F Is for Freedom and Friday

Introducing Freedom Friday, the secret side-project day we've been nurturing every two weeks.

Update April: We've made some changes to Freedom Friday lately...they've been "supersized". Check out the updated list below to see what we've been up to!

As a wise man once said, ‘An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest’. - Benjamin Franklin

We’re with Ben on this one (especially on Friday).

Freedom Friday is a fortnightly internal event launched by Co-Founders Adam and Dan. It's where project work takes a rest on the sub bench, and side-projects take over!

For a few years now, Cogworks have been using this day to address gaps in knowledge and become more wonderful at what we love. Projects range from personal endeavours to collective ones, and the freedom to choose influences the return of an assortment of ideas.

Across strategy, design and build teams, we’re getting creative, addressing our gripes with logical solutions and building self-confidence.

A “typical” day almost always includes a cycle of analysis and improvement (as part of the way the Cogworks Agile workflow works) but Freedom Friday tends to direct us off-the-beaten-track and into the wilderness.

Well. Not the complete wilderness. 

Projects generally intertwine with the company values and benefit personal or company growth in some way. Referring back to Cogworks values always helps to manifest a side-project idea that will be beneficial. We’ve shared a little on our values lately, but the full collection is as follows:

WorkHome

WorkHard

WorkWell

WorkBrave

WorkCreative

Good people make WorkGood

 

Latest FF (Freedom Friday) highlights.

Let's take a look at a few recent FF highlights...

 

1. Cogworks Essentials! *Available on GitHub*

Following a recent suggestion to extend FF by an additional DAY (yep, that's two consecutive days of creative goodness), we are so excited to bring you a whole range of Cogworks packages for you to use on your projects! We can't say too much about the ones in progress...but think of them as intuitive "kits", full of all the stuff you need to get started on your development projects. 

Check out our kit for .NET development projects on GitHub

We're making some finishing touches to the additional packages over the course of our upcoming Freedom Fridays...if you have any questions, why not leave us a comment in the box below?

2. The Cogworks Azure Search!  

Freedom Friday has made way for the development team to create The Cogworks Azure Search. This package is inspired by our drive to continuously improve and automate processes so we can carry on delivering high-quality solutions. 

We use Azure and Azure Search on many of our client projects. This addition to our package family will help to have a single convention for "talking" with the Search service, making project setups much easier. Technically speaking, the package is a wrapper to Azure Search, which allows the easy set-up of Azure Search indexes, searchers and can be used with DI/IoC approach (currently with support for Umbraco, LightInject and Autofac).

 



Our open source creation is available for download on Nuget.org and GitHub Packages...

. Keep your eyes peeled for our blog on the story behind this package and as always, we value the expertise of the open source community (so contributions and comments are welcome).

 

3. The browser for developers.

 

The development team created a browser solely for developers, Makalu. It’s a tool that shows multiple screen sizes in the same window (amongst other great features). This tool is helping the team to #workwell, doing wonders for our workflow by sparing valuable minutes that would normally be spent switching screen sizes on a typical browser. We’ll be sharing a little more on this soon...

 

4. The process clean-up.

Project Lead, Katie, recently cast her eye over our daily project management tool, Trello, and noticed we were overrun with unnecessary boards. A thorough spring-clean and reorganisation of boards prompted a deeper look into our processes. You can read the full story here!

 

5. Automations, automations, automations.



Developer Adrian is across a few automation projects at the moment. Pictured above is the Cogworks Automation for GitFlow, the automation that is helping the team to control incremental releases and produce changelogs which we share with our clients. He has also produced an automation that looks after our code standards (letting us keep an eye on things locally and on CI/CD builds). 

 

6. A presentation with a difference.

Project Manager Kasira formed an idea from her own experience. She noticed there was room for improvement in communication and confidence when public speaking at work. We’re often taking the stage at conferences like Umbraco festival so POM (presentation of the month) was introduced as a fun exercise to become better speakers and get to know each other better. The idea is to chat about any subject of choice. So far we’ve lightheartedly covered a few topics including 'an introduction to my "unhealthy" obsession with crips'.

Participants continue to be nominated to take part each month...

 

7. The blog. 




Whilst FF is the perfect opportunity to roll up our sleeves and get to work behind the scenes, it’s also a space to share what we know through our blog

One full day, twice monthly, has allowed Cogworks developers, project managers, designers and co-founders the time to put together real insights from their years of experience in the industry. 

Check out our CEO’s summary of the benefits of cloud computing, our CTO’s analysis of website performance or the development team's tutorial for developers on Azure DevOps.

Sharing our insights internally and externally wherever we can is what we’re all about (it’s all part of why we love being involved in an open source CMS project and community like Umbraco where contribution and ideas are always encouraged).

 

Here’s to freedom.

Freedom Friday has given us another reason to enjoy this day of the week, aside from its close proximity to Saturday.

We continue to be inspired by the industry, but most importantly, continue to have fun.

Did you know that Gmail and Google Maps are the outcome of a side-project initiative too? ;)

Cogworks.

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