Hackathon at //SEIBERT/MEDIA – Field report on developing the EasyEvents plugin for Confluence

The goal of a hackathon is to buckle down and create a product and/or complete a small project under time pressure (at //SEIBERT/MEDIA within 24 hours). The hackathon team alone plans and decides what kind of product or project to work on.

We explained the reasons for regularly conducting hackathons in our agile organization in more detailed articles. On the one hand, we strive to create concrete and truly innovative solutions. On the other hand, we try to attain “soft” effects, such as promoting training, teamwork and personal responsibility and motivating our employees.

Our latest hackathon took place in early July 2013. In the following chronological field report, we offer insight into the work of the team that designed and developed the EasyEvents Confluence plugin.

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Monday (July 1st) 3:30 pm: Topics and teams
Everyone who is interested meets in our common room to present topics and form teams for the hackathon.

Thursday (July 4th) 3:00 pm: Product visionEventmanager-Produktvision-2
Our team meets in one of the team rooms. As a first step, we discuss the product vision and verify that we have a common picture of it. We use the following product vision structure:

 

For the “target group” with a “need”, the “product name” is a “product type” that has “key features”.In contrast to “main competitor,” “product name” offers a “different benefit. 

Sven brought donuts to keep up our energy levels with a sugar rush.

Thursday, 3:30 pm: Kanban board
Before long, we have set up a kanban board on our flipchart. The first post-its wander across the board. We want to concentrate on the first tasks for an hour before holding a “stand-up.”

Thursday, 4:30 pm: First stand-up
The first stand-up. We looked at the existing plugins on the Atlassian Marketplace to check whether similar functions already exist. This is not the case. Furthermore, we looked at event pages in the typical social networks to get an idea of what our event pages should look like. We are closing in on what our product should look like. We build a StoryMap together.

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Thursday, 5:30 pm: First scribbles
After the stand-up, we work on the first scribbles and gather existing information from our style guide.

Thursday, 7:00 pm: Pizza
Pizza has arrived! We eat together on the patio in the sunshine and talk to the other teams. Most are euphoric and proudly report on their progress.

Thursday, 9:00 am: Interfaces, marketing, customer research
The first interfaces become visible. At the same time, an information page in our public wiki and a poll to gather more information on our potential customers are created.

Thursday, 11:30 pm: End of the late shift
The last team members leave the office now to drive home and get some rest.

Friday (July 5th), 7:00 am: Early-shift meeting
The early shift of the team starts working on the hackathon. An initial elevator pitch is developed: How would we explain our product to someone within 60 seconds (the length of an elevator ride)?

“EasyEvents is like a XING event page inside Confluence. It lets you create attractive event pages easily and quickly so participants can R.S.V.P with just one click. Because the structure is so clear, participants can quickly find all the relevant information. Events receive more attention due to the integrated sharing option.”

Friday, 2:30 pm: First presentable version
Our development work comes to an end. Some retrospective questions remain open. We have developed a macro that allows one-click sign-in (without editing the pages) for events and have created an attractive event template for our Confluence. Both initial versions are ready to be presented.

In retrospective, we all agree it was a great but exhausting experience.

Friday, 3:00 pm: Presentation
We meet with all the teams again to present our results. Coffee and cake sweeten this part of the hackathon. Within 10 to 15 minutes, all teams present their work from the past 24 hours and what they learned. The interdisciplinary and cross-team approach is highlighted frequently. Many people who do not usually collaborate worked closely together for the day.

Friday, 5:00 pm: Dinner with the team
The presentation of the results is over. Our team decides to go out for dinner together. We discuss the past 24 hours and our experience during the hackathon. We agree we are getting better at producing results within short periods of time. Satisfied, we say goodbye for the weekend.

Further information

Do you have questions about how agile processes work in organizations or software development? Do you want to introduce agility into your company or improve existing processes? At //SEIBERT/MEDIA, we know how to incorporate “agility” into projects. We would be happy to help you establish and optimize agile principles and processes in your company. Feel free to contact us with no obligation. You can find detailed information about our Agile services in our Agile orientation offer with descriptions of our services and example calculations.

Agile organization at //SEIBERT/MEDIA – from brainstorming to realization
Agile skill matrix: Systematizing team training and controlling the exchange of knowledge

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