I wrote about Redgate's Down Tools Week recently, where we suspend most work for a week and assemble teams to work on a project. It's amazing to me how many things come out of a week's worth of work from a team of 5-10 people.
While looking to see how other companies have done this, I ran across a few interesting posts. There is a consulting company, called Six Feet Up, that wrote a series of posts after running eleven ShipIt days, one a quarter. They seemed to enjoy the process, though I wonder if they still do them and have gotten tired or writing about them or they stopped.
Atlassian is the company that started this, running the days as 24 hour events where they provide resources to help teams work together. They work from Thursday afternoon until noon on Friday, at which point teams can present their project. The idea seems to be to foster some camaraderie, an exciting environment, and pressure to chase an idea. While some might see it as a chore, others see opportunity.
There seems to be a large amount of participation, and I'm sure this can be hard on those with families, but for one day a quarter, perhaps this might be fun. Atlassian has a lot of employees, and they've moved to remote ShipIt days, with some projects taking multiple ShipIt days across quarters. They have a fun video that shows some of the ways in which this hackathon works.
While I hope that people don't feel too pressured to join in, I also hope that most people relish the chance to tackle a project and make something happen in 24 hours.
This week, however, I wonder if many of you think you could get traction on an idea in 24 hours? Would you want a ShipIt day at your company, 24 hours, once a quarter? Or maybe you'd be interested in Redgate's model, one week a year.
Let us know today by leaving a comment.