We’ve devoted the week of August twenty second to a model new inner initiative known as Construct Week. We’ll all be placing apart our common work for a single week to come back collectively in small teams and work on concepts that may profit clients or us as an organization, ideally with one thing of worth shipped or in place by the top.
The inspiration for Construct Week
Earlier than constructing Buffer, I had a number of formative experiences attending “construct a startup in a weekend”-type occasions.
Two I attended have been run by Launch48, and one other was Startup Weekend. Anybody might signal as much as attend it doesn’t matter what ability set or expertise stage they might carry. So long as you have been keen to roll up your sleeves, construct one thing, and contribute in any manner, you’d be very welcome.
The main focus was on constructing one thing quickly from finish to finish, throughout the area of a weekend. Groups could be capped to a small quantity, round three to 5 folks per crew, so the teams might transfer rapidly with choice making. As soon as the groups have been shaped, you’d get to work and begin doing analysis, constructing, and advertising and marketing (usually all in parallel) to maneuver as quick as doable in constructing a minimal viable product and reaching a stage of validation.
On the finish of the weekend, groups would current what they achieved, what they validated, and what they discovered.
By means of these occasions, I met folks, shaped sturdy bonds, and stayed involved for years with them afterward. Some groups even turned startups. It felt like extremely accelerated studying, and it was intense however enjoyable, very energizing and provoking.
I’ve been desirous about how this might translate to Buffer and why it could be so highly effective for us in our present season, which is the place Construct Week is available in.
What’s Construct Week?
Construct Week is per week at Buffer the place we’ll type groups, work with folks we don’t usually work with, and work collectively on an concept we really feel known as in direction of.
The best stage targets of Construct Week are to inject into the corporate and crew a spirit of transport, creativity, and innovation, making progress and selections quickly, consolation with uncertainty, and finally going from concept to usable worth out on this planet within the area of per week.
On the subject of the kind of tasks we’ll work on and the ability units required to perform them, the purpose is for these to be far-reaching. Whereas it could appear to be Construct Week could be extra suited to engineers particularly, our purpose is to realize the result that everybody realizes they’re and generally is a Builder.
Finally, being a Builder in Buffer Construct Week will imply that you’re a part of a crew that efficiently makes a change that brings worth, and it occurs within the brief interval of per week. Everybody on the crew has one thing to carry to this purpose, and I am excited by the assorted tasks that shall be labored on.
How we’re approaching Construct Week
With our high-level imaginative and prescient and concepts for Construct Week, a number of months in the past we started working to carry this idea to life and make it occur.
The very first thing we did was type a crew to plan and design Construct Week itself. Staying true to our imaginative and prescient for Construct Week itself, the place we need to have small groups of people that don’t usually work collectively, that is additionally how we approached forming the Construct Week Planning crew. With this crew in place, we began assembly weekly. Total, it has been a small time dedication of 45 minutes per week to plan and design Construct Week. As we acquired nearer to the precise week, we began assembly for longer and having actual working periods.
Our last design for Construct Week consisted of three key phases: Concept Gathering, Crew Formation and Construct Week.
For the Concept Gathering stage, we created a Trello board the place anybody within the crew might contribute an concept. We used voting and commenting on the playing cards, which helped slim the concepts to those who could be labored on throughout Construct Week. We gave folks just a few days to submit concepts and obtained 78 whole contributions. This was an enormous win and a transparent indication of an enormous urge for food for Construct Week throughout the firm.
The Crew Formation stage was a trickier downside to unravel and decide the method for. Initially, we had hoped that this might be totally natural, with folks gravitating in direction of an concept and becoming a member of up with people who find themselves additionally excited to work on that concept. Finally, we realized that if we approached it this manner, we’d doubtless battle with our purpose of getting folks work with people they don’t usually work with, and we wouldn’t have sufficient management over different points, such because the time zones inside every crew. All of this might jeopardize the success of Construct Week itself. So we arrived at a hybrid, the place we created a Google Kind for folks to submit their prime 3 selections of concepts they’d prefer to work on. With that data, we decided the groups and made each effort to place folks in a crew that they had put down as a selection.
And the ultimate stage is, in fact, Construct Week itself! The groups have now been shaped, and we created a Slack channel for every crew to begin organizing themselves. We’re offering some very light-weight steering, and we may have just a few required deliverables, however aside from that, we’re leaving it to every crew to find out one of the simplest ways to work collectively to create worth in the course of the week.
