The Agile Tribe

A FedEx Style Day

on August 3, 2010

Author: Deb Mahoney

There were a couple of people who have asked me recently about what a FedEx day was as they had heard that my team had recently run one. Well I will say that we did conduct a “FedEx style” event to help us to improve our understanding of Agile and to address technical debt issues.

A FedEx type event is based around ideas from Google and Atlassian (a great Australian company) and is intended to provide participants with an opportunity to think outside the box and to work on issues that are not part of their current work backlog. Additionally, it gives participants a way of practicing their agile techniques by planning and completing a number of iterations in rapid succession. The name ‘FedEx’ is intended to emphasise the rapid nature of the event and the focus on delivery.

So what did we do and how did we plan it?
About 2 weeks prior to the actual event, ideas were proposed on the team’s wiki and collaboratively edited to refine the scope and potential benefits. Of the 14 ideas proposed the list was reduced to 4 based on preferential voting. Cross functional teams were then formed.

The Day Before
A planning session was held to finalise the teams and ensure there was a practical balance of skills (BA, Dev, Test) and to identify resources (desks, seating, computers, software, …) needed to ensure that all team members were able to get a clean start the next morning.

The Day Itself
The teams worked on their topics throughout the day with most teams completing at least 3 full Agile iterations. Some of the Agile techniques used were Stand Ups, Story Walls, Retrospectives, Iteration and Release Planning, Requirements as Stories, Early and Exploratory Testing, Automated Build, Code Metrics and more. By late in the day most teams had working software and were well advanced in preparing for the following day’s showcase.

The Day After
Final touches (and in some cases code changes) were made followed by a showcase session where each team presented what they had achieved. The audience then voted and a clear winner emerged.

The Winner
The winning team developed and matured an existing tool to automate an otherwise manual and burdensome task. The tool provided a capability for bulk updates thereby significantly reducing the time involved to resolve statuses. Since then the tool has become part of the Support team’s set of working tools.

This isn’t the only way to run a FedEx day and I would also recommend that you have a look at Craig Smith’s blog who outlines what he called a Developer Day and as usual Craig provides heaps of terrific sites/videos and other resources to help you out with understanding of FedEx Days.

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One response to “A FedEx Style Day

  1. Love this concept! Can’t wait till our team does the same. It just demonstrates what can be achieved in a day when a team works together.

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