ShipIt Day – What is It?
We at Bananatag asked ourselves the same thing when we first heard about it. After scrambling for the nearest postage stamps, discovered that ShipIt Day is a 24-hour period where you get a team together and collaborate to build something that you wouldn’t normally work on (while stuffing your face full of snacks).
While we take full credit for the projects that we schemed up, we didn’t come up with the idea of ShipIt Day ourselves. The idea originates from Atlassian’s FedEx Day, named in the spirit of the shipping conglomerate’s 24-hour shipping mandate.
The sky is the limit when it comes to ShipIt Day projects. Want a drone to serve as your portable coffee pot? Sure! Need a motor-assisted office chair scooter? Why not? It doesn’t have to be company-related, so long as your project relates back to your team, office or culture.
At the end of the 24-hour period, each team presents their project to the office and you choose a winner!
Some of Our Favourites
Our teams in Kelowna and Vancouver both had some pretty neat ideas! Here are a few of our favourites:
- Arcade Coffee Table (the Vancouver office winner) – Tabletop turned arcade setup, with room for coasters!
- Bathroom Monitor – Check right from your desk on the bathroom status. Is it free? Is it occupied? Stress less and know before you go.
- Banana Bang Bang – Not for the faint of heart, this app-based game brings banana duelling to the next level, and
- Drink Dolly – solving a problem we didn’t know we had and delivering drinks in style
How to Plan a ShipIt Day
Autonomy, self-organization and creativity are the guiding principles of ShipIt Day. But to make sure those principles can be put to work, it does take a bit of planning. For our first ShipIt Day, we attempted to follow the guidelines proposed by Atlassian.
In reality, it shook out like this:
1. Pitch an idea
We created a Google Form where anyone could submit ideas for ShipIt Day projects, no matter how weird, crazy or ambitious.
2. Pick a Team
Once we collected everyone’s ideas, we loaded them onto a spreadsheet and everyone self-selected which teams they wanted to work on.
3. Outline the Project
Once teams were (mostly) settled, we were required to submit an outline of our project for supplies and budget approval.
4. Get to Work
And finally, at 2pm on Thursday, we got down to business. Some of the more reasonable people went home at five, while some, fuelled by pizza and pizzaz, worked well into the evening.
5. Present Your MVP
Instead of presenting at 2pm, we pushed our deadline to 4pm, which gave us 26 hours in total. At that time we had to present our MVP (minimum viable product) to everyone. Connected by live-stream, we were able to see and celebrate what everyone worked on across offices.
Once all the projects were presented, we chose a winner for each office. The winning project got a sweet Amazon gift-card that was split between the winning team.
And the winner is...
Everyone pitched in and there were some pretty creative ideas. Ultimately, the winning idea from the Kelowna office was a voice-activated scorekeeping app for our intense weekly table tennis tournaments. The app, appropriately named Tallie, uses voice-activated tallying to keep score for you. Eric (the engineering mastermind behind the project) built in profiles for each user so we can compare metrics against our colleagues. He even coded Tallie in a British voice - making it all that much more legit.
- Eric (engineering)
- Alex (creative team)
- Moe (creative team)
Planning for the Next ShipIt Day – What We Learned for Next Time
This was a great learning curve for our team, and while it was a bunch of fun we learned that planning goes a long way for events like this. So, our key takeaways from our first ShipIt Day were:
Organize ahead of time
Don’t leave it until the last day of the quarter *cough*
Set realistic goals
Some of our projects took only an hour or so (which is fine), others were lofty and would have been completed if we’d started a week early!
Some of our projects were technical and required special tools or systems to build. Having a project portfolio where everyone can contribute is key.
In the end, it was totally worth it. We were able to collaborate across departments, bond over our special skills and get creative. We recommend ShipIt Day to any business that wants to inspire people to step out of their comfort zones, collaborate and build an engaging company culture. You never know what your talented colleagues will come up with and what you can accomplish