About Mad Dashes

Geocent “Mad Dash” Program

The term “Mad Dash” is derived from the term “Sprint” used in our Agile programming processes. A “Sprint” is a time-boxed (generally 2-4 weeks) period during which a well defined set of features and functions are taken from requirements all the way to deployment. A “Mad Dash” is similar in that it is a time-boxed period during which a capability is developed. The key difference is that a “Mad Dash” is only for 1 (crazy) day and only a demonstrable capability is expected.

The Geocent “Mad Dash” program is an innovation initiative designed to allow Geocent employees to explore their ideas through collaboration with others in an exciting environment. Anyone in the company can “sponsor” a Mad Dash, all it takes is an idea.

If you have an idea for a Mad Dash, use the following basic process.

Mad Dash Workflow Diagram

Workflow for Geocent’s Mad Dash Program

Idea Phase – It all starts with a good idea. We’ve all got good ideas and we all would like to explore them further. This is the vehicle to do just that. It starts with the idea, but that’s just the beginning. To make a successful Mad Dash will require the refinement of the idea into something that can be created and demonstrated in a single Mad Dash. In addition, a team will have to be formed. Formation of a team will mean collaborating with smart folks that can get it done and getting them excited about the idea. Finally, any potential external dependencies must be identified and eliminated. There is no time in a single day for external dependencies.

Picture of a mad dash

Picture of a mad dash

 

Mad Dash – The Mad Dash is about focused, intense, uninterrupted execution. To make sure that happens, the team must be sequestered and cut-off from any external influences (projects, etc.). Team members must “Play Hooky” from their regular projects, and should be physically separated from them.  In addition, the team should be co-located if at all possible to allow rapid collaboration. A suitable location could be a conference room or office that can be blocked out for the day, or even someone’s home. Key resources necessary would likely include a whiteboard (or other collaboration mechanism) as well as computers, development environments and Internet access. The key is uninterrupted, unencumbered productivity.

Mad Dashes get documented and posted publicly on Geocent's geocentlabs.com website.

Mad Dashes get documented and posted publicly on Geocent’s geocentlabs.com website.

Wrapup – Once complete, the team must gain maximum exposure for their ideas and accomplishments as well as describe their experience to others. To accomplish this an informal demonstration of the capability must be scheduled with the Geocent Chief Technology Officer (CTO) as well as others in the company that are interested. Additional demonstrations may also be schedule based on the topic and results. A lunch & learn may also be applicable if there is a teaching opportunity. In addition, a short write-up of the idea, the dash experience, and the dash results must be created and posted to the Geocent Labs website. Finally, a retrospective to identify potential improvements to the Mad Dash process must be completed and improvement ideas submitted to the CTO.