We’ve just passed the first day of Summer and we’re so excited for the gorgeous weather, and that the Montreal Canadians are still in the playoff hunt 🏒. Last month we talked about our annual review process and how we lead this with our core values. One of our core values is We like to have fun which is why we decided to host a Hackaton in May!

As we were planning for the Hackathon, one of our Directors of Engineering, Janic, brought up the idea that a one-day Hackathon might be a bit too tight and cause people to work overtime to finish up a project. He suggested we try out a 2-day Hackathon, and the rest of the team agreed.

Typically a Hackathon involves the engineering team, however, when we decided to run one internally, we realized we wanted to open it up to collaboration from our whole team. We realize that not everyone is able to contribute at the same level, but we were committed to find some ways for everyone to be involved. 

One of the ways we were able to do this was by opening up idea submissions from everyone in our team. Things that would potentially add value, solve problems, or something fun like a “Dad-joke bot” that automatically sends Dad jokes to a slack channel (as was submitted by one of our team members). Some people had great ideas, but didn’t understand the technical aspects of realizing the project, which is where our engineering Directors, Kenza, Janic and François, stepped in to help.

When we received all of our project ideas, we moved forward by letting the entire team vote on the best 5 projects that everyone would be working on. These top five project choices would be the basis by which we would decide our teams. We gave all team members the chance to vote on their top 3 choices so that we could try our best to put everyone on their preferred project.

Once the teams were decided, we kicked off the Hackathon on the first day with a chance for us all to regroup, ask questions, and clarify schedules. Teams were then encouraged to have a sync to start the Hackathon, and they had the freedom to decide how they wanted to proceed. 

To break up the days, we hosted a team wide lunch hour on zoom, while this was optional, it was a really fun time to just joke around, share what food we were eating and hear about Ian’s skills in identifying good chocolate chip cookies. This also allowed some of us who are less technical (like myself) to feel included in the whole process.

We had a Hackathon Demo to end the two day long event, where teams were able to show what they built, where they struggled and where they succeeded. We had some teams come with powerpoints, official team mascots, and even some microphones 😂. Our whole team provided input, asked questions, and provided an interactive atmosphere and ways to move forward with some of the projects.

A Hackathon offers teams a great opportunity to bond over less business-critical projects while also working towards improvements which will help them in their day to day. We were pumped by the involvement from all the different team members in whatever capacity they could provide and are looking forward to our next one.