Working time is most often spent on email management, meetings and conversations around the topics your team is working upon at the moment. Your focus is on ticking off issues on your to-do list and naturally as you proceed your day you change your focus numerous times. A good day when you have been really efficient and have ticked off many issues from your list you feel really great! However, this way of working is not optimal for exploring new solutions. In order to do that you need to work some other way.
In the design team of Projectplace, we had for a long time felt we could do better design if only we could spend more time exploring new ideas on a regular basis. We realized we needed to do something different and discovered a concept that Australian company Atlassian called FedEx days. We decided to try it out.
The idea of a FedEx day is simple: If you want, take a day off normal work and work on whatever you want, wherever you want and document it in whatever way you want.
What you work on during the day should have something to do with your business, and the focus of our FedEx days is to explore future user experiences of our product. The resulting concepts can be documented in many ways e.g. usage scenarios, paper design mock-ups, presentation slides, clickable prototypes or even pixel perfect mock-ups of future user interfaces. Any format is fine.
What does matter is that you can present your concept to the rest of the team the following day. Like the shipping company FedEx, we also deliver the next day, hence the name.
The presentation meeting is relaxed, fun and at most 30 minutes. Each presenter do their presentation in whatever way they want, normally a few minutes each. Excitement at these meetings is high sharing ideas of what the future could be like is fun. It is amazing to see what great ideas we all can come up with in a short time, if only we get the chance. The meetings usually lead to an energy boost in the team, which makes you believe that anything is possible!
What happens next? The concepts are posted on the office walls and in intranet forums so that the rest of the company can take part and get their share of them if they want.
But there is no pressure for results. The important thing is that we have fun and feel more committed at work. That is what matters in the long run. The fact that many of the FedEx concepts have implications on the ongoing projects or the long-term product development priorities is just a bonus.
Are you ready to unleash the power of FedEx days? It is easy to get started. Just schedule it in your teams calendar and try it out! You will be amazed by the effects it will have on your workplace.