So what is Down Tools Week?
Once a year, we hold Down Tools Week at Redgate’s Cambridge headquarters. It’s our version of a hack week — a chance to put down the day job and spend a week working on something completely different. It’s an opportunity for our developers, designers and even marketers to work on ideas that interest and inspire them beyond the scope of their day-to-day roles, and it also gives everyone a chance to mix things up and work with a different set of people outside of their usual teams.
During Down Tools Week, we challenge our teams to spend the week working on a project and present what they’ve done at the end of it. Was it a success? What did they learn? Has the project solved a particular problem? Have they built something useful from it?
Only one team can be the winner at the end of the week, and we judge them across a number of areas — how much they got done, whether they were able to ship something within the week or not, how well the teams worked together, and whether they managed to communicate with real users during the process.
The ideas for Down Tools Week projects are suggested by people at Redgate and then voted on by people at Redgate. It gives everyone the opportunity to come up with an idea, or support their favourite idea — and prompts quite a few heated discussions along the way. We also try and include a charity-related project from outside Redgate to spice up the mix a little. People are then free to join whichever team they choose, to work on the project that inspires them the most.
Down Tools Week isn’t just about the work. It’s about collaborating with people from different parts of the business to find solutions to challenges that, while interesting, are complicated.
To help the process along a bit, we encourage people to unwind, relax and share their progress over a drink or two and some food too. Every evening of the week, one of Cambridge’s best street food vans will be visiting the Redgate office to serve free food.
Each yeah the week tends to grow in size and this year we have 6 teams working on a variety of new ideas. We’re also very proud to be running a charity project this year for Cambridge Women’s Aid, a charity helping support women and children affected by domestic abuse. The charity provides information, advice and support as well as case work to provide safe refuge in Cambridge for their clients. Angie Stewart, the CEO of Cambridge’s chapter of Women’s Aid has reached out to help her build an application to ease the difficult journey the women go through in abusive relationships. The app, which would act as a secure folder to store various resources in a covert way, hiding it from the abusers, in order to help these women, traverse the difficult journey through and out of domestic abuse.
Throughout this week we’ll be live blogging on how the event is going, featuring interviews with some of the teams and videos of the work that is being done. We’re mighty proud of the work our teams do during DTW so feel free to get involved as part of activity taking place across our social media accounts.
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