Hackathon and our Birthday

August 3, 2018
11 min

Summer time is always a pleasant period of time, but for our company this is also time for celebrating the company birthday. This year it was the eighth birthday of our young but experienced company.

As usual we decided to make it funny, challenging, and memorable for everyone from the team. We agreed to run another hackathon and implement ideas that teams had in their backlogs or in their imagination.

The idea of a hackathon first appeared before the end of the past year. It was a trial challenge for our teams to design a comprehensive solution for addressing everyday problems of colleagues.

The result of the last year hackathon was Favorite Pages for Confluence. This app tracks all your page visits and generates a Top 10 list of your most visited pages which you can quickly open from the menu or assign hotkeys.

This year we have decided to preserve all the best moments from the past hackathon and add more fun and challenge into this run. The key rule of the hackathon was to design a new solution or an improvement for the existing apps on the Atlassian Marketplace. No other rules or restrictions were imposed on us. Of course, there were some additional rules, but we violated some of them for the sake of the hackathon results 🙂

Teams and ideas

Our company divided into 5 small teams with 2 or 3 people in each team and the challenge began.

  1. The first team decided to implement Reactions for Confluence. The app is likely to replace the existing likes with a more extended and comprehensive set of emojis. Confluence users can use them to express their attitude towards the content created in Confluence and comments left there.
  2. The second team planned to create Page Annotations for Confluence. This tool should help users to identify authors of edits on Confluence pages by quick and simple selection of the text snippet for inspection.
  3. The third team expected to improve the existing Smart Attachments for Jira app with automatic file distribution when uploading them directly into issues or on transition forms.
  4. The fourth team wanted to introduce video calls and screen sharing into our existing feedback and helpdesk solution – Customer Case. The team deeply understood the problem of provision of swift and efficient support and their impact on loyalty of customers.
  5. The fifth team agreed on migration of Handy Statuses from our Handy Macros app to Confluence Cloud. This was one of the most used macros from the bundle.

After presentation of ideas and expected solutions and discussion of possible pitfalls, the hackathon itself began. It started on Monday and should end on Thursday in the evening. Every team proceeded to discussing vision of their solutions and visualizing ideas in the form of wireframes and prototypes.

If you get interested in any of these solutions and want to try them before the official release, please contact us at tech-support@stiltsoft.com.

The show must go on

After the start of a hackathon, every team proceeded to planning the required activities and designing the architecture of new solutions or announced improvements. This was happening in the atmosphere of the mutual respect, collaboration, and support, but teams did not miss a chance to play a trick on their rivals.

The four days passed quite fast and, of course, this time was not sufficient for all features and ideas that teams planned to implement. But this time was quite enough to demonstrate the working product servicing a specific business need.

After drawing lots, teams started their presentations. The jury were attentively following the presentations and asking tricky questions. Then the rival teams could ask their questions about implemented solutions or improvements. When all solutions were presented and discussed, it was time for getting awards.

The People’s Choice Award went to the fourth team for their video calls on the basis of Stride in Customer Case. This happened two hours prior to appearance of the news about selling Stride to Slack. But at the moment of presentation they were not aware of this 🙂 In addition to video calls they implemented the mechanism which gets the automatic confirmation when the email was delivered and read by the addressee.

The third team got the prize for perfectionism. They neatly integrated the automatic file distribution across categories into the Smart Attachments app.

The first team awarded the prize for the best presentation of Reactions for Confluence and showed an interesting way to discuss routine questions with the teammate.

And the second team with the Page Annotations for Confluence awarded the prize for the innovation in work.

The fifth team had some technical issues with Cloud architecture and, unfortunately, were not able to deliver the solution on time. Anyway, they get their own portion of applause and encouragement.

All teams were happy and everyone was able to choose the prize he or she wanted. This hackathon brought different kinds of challenges from the efficient communication within the team to addressing technical issues and development of ideas from scratch. The company benefited from new ideas and new products that will appear soon on the Atlassian Marketplace. Teams are looking forward to participating in new hackathons and bringing their ideas to life.

Time to rock

The hackathon was over, but that was just a start for a party. Everyone from the teams came to the office on Friday to taste cakes and say ‘Happy Birthday’ to the company.

After the cakes there was one more challenge to stress everyone and check persistence of teams and their members. It was time for the bumper ball. After dividing into two teams and quick briefing, the two teams got out to the field where an epic battle was expected to occur which was to be recorded in the historical records and berhymed in poems. Well, we expected this at least.

The first minutes of the ‘battle’ showed that arrogance and extreme zeal could play a trick on teams. The first five minutes of the game had nearly killed us, everyone was exhausted. Power-consuming movings across the field and unexpected collisions with rivals and teammates caused sadness on the faces of both teams.

After the inspiring and motivating speeches of team leaders, players burst to go into another 5-minute action. One team was trying to use complex schemes, the other team was just pressing the rivals. The final result of the game was a draw 4:4. Everyone was happy but not about the draw, but about the end of the game indeed.

After the game, we had enough time (more than a half of the allocated time) to run a series of PvP (Player-versus-Player) and MPvP (Multiple Players-versus-Player) rounds for those ones who had some power remained. These rounds proved that the weight of the opponent mattered more than speed and collision impulse.

After the bumper ball everyone headed off to the restaurant. There everyone was having a pleasant and funny time with colleagues, discussing the vision of the further company development, playing the quiz, and tasting delicious food and drinks.