSIAN
• 200 employees. 8 years old. 8 products. 4
  countries.
  • JIRA - issue tracking & project mgt
  • Confluence -...
“Because the purpose of business is to create a
customer, the business enterprise has two--and only
     two--basic functi...
Innovation Models
1. The lone genius
2. The boss is a genius
3. Copy competitors’ inventions
4. Cluster the geniuses in a ...
Innovation Models
1. The lone genius             Atlassian 2002
2. The boss is a genius
3. Copy competitors’ inventions
4....
Innovation Models
1. The lone genius             Atlassian 2002
2. The boss is a genius
3. Copy competitors’ inventions
4....
Innovation Models
1. The lone genius             Atlassian 2002
2. The boss is a genius
3. Copy competitors’ inventions
4....
Innovation Models
1. The lone genius             Atlassian 2002
2. The boss is a genius
3. Copy competitors’ inventions
4....
Innovation Killers

• Company growth
• Specifications from ‘on high’
• Date driven culture
• Not enough ‘slack time’
Atlassian Activities


• Fedex Day
• 20% Time
Fedex Day
Fedex Day - 2004

 • 24 hour one-day coding exercise
 • Start early AM, demos late afternoon
 • One goal - “Ship & deliver...
Learnings
•   One day isn’t long enough

•   “Winning” needs to be de-emphasised

•   Get the whole company to watch demos...
20% Time
20% Time
• The Google ‘myth’
  Lawless innovation?
• Aim: discover the realities
  Made up our own rules
• The $1m gamble
...
Why?

• Build innovative features
• Engineers’ jobs get less fun w/ growth
  - further from product decisions
• Product Ma...
How did we do?
http://blogs.atlassian.com/developer/
2009/02/20_percent_year_in_review.html
20% Results

• Filling gaps as much as finding next big thing
• Hardest on tech leads!
• Tracking was a contentious issue
 ...
Just Remember

• You can start small
• Failure is okay
• Sometimes weird is better than useful
• Build in slack time
     ...
Innovation @ Atlassian
Innovation @ Atlassian
Innovation @ Atlassian
Innovation @ Atlassian
Innovation @ Atlassian
Innovation @ Atlassian
Innovation @ Atlassian
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Innovation @ Atlassian

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  • Explain that Atlassian is first a product company, then a marketing company.
  • Growth - the focus is on making a better enterprise (solve org problems) rather than a better product
    Slack time - what Fedex sort of aims to enforce
    Staff obviously play a part - but I’ll assume you have the staff
  • Thusly born was "Fedex Day" - a mini, experimental, heavily bastardised, Atlassian version of Google's 20% playtime
  • http://extranet.atlassian.com/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=672170173
  • http://extranet.atlassian.com/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=672170173
  • Innovation @ Atlassian

    1. 1. Innovation @ Atlassian Bill Arconati - bill@atlassian.com @barconati
    2. 2. ATLASSIAN • 200 employees. 8 years old. 8 products. 4 countries. • JIRA - issue tracking & project mgt • Confluence - enterprise wiki • 15,000 enterprise customers in 110 countries. • “Product driven” model
    3. 3. “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two--and only two--basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” Peter Drucker
    4. 4. Innovation Models 1. The lone genius 2. The boss is a genius 3. Copy competitors’ inventions 4. Cluster the geniuses in a lab 5. Make your people the geniuses Scott Cook - CHI 2006
    5. 5. Innovation Models 1. The lone genius Atlassian 2002 2. The boss is a genius 3. Copy competitors’ inventions 4. Cluster the geniuses in a lab 5. Make your people the geniuses Scott Cook - CHI 2006
    6. 6. Innovation Models 1. The lone genius Atlassian 2002 2. The boss is a genius 3. Copy competitors’ inventions 4. Cluster the geniuses in a lab 5. Make your people the geniuses Scott Cook - CHI 2006
    7. 7. Innovation Models 1. The lone genius Atlassian 2002 2. The boss is a genius 3. Copy competitors’ inventions 4. Cluster the geniuses in a lab Atlassian 2012 5. Make your people the geniuses Scott Cook - CHI 2006
    8. 8. Innovation Models 1. The lone genius Atlassian 2002 2. The boss is a genius 3. Copy competitors’ inventions 4. Cluster the geniuses in a lab Atlassian 2012 5. Make your people the geniuses Scott Cook - CHI 2006
    9. 9. Innovation Killers • Company growth • Specifications from ‘on high’ • Date driven culture • Not enough ‘slack time’
    10. 10. Atlassian Activities • Fedex Day • 20% Time
    11. 11. Fedex Day
    12. 12. Fedex Day - 2004 • 24 hour one-day coding exercise • Start early AM, demos late afternoon • One goal - “Ship & deliver in 24 hours” http://blogs.atlassian.com/rebelutionary/archives/ 000495.html
    13. 13. Learnings • One day isn’t long enough • “Winning” needs to be de-emphasised • Get the whole company to watch demos • Didn’t work outside development • Works best with smaller team • Retrospectives are important - “What do we want to try to ship, and what’s required to get there?” • Shipping code takes much longer than you think!
    14. 14. 20% Time
    15. 15. 20% Time • The Google ‘myth’ Lawless innovation? • Aim: discover the realities Made up our own rules • The $1m gamble http://blogs.atlassian.com/developer/ 2008/03/20_time_experiment.html
    16. 16. Why? • Build innovative features • Engineers’ jobs get less fun w/ growth - further from product decisions • Product Managers aren’t perfect - fill hole in the roadmap • The power of a built idea to shape thinking
    17. 17. How did we do?
    18. 18. http://blogs.atlassian.com/developer/ 2009/02/20_percent_year_in_review.html
    19. 19. 20% Results • Filling gaps as much as finding next big thing • Hardest on tech leads! • Tracking was a contentious issue • Ended with per person, not project
    20. 20. Just Remember • You can start small • Failure is okay • Sometimes weird is better than useful • Build in slack time www.atlassian.com @barconati

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