Keeping an Internet service company running is a complex operation.  Not only must you be dedicated to producing and maintaining killer products for your clients, but you also need to improve the core internal systems that support this activity. We have Engineering teams consistently working on these small and important features for our Support, Billing and Deployment processes.

Our Dev ninjas iterate and push releases regularly using one form or another of Kanban. Being a fairly large company, the list of things to change, fix or build gets lengthy. (Think 800 + items on your To-Do list.) While any software developer or product manager knows how much actual work goes into pushing these updates, understanding the effect they have on other systems is the important part.

(mt)’s First Official Hackathon

So… what do you do when you have a continuously growing list of feature builds? Get all hands on deck, stock the kitchen and go full steam ahead into the eye of the storm!! At (mt), we did just that and pulled our various teams together to power through multiple projects. With expectations of daily releases, we deemed the effort (mt)’s first official Hackathon!
(Kanban Board used for (mt) Hackathon)

Why do an internal Hackathon?

  • To allow engineers to work on new systems and products, giving individuals a better understanding of the over-all environment.
  • To generate communication and creativity through interdepartmental teamwork.
  • To allow for important, but maybe not as critical, projects to be completed or get much needed attention.
  • To speed up project completion and release on a daily basis.
  • To allow for real time Quality Assurance. Normal QA process doesn’t apply to the Hackathon, but QA is no less important. Using team members from business units affected by changes to QA in real time works.
  • To have FUN! Hacking in one room with your colleagues is fun and encouraging.

How we did it?

  • We set criteria. We chose to work on projects that could get done in one day with focused attention.
  • We augmented lean development processed for daily releases including QA.
  • We posted project objectives, established groups and WENT TO TOWN.

All in all, we made a lot of changes and updates, particularly some that better the experience for the client with increased stability, shortened support response time, and new added features. Check out the video below for some fun pictures and quick tidbits about what was accomplished. Enjoy!

(mt) Hackathon from (mt) Media Temple on Vimeo.