It was a clear sunny day and the Campaign Monitor office was a buzz with a special energy you find on extraordinary days we call “ShipIt.”
ShipIt is significant at Campaign Monitor because it provides a chance for individuals and teams to take a step back from their everyday work and try something new. It’s an idea we borrowed from our pals at Atlassian a few years ago and it’s been so successful that we’ve been doing it twice a year ever since.
How does ShipIt work?
ShipIt is all about innovation and creativity in a short period of time. It’s an opportunity for individuals and teams across all business functions and locations (given we have offices in Sydney, San Francisco, and remote offices around the world) to work together to innovate and create. It’s a collaborative experience in which people aren’t limited to their normal role and where they can try doing some design, development, marketing, or something else they want to give a go.
About a week in advance, we use our internal Wiki to propose ideas for ShipIt projects. Basic ideas and needed team members are outlined and then presented in an informal ShipIt kickoff meeting via a Lifesize video call so everyone can be seen and heard.
Once teams and ideas are agreed upon, and ShipIt day arrives, teams have 24 hours to complete their projects from end-to-end. At the conclusion of the 24 hours, each team presents their work to the rest of the company. Each participating team is allowed only 3 minutes to present their work.
What are the goals of ShipIt?
- Foster creativity. Get smart people doing what they do so well.
- Scratch itches. Fix that long-standing issue that is annoying.
- Spike. Often, radical ideas don’t get traction because we don’t understand how they’d work or what benefit they’d provide.
- Have fun.
How do you “win” ShipIt?
Winners are decided in 3 categories:
- Most Popular
- Best Product Idea
- Best Technical Innovation
Winning teams receive an ice cream or donut party (depending on the time zone) + money to donate to charity and of course, bragging rights!
ShipIt fine print
There’s no obligation on the company to “ship” any of the projects created during ShipIt. However, it’s an awesome way of generating ideas that the team can use for planning future work. Many successful ShipIt projects have made their way to the mainstream to be included in internal and customer facing products.
How ShipIt went
The latest ShipIt was a rousing success with 15 innovative projects worked on in just 24 hours by a multitude of cross-functional and cross-location teams.
Nearly the entire company was part of ShipIt either participating on teams or providing an audience for the presentations and taking part in the public vote for winners.
And they clearly loved it from feedback like this:
Love the great ideas and collaboration that happens with this event. They just keep getting better.
It was amazing seeing people stop their everyday tasks and be a part of an exciting team they might have never worked with before!
I love getting the opportunity to work with people in other teams. It’s such a great way to build relationships and better understand what other people do.
Presentations were creative, engaging, and produced many plans that were “code-ready” which means able to be released, so as we say, “ShipIt!”
Has your company participated in a ShipIt style event and what were your outcomes?