Starting today we’re going to be trying something a little different in our development team. For the entire week our project schedules are being put on ice while all our engineers and designers (12 of them) are being left to their own devices to hack on whatever they want, so long as it’s FreeAgent-related.
Hackathons like this are nothing new in the software development world – Google offer 20% time, Atlassian have FedEx day . It’s no surprise that developer-centric companies are doing this more frequently. Hack days provide an opportunity for developers to get properly in the zone and push themselves to deliver something different; to learn and apply a new technology; to deliver that project they’ve always wanted to kick off but haven’t yet been able to prioritise; to take that crazy idea they’ve been thinking about for ages and prove the concept with a working prototype; to pair-up and have fun.
A lot of hackathons are for an exhausting 24 or 48 hours, with long nights and lots of caffeine. Our developers are more than welcome to stay late and hack (we’ll buy in pizza – or more likely, burritos – and everyone can help themselves from our resident beer fridge), but we don’t want to make that mandatory just to get stuff done. Instead, we’re just making the hackathon a whole week long.
Hack Week is a prototype itself. Expectations are high but of course software projects often fail. We’re cool with that though, because we know we’ll learn something valuable from the experience and we’ll enjoy the ride!
I’ll be blogging during the week about all the projects we’re undertaking and I’ll post again about what we accomplished on Friday.