Ship It Days, made in iAdvize

In 2013, iAdvize organised its first “Ship It Day”. The concept was originally thought up by Australian software company, Atlassian. The idea is to enable all employees to stop working on their usual everyday topics and tackle a project that can be shipped in 24 hours, which explains the original name “Fedex Days”. In October 2016, the 3rd edition of the iAdvize Ship It Days took place. 90 people took part in one of the 16 projects and in 48 jours, they all delivered a tangible result that either boosts efficiency, enhances the product or improves internal communication and integration.

The genesis

Florent, you brought the Ship It Day concept to iAdvize. Can you tell us what the objective is?

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It’s about sparking a moment of pure creativity by removing the usual processes, rules, silos and teams that are often necessary on a daily basis in an organisation. I think it’s a great way to encourage  innovation that can have a big impact on iAdvize’s future but it’s also about improving things on a daily basis by challenging some of our tools and habits.

Getting different people to work together: the best way to get to know someone and what they do, is building something with them, being faced with difficulties as a team, striving towards a common goal.

Back to the roots! Ship It Days are also about getting back to basics, to the startup spirit: you have to get yourself out of your comfort zone to deliver maximum value in a minimum amount of time (limited). It’s in these circumstances that we can observe the best results and beyond the tangible product, it’s like a booster shot to remind that you that anything is possible. 

Why is it good for the company?

A stronger feeling of belonging, impressive advances on a product level and the emergence of tools and behaviours that will create tangible and sustainable value for the company. But I also think that the concept works so well because of the people who work here and the strong culture.
 

Which project did you prefer this year?

Firstly, I was very impressed with the general quality of all the projects during this 2016 edition. A big majority of them are ready to be used with an excellent level of user experience and design… not easy to answer this question! But I did really like the Genius* Quest project because the concept is extremely simple, innovative and can be used by 100% of iAdvize employees. They did a great job at carrying through with their idea delivering a real product, available on iOS / Android. The impressive demo their gave was the cherry on top of the cake.
Florent, VP Product

The organisation team

Camille, Le, Johan, Kévin and Tim volunteered to organise the Ship It Day this year. They managed it all, from start to finish: the programme, the communication, the budget, food and drinks, goodies, collecting and displaying the project ideas and the prizes. The theme this year was ‘Sailors and pirates at sea’ inspired by one of our values, ‘ship the unsinkable’. They did a great job, bravo!

shipit team

Why did you want to organise the event this year and what did you get out of it?

I think that the projects that involve people from all departments are crucial for the iAdvize culture. That’s why I wanted to get involved. Huge efforts were made to deliver and present the projects in English, well done!

Camille, iAdvize English teacher

I wanted to take part so I could experience organising an internal event, working with people from other departments and getting involved in a project that forces me out of my comfort zone. What I got out of it? A little bit of stress and tiredness but mainly lots of satisfaction from seeing the projects finished, seeing my colleagues motivated, pride out of having been able to revive the hacker spirit at iAdvize. It was great to have this opportunity to spend time with lots of different people throughout these 48 hours, I only wish I’d managed to get even more people on board, especially from my own team.

Johan, Software Engineer

It’s a great chance to work with colleagues from other departments. I had already contributed to organising the previous editions and had really enjoyed it so I didn’t hesitate too long before signing up again!

Timothée, Creative Manager

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I wanted to take part in organising the Ship It Day to get a new experience and develop my skills. I’m a data scientist and I spend most of my time working on algorithms and programming.  This experience enabled me to see different things, to work with colleagues I don’t usually work with. It also gave me the opportunity to do something for other people and contribute to the company in a different way.

Le, Data scientist

signature-photo-kevinI threw myself into the organisation of this event because I wanted to contribute to the company in a different way. Why the Ship It Day in particular? Because I think the concept is awesome: hacking established rules / processes to ship a project within a limited amount of time. It’s a great opportunity to do something different and work with other people.

Kévin, Customer support angel

The projects

An “airbnb” application for employees, a semantic analysis feature, an internal crowd-funding application, a scrapbook with stickers of each employee, a graphic novel to tell the story of “Chatman”… We got to speak to the leaders of the two winning projects!

Nicolas, your team was awarded the judging panel’s prize, bravo! Can you tell us about your project, the ‘Genius Quest’ ? Why, how and the key to success?

Thanks! :) 6 years ago, iAdvize was just 2 guys, now there are 200 of us. Today, when you join the company, it can be slightly intimidating to go up to all the people you don’t know, get to know them, especially those in other teams. It’s based on this observation that we decided to create Genius Quest, a mobile app available on iOS and Android. Its objective is to demystify the integration process of new genies. The concept is pretty simple: give them fun photo challenges that all involve going to up to a colleague. This could be: have a coffee with an “oldbie”, eat chocolate with someone on the marketing team, take a selfie with the boss… Following all the positive feedback and also because one of our values is ‘join the party’, we decided to open the application up to all employees whether recently arrived or not :) To carry this project out in record time, we focused on a MVP (Minimum Viable Product), a first simple version that works. This meant we could give a proper live demo and captivate the audience. Over the next few weeks, we will take steps to improve the application.

Nicolas, Engagement Specialist

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Simon, your team got the most votes, you must be delighted! What did your project, the ‘Click to Video Rebirth’ achieve? Why was it so popular? What are the next steps?

signature-photo-simonHaha, yes it’s great, I’m really proud of the team! Our aim was to improve the video chat channel and to add new features because we believed that this channel is under-used by our customers and we think that it has huge potential. We succeeded in improving the way it works and even more; we also carried out a first series of tests within our mobile applications. I think this project appealed to people because it has a direct impact on the product and our positioning on the market. The next steps are to continue working on it in November during the Swarms breaks* to make the channel completely functional from a visitor perspective.

Simon, Product Manager

Julien, a last word?

signature-photo-julienDuring the Ship It Days, we hack the established, we design the unexpected, we ship the unsinkable, we delight the customer and we join the party! Our values are fully embodied during these 48 hours; these notions of questioning, creativity, efficiency and celebration are exactly what we encourage within the company on a daily basis.

Julien, CEO

Join the adventure.

génie* Why “Genius“? Now we might think iAdvize is pretty amazing but we are fully aware that we’re not all geniuses… This is the translation of the French word génie which has a double meaning in French: a genie and a genius. Now the genie used to be iAdvize’s mascot, answering people’s wishes in real-time! Here he is on the left. Although you will no longer see the genie in external communication, the translation “genius” has stuck for all things internal. Hope that helps!

* “swarm breaks” : the R&D department works in “swarms”, groups of people with complementary skills, each swarm focused on one of the roadmap’s objectives. These swarms change every 6 months. During these 6 months, the swarms stop every two months during 5 days to work on other projects!

mhobbs

Miranda is in charge of internal communications at iAdvize, where she started working 3 years ago, originally as communications officer for the UK market. She has a BA from UCL in languages and a masters degree in translation and communication from the ISIT school in Paris. Although her passport is British, she feels at home on the continent ;-) Intrigued by all things cross-cultural, disruptive and customer service-related.

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