Few people would argue the importance of great communication across a development organization. It’s vital that developers are aware of the work of their peers–not only the “what,“ but also the “how” and “why.”
Achieving this is easier said than done. Traditional approaches such as wiki documentation, meeting minutes, email lists and chat channels have value, but also have significant drawbacks.
We’ve been experimenting with a new approach at Gilt: The Friday 5@4. This is an informal end-of-week gathering where each team and active project presents something that they’ve done since the last meeting, typically with a live demo. Talks are strictly time-boxed to 5 minutes for the demo, 3 minutes for questions.
Developers are encouraged to show features in action, discuss their technical design and show code snippets. Rehearsed, PowerPoint presentations are discouraged.
So far it has helped developers understand what their peers are up to, and provides an excuse to talk shop over a beer or two. It’s also been a lot of fun.