This year was the third time we celebrated FedEx Day. And just what is FedEx Day and what’s its purpose? As a matter of fact, it was on just such a FedEx Day that we heard about the idea for our new game, Sprinkfield, from one of our coworkers who came up with it in the first place.
Now we did not invent FedEx Day. We first read about the idea in Daniel H. Pink’s book Motivation 3.0. The idea originates with the Atlassian Company, who have since renamed it ShipltDay. FedEx Day is a 24-hour programming event that gives developers precisely one day to come up with something. Something in connection with what their company produces. They can create the plugin of their choice, rethink a user interface or redesign a feature from scratch. The results of the day must then be built into a product so that they can reach users.
We liked the idea from the start, but we also saw that we would have to shape it to our own needs. We don’t have any boxed products, so we thought that on our FedEx Day, developers would be able to compete with anything software-related.
We had our third FedEx Day just this year. We’ve set the rules and refined the map of the day. Developers can compete in teams of 2 or 3.
Over the course of the day, competitors share dinner, breakfast and lunch, take drinks and play a game to refresh themselves at midnight. After breakfast, which follows a sleepless night, all participants are invited to do a bit of sports and then have one last stretch of brainwork left until lunch. After lunch, competitors get a chance to prepare their presentations and add the finishing touches to their work. Following the presentations, all teams evaluate the projects of the other teams according to five aspects: creativity, practicality, complexity, execution, quality of the presentation. The winning team gets a small recognition of their achievement: a cup, an extra day off, a certificate, cake and lot’s of respect. We have encountered many different ideas over the course of three years. Some were geared towards making our everyday lives easier, others were highly theoretical.
Here are a few examples our developers came up with:
- Liquibase plugins for NetBeans
- guitar tab application
- Webstar intranet
- pizza-slicer application
- “air-vent” game that later became a real puzzle game (Sprinkfield)
- android game
- music notation software
- The Game of Life
Why have we been at it for three years?
We enjoy the healthy sense of competition that is a Hallmark of FedEx Day. Our coworkers get to incorporate their hobbies into their work, team members grow closer together, and we encounter interesting new ideas that can later turn into projects. And last but not least, FedEx Day is a heck of a lot of fun!