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Last month, I had the opportunity to visit our office in Poland. The agenda of the trip was to get to know the team better and to host our first Egnyte Hackathon. We’ve hosted mini-hackathons and developer events in the past, but this was the first hackathon hosted by the Poland office, with nearly 100% participation!

Two weeks before the event, I started a wiki page and asked the Poland team to start brainstorming ideas and form small teams. Upon arriving at our office, I was happy to see the energy and excitement about the event. I went from desk to desk and helped form the first few teams; the momentum continued to build, like a rolling snowball! Some remote Egnyters also got excited and formed their own teams – quickly growing from an office event to 14 teams across three time zones. The teams were diverse with participation from DevOps, UX, QA, Support and Engineering.

The key to organizing a successful hackathon begins with full support from the management and products teams. Hackathons are supposed to be fun and competitive events (both important aspects for our team culture), and you need to have some actionable projects coming out of it. It can be a huge undertaking to host a two-day event like this! Luckily, some team members from the Poland office had attended hackathons in past companies, and their experiences helped in organizing a very successful event.

After some planning and discussions, we published a rough schedule to keep the momentum and excitement strong. The schedule looked like this:

Day-1

  • 9 AM Kick-off
  • 9:15 AM to 10:15 AM: Strategy planning (No coding allowed; team to pick the place where they will work in a group)
  • 10:15 AM to 2:00 PM: coding
  • 2:00 PM: Pizza break
  • 4:00 PM: 60min chill-out break (beer, watching TED presentations, no coding allowed)
  • 5:00 PM: back to coding

Day-2

  • 9 AM: Checkpoint/ Projects evaluation within each team. This would be a good opportunity to evaluate whether they can finish by 4:00 PM or they want to pivot.
  • 9:30 AM: Get back to coding
  • 1:00 PM: Another food fueling break
  • <– remember to prepare the demo –>
  • 4:00 PM: Demo session (5 slide presentation + a 10 min demo)

Some positives coming out of the hackathon are that it fosters cross-team pollination, ownership and autonomy. I was amazed to see all 14 teams finish on time, and we had a lot of cool ideas that emerged. We voted online to determine winning projects based on creativity, practicality and overall design.

This was a very successful event! It was a great chance for our team to put on product manager hats and introduce new feature and product ideas, form teams, and deliver a solution within a planned timeframe. It was a great opportunity for us to move out of our regular comfort zones, which doubled the creativity! Congrats to our teams on the great work, and I can’t wait to see some of these ideas come to life in our services!

Are you a team player who wants to join in on our hackathon fun? We are hiring, so check out our jobs page and contact us at jobs@egnyte.com if you are interested in being a part of our amazing team at Egnyte.

Here are some of the pictures from hackathon:

hackathon, culture, Poland

Hackathon Kick-Off

culture, developer, programming

Serious Brainstorming

Poland, Egnyters, culture

Pizza Break

culture, Egnyter, Poland

Chill-Out Break (Yes engineers can play too)

culture, API, Developer

More Hacking

culture, demo, hackathon

Demo Day

Hackathon, developer, Egnyter

Demo Day

demo, hackathon, Poland

Demo Day Presentation