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Hackathon - formerly known as Itch Scratching Development

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##The Non-Scratching

Our days are packed. We work on bug fixes, we work on features that have been sold to clients, on pieces required before the next rollout or it may be on the new architecture. We work on things that have a due date or that somebody is waiting for. We don’t have much time to ponder and wonder about all those little things we would like to change or those ideas we have; for all those itches we lack the time to scratch.

How do we encourage people to scratch the itch even if they are not part of our planning? Enter the Hackathon.

##The Scratching

We had our first Hackathon last Saturday. The rules were simple:

  • Work on something related to Coveo.
  • Work on something you would not work in your normal workweek (aka, don’t plan on “working”).
  • You demo what you did before you leave.
  • No beer before noon.

Ok, the last one is not a rule, only a recommendation.

I was impressed by the number of working projects presented at the end of the day. We had some complex NLP tried out, some time saving macros and some UI hacks (by non-UI people). Some even tried to prototype other technology to replace limitations in the ones we have or add new APIs into our infrastructure, and much more. We can say it was an all around success.

Everybody that was present deserves a huge Kudos.

##The Next Time

This was a success that must be repeated. Things to change for the next edition? We’ll try to get more people involved. Since many participants did projects with technology they do not use daily, we should have our computers ready to hack with a setup in the expected technology done the day before. Also, stuff the fridge with beer to ensure it’s cold enough for noon.

Meanwhile, be on the lookout. Some of those itches may come back in the planned roadmap.