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@cbp - I agree with you that it takes a motivated person or team. As far as I know, I'm the only one out of my team that has the desire and motivation to take on 'skunkworks projects' ... two of which have now turned into major initiatives for our department or company and we're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on hardware for them. But I've got a personal history of running skunkworks projects that turn into big deals; I did it at every job I've had except the one where I worked at a major university in an overemployed-by-regulation department. There I slept in my chair most of the afternoon.... It's not an official company policy at my current company to allow this kind of project/work. I simply take the time; in the context of the "120%" concept from Google. Since good things come out of it and I keep getting awarded for it the second I show progress on something useful, I suppose I'll keep doing it. I do take exception with those that say that this time is only for coming up with ideas. I think it's also for scratching itches that management won't allow you to scratch on official time. For instance, we've got (at last count) 6,882 Nagios checks across less than 150 servers. We collect performance data with a different platform, collect logfiles with another completely different platform and parse a very small amount of them in any usable way, and we don't have anything in place for tracking actual application performance except 'gut feel' and some basic statistics. Nagios works in the sense that it alerts us when stuff breaks; it's just crude and scratchy and ill-fitting. That last problem has been identified by management and someone's working on it part time, but I stole some hardware resources and am now working with that person on finding one solution that will do all four things we need.
Toggle Commented Aug 5, 2012 on Today is Goof Off at Work Day at Coding Horror