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July 26, 2013

Getting ready for Factory Week: Behind the scenes

July 26, 2013

Factory Week is just around the corner. In fact, it starts on Monday. We are starting the week with about 25 projects on tap this time, and that number is sure to change as easy projects are quickly completed and more complex tasks are added to the roster.

As you would expect, a lot of planning goes into making Factory Week work. Project ideas pop up almost immediately as our winter edition rolls to a close, but in the two or three months prior to Factory Week, ideas really start to gain steam. We collect those ideas and put them on paper (okay… actually a Google Doc), assigning teams, designating team leads and whittling down the list to a manageable number of projects for the week. We are always ambitious with our project list, and this year is no exception. As Office Manager here at SmallBox, I have a lot to say about the logistics of all that project planning: the behind the scenes stuff, the details involved in pulling it all together.

This year some things will be done a little bit differently. First and foremost, we are holding Factory Week in our own building. In the past, we’ve said getting your team off-site and away from their desks was an integral part of what makes Factory Week work. We moved into our new offices back in May, and we are going to take this opportunity to see how the space really works and to utilize our huge collaboration space in the basement. But this will be easier said than done, as we don't have any extra furniture. So my first priority has been figuring out the seating situation. As luck would have it, we met with a party rental company months earlier to talk web design, and of course they instantly popped in my head. I called them up and quickly had 24 chairs and eight tables reserved. Parties normally happen in a single day, but they handled my week-long rental like true professionals and were very flexible with delivery and pick-up times. Ahhhh… it was a refreshingly easy arrangement.

Factory Week snacks

With tables and seats out of the way, it was time to move onto the important stuff: lunch! Lunch is usually the second question after all the projects have been determined, and as an avid planner, I’ve known what we would be having for lunch since about May (I actually know what we are having for lunch every Monday for the rest of this year). Planning lunch is a lot trickier than one might think. I want everyone to have something to look forward to, but I don’t want people walking away with food comas. I made a mistake at the winter Factory Week and ordered from new restaurants and always either over- or under-ordered. While the food was delicious and everyone walked away with full bellies, this time around I’m more seasoned, so old trusties it is! I know exactly what everyone likes to eat and just the right amounts to order. Also, every restaurant is located in Broad Ripple so I know I can easily pop out to pick up the food. 

Projects: check. Seats: check. Food: check. Now on to whiteboards! Every Factory Week starts with the team listing out our projects on a whiteboard so we can easily keep track of each project. We revisit this list every morning and do a midday recap at lunch time, so whiteboards are an important aspect. Our "lower collaboratorium" space (AKA "the LC") came with plenty of wall space but no white boards, so another "to-do" was added to the list! Kasey previously installed a handful of whiteboards in a conference room and work spaces, so he was able to help put them up again, although it was a bit trickier with concrete walls in the basement. Kasey for another win!

I think we are ready to tackle our summer edition, and I feel like we have just about everything lined up and ready to go. I am looking forward to sharing this great experience with our latest batch of newbies. Everyone on the team puts a lot of time and effort into making the week fantastic, memorable, and successful.

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