If you haven’t heard about Factory Week you can learn more about it at www.factoryweek.com or just look some posts on this blog. In essence we took the entire company off premise for a week to work on internal projects. Don’t worry, we let our clients know well in advance and took care of anything urgent that came up during the week.
High level summary of Factory Week: it was awesome.
Will we do it again? Yes, every 6 months is the plan.
What were the goals going into Factory Week? 3 goals- get stuff done, build the team and create some buzz for SmallBox.
Did you accomplish these goals? Yes.
We went into Factory Week with 10 projects. These projects had been submitted, pitched and voted on by the team. Some of these projects are completely internal (re-organize and clean up our document templates) and others will be launching soon (our fun little social web app 5 Words).
Although we wish we could have “launched” more of the projects at the end of the week we quickly accepted that getting stuff started was a real victory. Planning is always the hard part. Sure, we only finished a few projects that week, but the unfinished projects will be easier to fit in around client work now that the path has been cleared.
We also realized that in our attempt to take some time off to work on ideas and possibly create some products that we may have created a product in Factory Week. Maybe Factory Week is a product itself? Why not facilitate Factory Weeks for other organizations? We are looking to explore this idea after our next Factory Week in December. Would love to hear your thoughts on this idea.
I threw a wrap party at my house Friday night. As we all talked about the week I could sense how much we had moved the team needle. In between beers, cannonballs and backflips we all discussed what a great experience it had been. It felt like the last day of camp even though we would all be seeing each other Monday. I kept thinking- man, I’m really lucky to be working with all these great people!
Looking back after a couple weeks I do feel we have created and sustained new ways of thinking and collaborating. We forged new synapses in the hive mind. I am confident that the trust level between the team increased dramatically. We are more willing to hold each other accountable, ask hard questions and have heated debates without worrying about hurt feelings.
I realize our gains will be tested and some will be lost. I’m ok with that. But I think we will look back and say “well that was before Factory Week.” It was a game changer and we can't wait for the next one.