In November, our Tampere office organised Ambientia’s 11th ShipIt Day. Colleagues from our Turku office joined the event as well. Because we were familiar with the event formula from past experience, we only needed one preparation session to select the ShipIt Day projects. When work began, the following projects emerged:
- Clustering support for a very large Grails project
- RPM packaging for Magento Enterprise Edition
- GitHub Page implementation to our internal network via Jekyll
- New Jira and Confluence Conference site with a Brikit theming add-on
- New UI for the server list software that we are using to report and modify virtual machine properties
- Improved toolbox for UX concept work
- Splunk integration to the server list
- New UI and implementation for this blog
Failures and Successes
Most of our previous ShipIt Day projects were successfully completed. This time, however, we encountered actual failures. The reasons for these failures were obvious to experienced IT professionals: certain licences were not delivered, causing projects to be delayed, and the work required to accomplish enterprise-software packaging was grossly miscalculated. Fortunately, we learned much from these mistakes—that is, after all, one of the leading objectives of ShipIt Day.
On Thursday morning, the day began as a typical ShipIt Day. There were concentrated programmers and occasional talks, but there was nothing of interest to report—just coding. By Thursday night, the programmers’ excitement had grown; kids didn’t need to be picked up from day-care, and wives gave their men permission to code late into the evening. The programmers consumed their food quickly, treating it as necessary fuel for the coding work. A couple of the programmers remained at work almost until midnight, but still reappeared at the office quite early the next morning. When the projects were presented, two failed, but the others were evidence of real achievements.
Billable ShipIt Day Time
This ShipIt Day had an interesting twist! A couple of our developers had informed our clients about ShipIt Day and the ideas they were going to experiment with. The clients thought found the ideas so valuable, they allowed the programmers’ time to be billed to their accounts. Now that is a development partnership—the Ambientia’s internal investment in ShipIt Day was partially covered by the clients! I did not influence the discussions in any way; the developers and clients reached the decision on their own.
We again held a company-wide vote to determine who had presented the most outstanding project. The results were clear: Jarkko and Konsta’s new layout for this blog, received most of the votes.
The layout has now been applied to this blog so that you can see the direct benefits of ShipIt Day.
Again, ShipIt Day XI was worth all the effort and time. We learned plenty, and we were able to experiment with the many ideas that had been floating in the backs of our minds. Therefore, we plan to organise at least three ShipIt Days for 2014, which I am confident will yield similarly successful results.