In the event you’re a Buffer buyer, one small observe that as we embrace this company-wide occasion and time collectively, we shall be shifting our focus barely away from the assist inbox. We’ll nonetheless be responding to your questions and issues with Buffer; nevertheless, we could also be barely slower than normal. We additionally will not be publishing any new content material on the weblog. We’re assured that this time for the crew to bond and construct numerous tasks of worth will finally profit all Buffer clients.
Why proper now could be the time for Construct Week at Buffer
2022 has been a unique 12 months for Buffer. We’re ready of flatter to declining income, and we’ve been working laborious to search out our path again to wholesome, sustainable progress. One key aspect of this effort has been actively embracing being a smaller firm. We’re nonetheless a small firm, and we serve small companies. Except we lean into this, we are going to lose lots of our benefits.
We need to drive extra connection throughout the crew in a time the place we’ve felt it missing for the previous couple of years. Whereas we’ve been distant for many of our 11+ years of existence, we’ve at all times discovered a ton of worth from firm retreats the place all of us meet in particular person, and we’ve suffered in the course of the pandemic the place we’ve not been in a position to have these occasions. Construct Week is a chance for us to try this with a complete new idea and occasion quite than attempting to do it with one thing like a digital retreat which might doubtless by no means have the ability to reside as much as our earlier retreat experiences.
There’s an enormous alternative for exchanging context and concepts of present Buffer challenges inside groups the place the groups are cross-functional and with individuals who don’t usually work collectively. This might assist us for months afterward.
Construct Week can be a time the place sturdy bonds, each in work and personally, are shaped. My dream could be that after Construct Week, folks inside their groups hit one another up in Slack and bounce on a spontaneous catch-up name every so often as a result of they’ve change into shut in the course of the week.
We’ve had engineering hack weeks for a very long time now. These have been superior of their manner, however they’ve been very contained to engineering. And whereas these occasions created a variety of worth, they usually lacked views that may have enhanced the work, similar to buyer advocacy, design, tradition, or operational views.
As an organization, we need to problem a number of the processes we have now constructed up over the previous few years. Construct Week is sort of a clean canvas – we filter out a complete week after which diligently determine what we want when it comes to construction and course of to make this idea thrive and no extra. This may act as inspiration for us going ahead, the place we are able to use the week for instance of rethinking course of and questioning the methods we do issues.
The chance that comes with Construct Week
If we’re profitable with Construct Week, I’m assured that we are going to shock ourselves with simply how a lot worth is created by the entire firm in that one week alone. In embracing being a small firm, we’re presently striving to problem ourselves by shifting at a quicker tempo with out over-working. I believe that is doable, and the fully totally different nature of how we work collectively in Construct Week might give us concepts for what we are able to modify to work extra successfully and productively collectively in our common stream of labor.
The chance for worth creation inside Construct Week goes far past product options or enhancements. Construct Week shall be a time for us to construct something that serves both clients or the crew in pursuit of our imaginative and prescient and mission, or strengthens and upholds our values. We will stretch ourselves within the prospects – there might be a advertising and marketing marketing campaign, a knowledge report, enhancing an current course of within the firm, rethinking our instruments, creating a brand new aspect of transparency, bringing our clients collectively, and so on.
Want us luck!
I imagine Construct Week may be probably the most enjoyable, high-energy weeks we’ve had in years. I anticipate we are able to come out of the week on a excessive that may gasoline us with motivation and delight of our work for months. That may be a worthy purpose and one thing I believe we are able to obtain with somewhat creativity and the correct group of individuals designing and planning the occasion.
In fact, a part of the fantastic thing about Construct Week itself is that identical to all of the concepts and the liberty to decide on how you’re employed in a crew, we don’t know all the things we’ll be taught as an organization by doing this. It might be chaotic, there might be challenges, and there’ll undoubtedly be many insights, however we shall be higher off for having gone by the method.
Please want us all luck as we head into subsequent week. There’s a variety of pleasure within the firm to create worth. We hope to have new options to share with you within the coming weeks, and we’ll be again quickly with a publish sharing the way it went.
Have you ever tried one thing like Construct Week earlier than? In that case, how did it go? I’d love to listen to from you on Twitter.