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Innovation + Competition = Happy Engineers

By February 27, 2012 No Comments

You may have heard that we’re kicking off our first annual Daxko Lab Days this week. Wondering what that is? I asked the head organizer, Will S., for the full scoop…

WHO: All Daxko software engineers have the opportunity to pick one of nine different projects planned to work on. We estimate that almost everyone will participate.

WHAT: Daxko Lab Days is our first innovation competition. The goal is to get something completely finished in one week that can deliver value to our customers or our internal teams.

HOW: For the week of February 27 through March 2, Daxko software engineers will be taking a break from their day-to-day to work on a variety of innovative projects.

WHY: Lab Days are an example of our commitment to experimentation and innovation. A lot of times in the daily grind of our regular projects, it can be difficult to justify the risk of experimenting with new technology, or a different design pattern, or a completely different way of looking at a problem. Lab Days gives our team members a chance to take those risks in pursuit of doing something they are personally motivated to see get done.

Besides generating some great new features and internal tools, Lab Days has some soft benefits, too, for our team members…

  • It lets our team members flex their leadership muscles more. Each team is organized by a person with an idea— team leads haven’t been involved in deciding the teams or the ideas, so everything is grassroots-led.
  • Team members get to try on different hats. We’re all about career development at Daxko, and for many of our team members, that includes lateral moves into different disciplines. Lab Days gives people a chance to walk in the shoes of another discipline so that they can figure out if it really is somewhere they want to take their career. We might see designers coding, or testers designing, or developers serving as product managers for any given project.
  • People get to work with folks they don’t often work with. As a scrum development organization, we recognize and honor the value of keeping teams together— as people build a product together, they also build a team, and dismantling a team after every project would throw away all of that team dynamics growth. But there’s a downside— things can get stale and complacent. Sometimes you need to work with another set of personalities for a little bit just to shake things up and make you reconsider how you look at the world.
  • It’s just fun! We’re working hard to keep a lot of positive energy and buzz around Lab Days— not just in Engineering, but across the entire company. I’m really excited about what we’re doing. We know we’re going to learn a lot, and I’m sure that  our future Lab Days events will look a little different as we adapt to what we learn, but I expect that, over time, Lab Days will become one of those things that makes Daxko special.

Be sure to check back to see what happens. On Friday afternoon there will be a company-wide vote to determine who becomes our first Daxko Lab Days winner!

On your mark, get set, INNOVATE!

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