Last month we just had a blast at our first hackathon which was arranged in a hybrid model. So, what is this hybrid hackathon and how we have arranged that? To answer that, I need to take you a few months back.
Brainbay is dedicated to data-driven services and insights for the Dutch property market. The idea of creating something new and innovate to add values moves all of us. So, on our monthly discussion with all the colleagues at the end of last year, the idea of having a hackathon passed by. And everyone responded to so much extent that it needed to happen. But how? We were in lockdown and only limited people are allowed to be present in the office, due to covid reasons. So, we kept on postponing it with the hope of one day we could have a hackathon and could all be present in the office, to have fun and create value together.
But the question is how long we have to wait? To be honest we did not know. Either we can have it now or wait in uncertainty. We said enough and took the challenge to have the hackathon with limited people in the office where the others will join us online. And that is it – that is our hybrid model hackathon. But still, the question remains how we will arrange it? Hence the ‘preparation’ episode started.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
We teamed up to make our hackathon happen and split up our responsibilities. While one was taking care of prizes and how to evaluate, another was working on creating a platform where ideas can be shared, and colleagues could join on that. And how can we forget about having pizzas while working hard? Yes, also we have prepared for that. Our preparation ended with a presentation to our company, where it started with some motivational words from our CTO. From there I only remember he asked to have FUN while creating. This leads to the next episode of ‘ideas and teams’.
#Ideas and Teams
“From order comes progress. From chaos comes innovation.”
The ideas submitted by our colleagues were so exceptional, everyone really had a hard time choosing which team to join. Some ideas are about new innovative areas to expand the business and set us apart in the competition, while others were about user experience and high performance.
Till the last moment, many of us submitted ourselves to more than one team, it was that hard to choose. ‘Area/neighborhood mapped with open data API’ and ‘Real time analytics/trending for Waardering API’ for example where 2 of the 5 ideas we started with.
Finally, the game begins and for the next 24 hours everyone is committed to the hybrid hackathon. We had many coffee breaks arranged online with scribble (Pictionary online) or lightning talks. We had a lot of video calls to divide the work, to align within ourselves. Did we had panic moments? Yes, we had, quite a few. If you were in the office, you could hear “Where is the data? it was there one moment back!!!” As most of my colleagues are Dutch, one said “If some is switching to Dutch, it’s not a good sign”. That generally happens at the peak of their panic moments.
We got the chance to collaborate with colleagues from other teams with whom we do not work daily. As the 24 hours were coming to an end, we were eager to see with our tired eyes, the demo of the teams on their ideas.
It was amazing to see how within 24 hours we collaborated and implemented our ideas. We voted and chose our winner. The winning team with the category best technical implementation was ‘Real time analytics/trending for Waardering API’. Along with the idea, the technical implementation of this idea was thorough. The technical details were bulletproof, high standard, and automated, such as without any changes with a deploy button it could move to production with the continuous integration pipeline. For the voters, this was also a no-brainer for a win.
Winning teams got their trophy and bragging right until the next hackathon. The cherry on the top is we socialize and had our beer together in our hybrid way.
So final thoughts on our last hackathon… Was it a success? Hell yes, we had fun along with some valuable ideas implemented. Find here some quotes of participating co-workers:
A hybrid hackathon not exactly the same as a classic hackathon where we strive together in the same office place, but it was way better than nothing. We would do it again in a hybrid form, though we hope the next hackathon will take place in our beautiful Utrecht office. Because sharing a pizza is much more fun than eating it alone behind your screen.