By: Siddharth Ram, Chief Technology Officer
At Velocity Global, helping customers take their businesses anywhere in the world is more than just our job. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning—a purpose that we’re genuinely passionate and excited about.
It’s that same go-everywhere spirit that drives our internal teams, too. In fact, the freedom to pursue limitless opportunity inspires our technology team’s most exciting event: the ShipIt! hackathon.
Once a quarter, we take time away from planning, backlogs, epics, and stories to give our engineers uninterrupted time for exploration and creation. Known as ShipIt!, this four-day hackathon throws out all the rules so engineers can dive headfirst into helping customers rise above their most challenging problems.
I love ShipIt! because it reflects two core truths about the Velocity Global technology team—and our company as a whole:
We Go Above and Beyond for Our Customers
At Velocity Global, we put our customers first—always. Our dedication to the people we serve means we never stop looking for ways to support their global ambitions. ShipIt! lets our engineers constantly explore new ways our technology can help customers pursue their far-ranging expansion goals.
We Are Relentlessly Committed to Innovation
Our technology team is made up of the world’s best and brightest engineers. We give them time to think unconstrained so they can do what they do best—implement innovative ideas based on a deep understanding of customer problems. ShipIt! offers them a chance to leverage their ever-curious mindsets so customers can more easily access opportunity everywhere.
The ShipIt! Framework: Six Principles for Success
By giving our engineers the freedom to fully utilize their creativity, ShipIt! empowers our team and creates valuable solutions for our customers. Here are the six defining principles essential to ShipIt!’s success:
Led From the Ground Up
Engineers decide what they want to work on during ShipIt!, then work closely with Product Management and Product Design to deliver the changes to production. While executives can offer perspective, ShipIt! gives our engineers the freedom to fully explore and execute their most ambitious ideas.
One Theme, Endless Possibilities
Each ShipIt! event centers around a specific theme or challenge. Holding theme-centric hackathons helps us dig deep into the many possibilities surrounding core areas of need, increasing our ability to deliver innovative solutions to our customers.
Solutions Delivered With Velocity
Think of ShipIt! as the equivalent of express delivery from FedEx or DHL: Our engineers typically deliver changes within a week (launched dark in production). When high-impact projects demand more time, however, we’re happy to give engineers the extra runway they need to go above and beyond.
All Hands on Deck
ShipIt! is a mandatory exercise unless an engineer is on call or has a production priority incident. That said, we hardly need to twist arms when it comes to encouraging participation. Our tech talent sees ShipIt! as an exciting opportunity to go all-in on new ideas while flexing their creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills.
No Limits, No Interruptions
While no idea is off limits during ShipIt!, distractions are. We set a hard and fast rule for each session: no meetings, no interruptions. Just focused work. We also help engineers completely immerse themselves in their concepts by taking care of their meals while they work.
New Connections for Bold Ideas
In the spirit of exploration and innovation, we encourage our engineers to collaborate with team members and teams they do not usually partner with. Working with new peers helps create stronger connections—and provides the spark an engineer needs to turn their boldest ideas into reality.
From Conception to Creation: How ShipIt! Drives Results
After four days of all-in execution, each team has the opportunity to share their results in a round of Lightning Talks. Executives and Product Managers attend these sessions. Less is more in Lightning Talks: We limit each talk to five minutes so engineers are challenged to deliver their messages in a clear, succinct way. Most engineers include video demos to save time and ensure clarity.
I’m always amazed at what our teams generate in such a condensed period of time. Engineers often use ShipIt! to tackle the most complex challenges in our codebase—problems they don’t otherwise have time to focus on.
Thanks to their hard work, we’ve already deployed the following ShipIt! innovations to production:
- Adding in a much-asked request to preview any document in our platform
- Automating a key part of the Test Automation pipeline
- Automating a previously manual process in Customer Support
Altogether, I couldn’t be more proud of the way ShipIt! furthers Velocity Global’s vision of making opportunity borderless for people everywhere. Just as we give businesses the freedom to go anywhere, ShipIt! gives our teams the freedom to explore new ways to take them there.
With the ShipIt! innovations we’ve already deployed to production, I’m more excited than ever to see what our team creates when we ShipIt! again next quarter.
Expand Your Orbit: Join Our Team
If this culture sounds interesting to you, we’re hiring experienced engineers and engineering leaders at all levels. Visit our careers page to see our current open roles.