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A Friday Filled with Joy: One Day in the Life of a Radically Innovative Company

A Friday Filled with Joy: One Day in the Life of a Radically Innovative Company - Michael Pacanowsky

A Friday Filled with Joy: One Day in the Life of a Radically Innovative Company


JOINT AUTHORS: Susan Arsht, Vicki Whiting, Sara D'Agostino, Maggie Fischer, Rachel Iverson, Elizabeth Johnson, Cole Polychronis, with Jim McGovern

Menlo Innovations is a small boutique software development company in Ann Arbor, Michigan. But the successful and engaging firm, with its 50 or so employees (all known as Menlonians) "punches way above its weight." The company has been on the cover of Fortune. It's been listed on Forbes " America's Best Small Companies." Inc. has called it one of 25 small companies that will change the world.Its mission, grandly, is "to end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology." The guiding star for the company is to create a workplace that people love, where you get to experience pure joy in what you do, the people you do it with, in how you do it, and in the appreciation of deeply satisfied clients and end users.

More than 20000 visitors have booked a tour of the Menlo "factory," inauspiciously housed in the basement of a parking garage in downtown Ann Arbor. They come to see the big open space room layout with no offices and no cubicles, where developers work in weekly rotating pairs (one computer, one screen, one mouse, one movable table, two chairs), close by other similar developer pairs working on the same client project. They come to see, and often join in, the Daily Stand Up, where all Menlonians get together each morning at 10 am sharp to give a very brief update on their projects, and any other notes of interest they might want to share. And they watch as the Menlo High Tech Anthropologists, who have been out in the field where the software and technology will actually be used, help clients weave the end users' perspective into the software design and development.

A Friday Filled With Joy is a fascinating up close account of one particular day at Menlo Innovations. We track the interactions, challenges, and accomplishments of Rich Sheridan, the CEO, pairs of developers, quality advocates, project managers, High Tech Anthropologists, and other staff members. But we don't just report. We provide a deeper story of the extraordinary culture of Menlo Innovations, how it produces the "mundane magic" that leads to joy, and how you might go about bringing some of that joy into your workplace. What we learn is that joy isn't just for Menlo Innovations. It isn't just for software companies. We all have the capacity to learn lessons from Menlo that we can bring to our own organizations to create a more successful and fulfilling culture.


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JOINT AUTHORS: Susan Arsht, Vicki Whiting, Sara D'Agostino, Maggie Fischer, Rachel Iverson, Elizabeth Johnson, Cole Polychronis, with Jim McGovern

Menlo Innovations is a small boutique software development company in Ann Arbor, Michigan. But the successful and engaging firm, with its 50 or so employees (all known as Menlonians) "punches way above its weight." The company has been on the cover of Fortune. It's been listed on Forbes " America's Best Small Companies." Inc. has called it one of 25 small companies that will change the world.Its mission, grandly, is "to end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology." The guiding star for the company is to create a workplace that people love, where you get to experience pure joy in what you do, the people you do it with, in how you do it, and in the appreciation of deeply satisfied clients and end users.

More than 20000 visitors have booked a tour of the Menlo "factory," inauspiciously housed in the basement of a parking garage in downtown Ann Arbor. They come to see the big open space room layout with no offices and no cubicles, where developers work in weekly rotating pairs (one computer, one screen, one mouse, one movable table, two chairs), close by other similar developer pairs working on the same client project. They come to see, and often join in, the Daily Stand Up, where all Menlonians get together each morning at 10 am sharp to give a very brief update on their projects, and any other notes of interest they might want to share. And they watch as the Menlo High Tech Anthropologists, who have been out in the field where the software and technology will actually be used, help clients weave the end users' perspective into the software design and development.

A Friday Filled With Joy is a fascinating up close account of one particular day at Menlo Innovations. We track the interactions, challenges, and accomplishments of Rich Sheridan, the CEO, pairs of developers, quality advocates, project managers, High Tech Anthropologists, and other staff members. But we don't just report. We provide a deeper story of the extraordinary culture of Menlo Innovations, how it produces the "mundane magic" that leads to joy, and how you might go about bringing some of that joy into your workplace. What we learn is that joy isn't just for Menlo Innovations. It isn't just for software companies. We all have the capacity to learn lessons from Menlo that we can bring to our own organizations to create a more successful and fulfilling culture.


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