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Six Feet Up's Fifth FedEx Day Yields 13 Successful Projects

November 10, 2011

What is FedEx Day

The idea for FedEx Day comes from the book Drive, by Daniel Pink, which looks at what truly motivates us. A FedEx Day allows team members to select a project of their choice that they can deliver overnight. Often it is a project that has been pushed to the backburner repeatedly or it is something that adds value but is not necessary for the daily function of the office. The main requirement is that it must benefit the company.

How It Works

We usually suspend regular activities from 3pm on Thursday to 4pm on Friday, allowing individuals and small teams to concentrate their efforts on their FedEx Day projects. All meals are provided, and the office is open overnight. On Friday afternoon, we gather to share our accomplishments, and we vote on the 3 best projects.

This 5th FedEx Day, 13 projects were delivered in a 24 hour period!

Team Alphabet

Michelle created a project management training guide to ease new account managers into their role at Six Feet Up. This training guide will assist new account managers with learning the "Flex6" project management process within the company. Michelle included a project simulation with action items to provide hands-on training while explaining each process.

Team FileOrganizerPro

Jen worked on organizing the accounting department files, many of which were the the same types of documents but were located in several different places.  By organizing, labeling and filing, work is completed on time, bills are paid on time and the possibility of paying for something twice is eliminated.  Having an organized space will eliminate clutter and make searching much more efficient

Team Forecast

Lauren worked on creating enhanced internal reporting to support strategic decision making. By using available data from various tools at Six Feet Up, Lauren created new templates for reporting and communicating our quarterly sales forecast and resource demand forecast. This will enable the team to have the necessary data needed to support mission critical decisions in an efficient and effective manner.

Team GetDown/Automate

PMPanel Logo

Calvin, Chrissy and Thomas worked together to build a web application that will assist the Project Managers in generating proposals and dynamic wireframes.  Together, these apps create a product called PMPanel, aka "PiMP".

The Getdown section of the PMPanel offers a drag and drop Ajax interface to create and edit proposals and convert them from a convenient, pre-written, version-controlled markdown form, to a ready-to-be-sent PDF. The Automate section allows for one click merging of Trac estimates with Omnigraffle wireframe files.

Team Git

David worked to centralize a Git server setup to be the canonical point for pushing changes to and pulling updates from, for internal projects. Progress was made towards hooking authorization and access control into the internal LDAP server and the steps needed to setup the web front end were documented.

Team HotSpot


Kyle created a concept design for an outdoor courtyard to be utilized by employees and neighbors of Six Feet Up during lunch and business hours.  The overall intent for the design was to create a tranquil environment for potential users that could remain functional for day to day use and inviting during all seasons.

The project site is located immediately behind the Six Feet Up building and adjacent to the alley.  Access to the courtyard is provided by an additional run of stairs attached to the existing metal staircase, a gated entry off the alley, and an emergency exit for the first floor tenants.  The courtyard design includes a lounge area complete with tables and chairs, an outdoor kitchen, and a fireplace with integrated water fountains as a focal feature.  In addition, the courtyard is spanned by a removable fabric shade for protection from the weather and is completely enclosed by a brick wall or optional planted border, for privacy and security.

Kyle received a silver award for his excellent work. Congrats!


Team Marketing

A new team is born...

Gabrielle, Carol, Amanda, Mohamed and Mark were very productive as they developed a plan to increase the company's web traffic, finalized the content of several case studies, crafted a new slick aimed at our Life Sciences clients and designed a new banner display for Six Feet Up's booth at the upcoming Healthcare Internet Conference. Team Marketing also worked on internal marketing projects and researched schwag ideas.

Team Marketing finished third. Kudos to all the great deliverables produced in such a short time!

Team Skeletor

Cris managed to push out a new release of Zopeskel, 2.21.2, with improvements from Mikko Ohtamaa and Alex Clark.  He also released alpha versions of templer.zope and templer.plone, a new alpha version of templer.buildout and a new beta of templer.core.  Cris also released a brand-new 3.0 alpha version of ZopeSkel built on the new templer functionality.  Six new releases in 24 hours!  Wheee!

Team Skeltron

Clayton worked on updating the internal paster templates that were still based on ZopeSkel 2.14 (almost 2 years old). Our sixieskel code fell behind after the great work that was done at the BBQ sprint. We are now basing our templates off of the new templer.core package, and have taken the same approach to splitting up our templates. The results of this work can be seen up on GitHub.

Team Timber

Steve and Chad worked on setting up a new centralized log server, with an eye toward systematic real-time log watching.  Syslog-ng OSE was deployed to a new server, along with Simple Event Correlator (SEC).  SEC provides the ability to filter log messages in real-time, as well as correlate log events, and generate notifications (e.g., email) for certain events.  Basic log filtering rules (with notifications) were implemented as a proof of concept.  This system will be evaluated for future use on all SixFeetUp infrastructure.

Team Trac Dashboard

Ron, Christine and Lucie made improvements to Trac (Six Feet Up's ticket and wiki system). These modifications will assist our scheduler and provide more information at a glance for account managers. A plugin was added to allow totals on columns displaying hours estimated, hours spent and hours remaining on the ticket query view. A new field was added to tickets so links to wireframes can be linked to easily. Additionally, columns were added on the table display of child tickets within the parent ticket view.


Team Watchful Eye

Luke and Lars worked to improve our internal network monitoring processes by deploying OpsView, a best of breed network monitoring system.  This will replace the Zenoss monitor we have run for the last four years. Also deployed alongside OpsView is a StatusNet micro-blogging server, which in conjunction with OpsView, is being used to provide insight for account managers to keep a finger on the pulse of their customer's servers.
Team Watchful Eye received a Gold Award for their work. Congrats!

Team Voting Machine

Though not an official FedEx Day team or project, Clayton and Chrissy worked on a Pyramid-based web application that allowed the team to vote on the FedEx Day projects.  This replaced our normal process of using SurveyMonkey. The benefit of creating a custom web app is to make viewing the voting results instant, instead of having to compile the scores while we all waited. The product is in beta form and Clayton has more plans for functionality, but the code is available on GitHub.


The next Six Feet Up FedEx Day will be held at the beginning of January. Six Feet Up invites other local businesses to join in the event to work on long-term strategic projects and increase employees satisfaction through independence and ownership.

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