Mister blue sky is living here today…..

…..hey hey

I love my job and I love being a tester.

I’m driven by new things, continuous change, new ideas, new approaches


…..but, somehow also settled by routine, familiarity and confidence in the known.

This is the chasm in which I exist, and I don’t want to change it. If I stand still, I will get bored, disconnect and be uninspired.


When talking about where you work and what you do – if you like where you work, how do you sell it?

I’ve seen a couple of talks at conferences by Kristian Karl, and he very nicely articulates the Spotify Model, sharing with us how they work at Spotify, something that he buys into.

The reason I attend talks are to hear different ideas, experiences and lessons learned. What can inspire me to find new ways to work in my setting? Even if my organisation is nothing like Spotify, what can I learn and be inspired to take back with me?

Incidentally, I have a terrible Spotify playlist that is populated entirely with the songs that I use the lyrics from for my post titles. You can find it in the menu or here.

Last year, my company made a recruitment video and I was a part of it. We were asked to talk about various things that make working where we are an enjoyable experience, to sell our company to prospective applicants.

One thing that we can sell working here is the use of Blue Sky time [from around 1:49].

And this is one thing that I have found intrigues many of my peers that I meet, so here is my take on what Blue Sky time is for us, how I and others have used it and why I think it is something that could be beneficial for you and your organisation.

Blue Sky?

work on inspirational projects either as part of a team or individually.

From <https://jobs.picotech.com/vacancies/software-engineer1>

We give everyone in development the opportunity to take a day each sprint (we have two week sprint cycles) to use for Blue Sky time.

This comes in many different forms, such as:

  • learning a new coding language
  • studying for a certification
  • taking courses
  • attending webinars
  • creating presentations to share ideas, thoughts
  • developing an idea, proposal
  • try different things out
  • collaborate on work that isn’t on sprint
  • writing a blog (….that you’re reading, thanks by the way)

How is it organised?

There is a lot of freedom to choose what we do.

We hold quarterly ‘town hall meetings’ where we can discuss all together what is and isn’t working. We have regular 1:1s where we can discuss things we might want to try and even seek funding for. We submit short weekly reports, where we include what we’ve been working on. And, we are encouraged, if possible to share our findings or find ways to implement what we’ve done into our work culture.

We also have a physical Blue Sky Board. On the board, people can show what they’re working on, what they might want to work on or even ideas that they have, but can’t work on. People from other departments are encouraged to take a look and even suggest ideas.

Any successes?



  • New products and software features have come to market as a result of this time
  • Processes have been improved
  • Automation has had a kick start, or refinement
  • New tools and ways of working have been introduced
  • My blog happened as a result of this time. I have been able to share not only with my testing colleagues, but other colleagues and the wider world, what has inspired me, what we have experienced, what testing is and how we think it could or even should be

Why should you consider it where you work?

Creative people thrive and are engaged and have something different to get their teeth into. Given the time and resource to make idea into a reality – not everything that goes into the sprint backlog can be, but having that time to kindle the fire can only be healthy. Exploration is in our human nature and nurturing this is healthy and essential to stimulate the creativity required in development.

So it’s foolproof?

It is not.

Sometimes I have struggled to engage fully in an idea.

Sometimes I am uninspired.

I have had times when there was a pressing need to do ‘the day job’.

It is ok to fail, not complete things, not every idea bears fruit.

Alex Circei used a nice diagram in his blog Overcome Self-Doubt.


It would be boring if it was easy and straightforward anyway.

I would encourage you to give it a try, if you can’t do it at work, why not set aside a regular slot to try something out in your own time?

Blog post title lyrics from: Mr. Blue Sky – by Electric Light Orchestra.

Find all the songs from my blog posts at this Spotify playlist.


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