Can You CrowdSource a Program?

30 May


Fortigent Engineering is always looking to innovate, not only in what we create, but in how we create it. It maybe a bit cliche, but I really believe that ‘thinking inside the box’ constrains a team to produce box-shaped results.

FoodOn Wednesday, the ever-growing Engineering team was locked in a room together for a no holds barred development experiment to stretch the walls of that metaphorical box. Luckily, brain food was on the menu.

In teams of 6 we were challenged to invent a novel presentation of user data given an expansive set of variables. Basically, the teams were tasked with creating a formula that would distill the most pertinent pieces of information into one aggregate product.

Without further adieu, the formula we came up with is:


OK, so that’s NOT the formula. In fact, we didn’t come up with a very definitive answer at all. As it turns out, 25 engineers can’t always agree with one another. We did however, carve out a few victories. We were able to identify what variables we believed were essential to solving the problem. We were also able to obtain feedback from almost every individual and evaluate their approach. To that end, my views on the problem were swayed half a dozen times in the span of an  hour because of all the unique ways the team was going at it.


So maybe we didn’t come to a solution once and for all, but we sure are closer. We’ve also proven that exercises like this can peel away at an amorphous set of requirements by harnessing the enormous brain power of our entire team at once. I believe that we have pioneered a new means to problem solve in our group. Sure, it will require some refinement, but I think that large group development can evolve into a powerful tool for solving the increasingly difficult problems we face as a team.

Not to mention it was a pretty sweet way to spend my birthday if it had to be on a work day.

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