A couple of weeks ago, the first ever hackathon took place at Raketech’s Malta office. During the Raketech Innovation Day, our team of developers spent 24 hours to bring some really creative ideas to life. Roderick Cassar, Development Chapter Lead at Raketech, explains why hosting an internal hackathon at an office is a really cool idea.
A hackathon, as the name suggests, is a collaborative sprint-like event. Computer programmers compete with each other to create the most innovative tech solutions to existing problems during a very short time. In our situation – it was 24 hours of constant, uninterrupted work. We got together on Wednesday, the 27th of June, at 2 pm, and worked until the next day, finishing exactly at 2 pm. We had a long weekend to relax after, since Friday was a public holiday here, in Malta!
Every team was ready to tackle an existing problem within our internal operations and suggest a technical solution to it. It might seem that a hackathon is purely a tech-oriented event but in reality, it requires a contribution of other departments. For many participants, it was their first chance to work with other Raketech teams, such as Sales, SEO or HR, to discuss how they could develop a tool to improve their day-to-day work. This created an opportunity to get to know the company’s structure better, learn more about the affiliate marketing business and work with co-workers from other departments.
Once we had recovered from the pizza and caffeine-fueled hackathon, we pitched our concepts, technical aspects and the reasons for our ideas to our colleagues and a judging panel consisting of Raketech’s senior management. The best idea was chosen and awarded during our quarterly Pow Wow business meet-up. The panel distinguished one particular team for their innovative approach taken toward the RTLynx project – so congratulations go to Michelle, Jamie V. and Kenneth! But everyone did a great job and we hope that most projects can be introduced to improve our daily office life at Raketech.
Why queue for the bathroom when you can check its availability online? Sarah and Luca pitch their timesaving idea to the audience.
What the developers say
Michelle – “Innovation day was a welcomed break from the typical routine which focusses heavily on web development and hot fixing. It helped us delve further into new technologies and new areas which are of utmost importance to the company. In our case, my team and I were able to expand our knowledge of Search Engine Optimisation and create a tool to help the SEO team in their daily routine from the click of a button. The long hours were tough, but the outcome superseded our expectations and instilled a sense of achievement in every one of us. After all, ‘sleep is for the weak’! ”
Ian – “It was a great initiative where we were given the opportunity to think of a solution that can help the business and we had just 24 hours to fix it, improve it or create something totally new. Some ideas could be prototyped and others are still at the design stage, which meant we had a wide range of different concepts.”
- Working under time pressure is both stressful and rewarding. It has thought us that prioritising tasks and being flexible with our approach is the key to get the job done.
- Now we understand that the saying ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way’ actually makes sense. Our problem-solving skills have been stretched to the limit!
- We experimented with technologies and tools a lot, but we also enhanced the skills that we usually do really not think of. Collaboration, communication and presentation – we brushed up our soft skills to ensure smooth and successful work.
- We realised that good teamwork can save you from seemingly hopeless situations and make your project succeed. It always takes two to tango, doesn’t it!
The first edition of the Raketech Innovation Hackathon has turned out to be both fun and a challenge, testing our strengths and weaknesses. 24 hours of extremely intense work, helped by coffee and pizza, taught us more than just some new tech tricks. We are hoping to host another edition of the Raketech Innovation Hackathon soon!