Blog post

Coming together to Play (to win)

February 3, 2023

One very important component in our work is teamwork and community. And sometimes being a Work From Anywhere company can stand in the way. Though flexibility and trust are also important components, there are times we find coming together in a shared in-person space to be worthwhile.

Towards that goal, we invested bringing together OpenTenters for a full workweek in NYC to sprint on a big project for one client. We made this investment because we believe in the power of people working together in person, and the energy that comes from focusing on one goal for a few days rather than splitting attention across different contexts.

To integrate our 2023 theme, 'Play to Win', there were a few things we made sure of ahead of their gathering in NY, trying to ensure that even though they are sprinting hard towards completion of the project, they are also feeling the creative energy of play in their work -

  1. We did some visual chartering using Miro boards with this group so they set up their own outcomes and way of working for the week.
  2. We designated someone to be "the money" and make sure everyone is fed and having a good time in person.
  3. We are sending a couple surprises to the group throughout the week to keep the energy up

What does this look like for our in-person teammates? Full focus on the task at hand and full support from leadership and their other teammates to temper distractions or interruptions.

Most of the time, our talented teammates are expected to be present and aware of multiple projects, meetings, and priorities throughout the week. They may be a part of one Portfolio team working on several projects OR they may be integrated into multiple teams to project manage or solution on several projects across those teams.

It can be a lot. It's also how we are able to produce the kind of sophisticated and beautiful Salesforce system outcomes that we feel proud of and excited about on a bi-weekly and quarterly basis. We think about capacity for projects based on people and their zones of genius over purely hours spent working. This allows us to use both art and science in calculating timelines and communicating that formula to clients regularly through our relationship manager.

This case was time sensitive and here's why.

Because Salesforce's interface is so customizable, our client Central Synagogue is using it as a sub-ledger. Currently, we have their Salesforce instance integrated with their general ledger (Intacct) via Workato. We are reconfiguring the data model in Salesforce to use fewer objects and more efficient automation in order to reduce the complexity and computing time needed for each financial transaction. This requires a deliberate development process in order to not disrupt the general ledger integration and user workflows, as well as a comprehensive data migration to move from one data model to the new one.

In order to make all of this happen without great disruption or delay to existing systems and workflows, we needed to do it swiftly. Cue our solution engineers coming together for a week long "hackathon" sprint in New York.

Rasmussen University's Technology blog tells us "A hackathon is an event, usually hosted by a tech company or organization, where programmers get together for a short period of time to collaborate on a project. The participants work rapidly and often work without sleep to achieve their task, as the events generally only last 24 hours or take place over a weekend."

We considered ours an adapted Hackathon to ensure we still worked rapidly and collaboratively but also took care of ourselves in the process. And it was a huge success!

Here is what one of the Hackathon attendees and Lead Engineer, Jess Young, had to say to her fellow Hackathon teammates about the experience:

"I'm so thankful for all the enthusiasm, incredibly hard work, and creativity everyone brought to the hackathon last week! This was such a fun experiment and I can't believe how much we were able to get done together and the progress we've made to move the Central Finance project forward. Also although I'm not really a big city person, I had a blast hanging out with you all outside of the office (mostly eating ahaha) and appreciate all the NY team did to make me feel at home."

Teamwork? Check!

Successful Hackathon? Check!

New respect for the work and each other? Check!

Playing to Win in the truest sense of the 2023 theme? Check.

The power of coming together unlocked.

To learn more about OpenTent's way of Working Out Loud, get in touch here!

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