Eric D. Schabell: Inside Open Innovation Labs Residency (Part 2)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Inside Open Innovation Labs Residency (Part 2)

inside open innovation labs
This series takes the reader on a journey, taking a peek inside life in a Red Hat Open Innovation Labs residency. This is the top tier experience for any customer*, exposing them to open collaboration, open technologies, and fast agile application delivery methods.

This experience often escapes organizations attempting digital transformation, so through submersion in an Open Innovation Labs residency Red Hat shares its experience in managing, developing, and delivering solutions with communities, open technologies and open collaboration.

Join me as I share experiences from inside a real life residency, watching Red Hat work intimately with a customer, exposing new ways of working, leveraging open technologies using fast, agile application delivery methods and open collaboration.

In the first part, I shared what's in a Red Hat Open Innovation Labs Residency. For part two, let's look at what I encountered in my first real life residency.

Open Innovation Labs Residency in a Nutshell

inside open innovation labs
Pop-up-lab is a great residency experience
After obtaining the background found in part one of this series, I was very curious as to what a residency would look like in real life.

I wanted to spend some time on the ground, interacting and observing what this was all about. Luckily, I got the chance to join the end of a residency running in London, UK, which was a four week residency.

This meant I got to drop in on the end, get a tour and enjoy the best part of any residency, the delivery of the final product.

Arriving on the scene, I was met with something much different than the video tour shown in part one of this series where we saw the Open Innovations Labs office in London. This residency was a pop-up-lab, a residency experience chosen to take place at a location near the customer.

A whole section of a floor was transformed in just hours in to a dynamic, energetic and mesmerizing place filled with agile task boards, projections of product builds on the walls, and all kinds of colored sticky notes literally everywhere.

inside open innovation labs
Crazy sounds everywhere
There were big toy buttons laying all over the place that make cool sounds when pushed. Imagine "BULLS*#T" or "THAT WAS EASY" ringing out in a booming voice to mark milestones for a sprint.

Another enthusiastic effect were the high-fives that everyone did when finishing any size task. It drew not only my attention as an observer, but there was a constant flow of external customer employees coming from all over the campus to witness the flurry of activities.

They would ask questions, browse the posters, sticky notes and sprint cards. Many showed signs of regret of not being able to participate in the energy and fun development that was taking place right under their noses.

In Action

The residency was four weeks long, starting the first week with an overview of the problem, focusing the team together with the business on defining what needs to be done.

inside open innovation labs
Sprint cards on the walls and stacked to be visible for all
Primary goals the first week are to define the outcomes of the residency and how to work towards those goals.

After deciding the items to be done, fitting them in to task lists for the coming three sprints over three weeks. These sprints were represented on large cards on the wall with task to be done and moved from one column to another to signify completion.

Many high fives and buttons are pushed along the way!

Developers on the team work on a product code base in pairs. Deviations to this model happen when new areas of technology for the team are encountered, for which they flow into many-to-many programming teams.

inside open innovation labs
Columns used for sprints too
Everyone works on the new technology for complete knowledge sharing across all of the development team, before everyone takes that back to their paired programming teams.

Each sprint week ends with a showcase of the progress in a mini-demo day. Business owners are part of the residency and gather to see the functionality working and to verify progress of the development teams.

A sprint is a promise and that promise is validated in short iterations.

The final week is filled with a sprint to the finish line. It ends with several events called Demo Day, where different stakeholders are presented the results of the residency in live demonstrations, to be covered in the final part three of this series.

Interested in more about the Open Innovation Labs? Then catch up on the part one in this series or stay tuned for the rest of this series examining the residency process.

* Note that when referring to a customer, I am also referring to our partners and the various opportunities that might be looking to become a customer.

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