PayFit organized its first internal HackDay with its Engineering Team.
A bit more than 24 hours to brainstorm, code and create amazing tools and applications to improve the PayFiters daily life.
We’ll cover why we created this event, how the other teams within PayFit benefitted from it and what the feedback on the event was.
Why did we create this HackDay?
At PayFit we organized our Engineering Team in small squads with scopes on specific projects. Some developers might have never worked together.
The first objective was to create small groups of developers, cross squads so they could work together potentially for the first time.
Furthermore, it was a great opportunity to create, innovate, use new technologies and work on something different, outside of the daily projects. There was 0 constraint, every team were free to create something cool, useful with any technology.
For this first HackDay we didn’t want to mix with other teams of PayFit such as sales, support, etc. The idea was to make a pilot of the event and see if we could, in the future, create a bigger event with all teams.
PayFit HackDay #1
The organization ✅
During more than 🕔 24 hours, 6 teams composed of 4 developers worked on one idea, tool or application to improve the PayFiters daily life.
We organized it around 2 months in advance and we had to often communicate on it to pique curiosity of everyone. We also had to choose when we should run the event. We settled from Thursday afternoon to Friday afternoon including night.
Teams were created randomly before the event and unveiled at the beginning of the HackDay during a quick presentation. We wanted cross-squad teams and after all, this was the best choice we could do for this first HackDay. To enforce team building we bought tee-shirts with a special color for each team. We could identify them directly and it created stronger ties.
The challenge 💪
Each team brainstormed on their idea during the afternoon, received validation from the judges and then started coding. The same subject could not be taken by more than one team. Each had to create something unique. They could create anything like a slackbot, an application, whatever, the only thing is that they should stay technical and match the subject.
Teams were spread in all PayFit’s open-spaces and could stay all night if they wanted. We prepared some drinks and food ☕ 🍕🍏🍌🍪to stay awake all night long. Before the end of the next day, they had to finish their projects and make a presentation with a small demo in front of all PayFiters. We were 2 persons in charge of motivating teams, helping them with their projects, managing championships, and communicating with everyone on Slack to show the projects’ progress.
On Slack, each team had its own channel where they could contact or be contacted by us, if necessary. We created them beforehand to be sure everything was completely ready. We also created a repository for each Team on our Github organization.
Last but not least: presentations. Each team had to prepare a 10 min presentation to introduce its project to other PayFiters. Teams had to be as clear and dynamic as possible to impress their coworkers and get the “Best Presentation” reward.
Engage people 👪
There were side activities during the event for Hackday’s participants: table-soccer, ping-pong and video games championships. This added fun, brought competition and let teams have a break after big coding sessions. To help them to stay focused, all matches involved 2 members of 2 teams only. The rest of the teams could continue working on their projets.
For other PayFiters, a public Slack channel was dedicated to the event, as a live stream. There were photos and information shared all day long. We wanted to do like a teaser for them to be excited by all these new projects, so that they will come to the presentations.
The rewards ⭐
We didn’t want to rank the project, so we created four different prizes: the funniest project, the most creative, the most useful and the best presentation. We had rewards for championships winners too. PayFiters could add a vote on a simple Google Form by choosing a team for each prize at the end of the day. Winners got Amazon Gifts cards and tickets for Karting sessions or Escape Game.
We organized the rewards event with all the PayFiters two weeks later. We celebrated this with all teams and congratulated developers for their hard work. PayFiters really enjoyed it even if we could have done it sooner.
Two weeks later, the results 🏆
Liche won the “best presentation” reward: this project aims to control our Sonos with simple Slack commands and a vote system in every open-spaces.
Blueberry succeeded as the “best creative” project that allows PayFiters to create random lunch with their coworkers.
The “most useful” was PayXtract, a tool that will improve productivity of the onboarding process.
The funniest one was Bell, a tool to trigger a specific sound when sales get new clients.
Key takeaways 🔑
▶️ Plan to do it in advance
▶️ Involve all the employees, not just the Tech team
▶️ Support your players with food, drinks, nice activities and good vibes
▶️ Do it for the creativity, not for the performance
We received great feedbacks from PayFiters. Everyone wanted to participate to the next HackDay. This encourages us to create a new one soon. We’ll find better ways to engage more PayFiters and certainly create amazing tools again.
Thank you to all participants and everyone that helped us organize it from near to far. 🙏
✊🚀 There are still so many ideas, innovations and amazing tools we can create at PayFit.
I hope it can help you start your own HackDay in your company.
Thanks to Hugo Caillard, Emmanuel Bourmalo, Jean-Elie Barjonet, Andrew Kowalczyk, Antoine Laffargue, and Arnaud Lenoble.
-- Arthur Mialon, Engineering Manager