Results of Our First FedEx Day

FedEx A310 and A300 cargo aircraft fly daily f...

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I recently wrote about some planning that went into our first FedEx day.  Now that we have run this experiment, it is time to share the results.

The day started in a slightly chaotic manner as we were completing our move from our old offices.  However, we were able to quickly sort out some minor issues like power and get started more or less on time.

The initial brainstorming session went well and our team of 10 people generated a comprehensive list of over 30 items to consider, stretching from product enhancements and extremely useful features to process improvements and new product directions.  This was a great opportunity to unload all those things that had been sitting on our individual todo lists and get them out in the open for everyone to consider.

So how did we decide to spend our time?

  • a developer who had some difficulty initially getting his development environment set up spent his time looking at ways to simplify this setup using Maven
  • a tester who has been using the product daily and also evaluating competitor products put together a number of mockups to demonstrate where we could add more value to customers while also making it easier to find information
  • a new developer with different web experience than the rest of the team demonstrated a very useful navigation model for our app that addresses requests from a number of customers
  • a senior developer dove headlong into a major product enhancement that will prove useful internally as well as to customers and we now have a very good idea of how much work is needed to roll this out
  • our UI expert componentized a widget so it is now available for easy use elsewhere in the UI
  • our development VP mined our data model to produce diagrams in Visio, which a number of customers have asked about in recent calls
  • another developer tweaked some parts of the UI to experiment with UX enhancements

Positive takeaways:

  • renewed energy and confidence
  • 3 or more candidates for new product features
  • enough flexibility for great contributions by development, verification, and management team members
  • a commitment to do this again after the next release!

Things to consider for the next FedEx day:

  • move the brainstorming session up a few days to allow ideas to germinate before the actual day
  • encourage pairing up on some of the larger ideas to drive progress further
  • extending the time to more than one day to allow further exploration or completion of some ideas
  • try to put some breathing space between the completion of a release and the FedEx day to allow people’s minds to clear