Last month our workplace in Brisbane held a Ship-It Day. This is special event which allows employees to work on whatever they want over a two-day period (Thursday morning till Friday afternoon, in our case) – so long as your idea assists the business in some way, with a number of charity ideas also permitted. This is then followed by a presentation to all staff, with a team of judges asking questions and awarding points.
Four colleagues and I decided to join in – forming a team to compete against ten other teams in our organisation. After two long days (and nights) of work on a comparison-style website (complete with marketing plan & promotions video), presentation time rolled around and, well… our team won! The prize was a trip to Melbourne to take part in REAio (a Ship-It Day run by the company behind realestate.com.au).
REAio Day 1
I recently arrived back from REAio in Melbourne, so I thought I’d take you through my experience. Held at REA’s headquarters in Richmond, an organisation that has been using Agile in all parts of their business for many years, REAio was a fascinating collection of seminars (‘Spark Sessions’), events, ideas and people.
Myself and team members from “Stroll4Stroke” working hard on Day 1 at REAio.
The organisation itself has an amazing environment and culture – a real “start-up” vibe, despite having many hundreds of employees and being around for over a decade. Employees have access to some amazing technology in a fantastic, casual environment that promotes creativity and collaboration.
After arriving, we were given a tour of some of the office and work environments, followed by an introduction to the 25-odd teams and what they were working on. It was up to us whether we watched or took part, but we all wanted to join in – so we decided to join a group that aligned with our skillsets; web design, graphic design, marketing & video.
The team we joined was called Stroll4Stroke. The idea was to create a website, app & donation platform for Sam – an REA employee who had suffered a stroke and was planning to walk around the entire circumference of Australia to raise money for stroke victims.
By the time we’d completed the tour, learnt about the various team ideas and sat in on a Spark Session, it was already after lunchtime, so we decided to jump right in and join the Stroll4Stroke team – with Sam designing a logo, Nick developing a marketing & SEO/advertising plan, Sukhi programming the payments API for donations, Stefan hunting down appropriate images & colour palettes, Christian organising the team, tickets & tasks – and for me, filming an editing a video to tell Sam’s story to the world.
The other team members from REA assisted with website setup & development, and two volunteers from Orange Sky Laundry developed a Android app that Sam can use to GPS-map his walk (with geo-tagged photos) as he ventures around Australia later this year.
REAio Day 2
Day 2 of REAio involved finalising the video, designing & printing posters + shirts, and finishing off any remaining tasks on the media plan and website. At 3pm, the “Marketplace” kicked off – with hundreds of REA employees (and guests such as ourselves) visiting the ‘stands’ that each team had setup to spruik their idea to everyone as they stopped by. Think noisy, chaotic, action-packed bazaar and you have the right idea!
Upon entry to the Marketplace, we’d all received three ‘tokens’ that we could use to vote for the team, or teams, that we wanted to win… with the winner being the team with the most tokens at the end of the event. This was then followed by an awards presentation.
As we had a plane to catch back to Brisbane that night, we left early …however, we did receive some wonderful news upon landing back in Brisbane. Our team had come first in the REAio Charity category – and our team received second place overall (out of all teams)! What a fantastic way to top off a great event. Check out the finished product online at www.stroll4stroke.com.au.
Thanks to everyone at REA for welcoming us with such open arms. It was amazing to see how well the organisation uses Agile on a large scale, and we’ll no-doubt return to work on Monday with a new zest and vigour for further Agile adoption in our respective teams (in my case, Marketing) – and thank you to my team-mates for an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Here’s to the next Ship-It Day!
Here are a number of additional photos from REAio…