Letting the Inmates Run the Asylum (temporarily…)

April 21, 2016

Here at Decision Lens, we have some incredibly talented developers who are the heart and soul of the product knowing it inside and out, having written all the bits and bytes that create what you see before you. I’ve been the Product Director at Decision Lens for over three years and in that time, we have not had a single developer leave the company for other opportunities.  Longevity and loyalty like that is really almost unheard of in the software development industry and what it tells us is two things: 1) They must really like working at Decision Lens and 2) They have a lot of knowledge about the product and its history.

DL LabsOne of the great things that we do here at Decision Lens is have something called “DL Labs”.  It’s taking a page from some of the tech giants to allow our developers to have some unencumbered time set aside to research, plan, and develop working prototypes of whatever they want to work on (so long as it has some potential touchpoints or applicability to the product or future roadmap of course). We have a DL Labs period at least once a calendar year and they can run from one week to almost three weeks in duration.

During this time, rather than product managers directing the developers what to build, the developers themselves come up with ideas they have been kicking around. These can run the gamut of new technologies, integrations, platforms, and even product features or visualizations.

The results of DL Labs always blow us away with what incredibly polished and robust work can come out of such a short time. Most times, ideas that originate from DL Labs are either directly integrated into the product after going through a more formal development and QA process and at the very least, form the foundation for future work. For example, the most recent Mobile platform release took a lot of learnings from mobile native and web apps that were created almost one year earlier in DL Labs.

It’s a really cool program and one that our developers love to participate in. It says a lot about the leaders of the company to allow for this unbound time given the opportunity cost of progressing against our roadmap. But it’s proven to be an incredibly valued practice and we can’t wait to see what other innovations come out of future DL Labs from the minds of our development team!