We should really try this new technology…
It would be really cool if we could integrate these two components…
I’ve got a new idea on how we could solve this problem…
… but I don’t have time to do it.
How often do you hear this sort of statement? At Coveo, we hear it every week. Not because we’re overworked, not because we do not take the time to do things correctly. We hear this simply because we have a lot of ideas.
We’re pretty enthusiastic when it comes to creating software. Sadly, due to the nature of software development and the rate at which new technologies are released, we do not always have the time to play with everything we’d like to.
So we introduced Hackathons
In order to force people to free their schedule and give their ideas a try, we’ve started doing Hackathons at Coveo. Everyone is free from their usual schedule for one afternoon followed by one full day during which everyone can work on … whatever, really!
There are only two rules:
- You are not allowed to work on something that you’d normally be working during a standard work week.
- You must have a demo at the end of the Hackathon. No exceptions.
So we’ve been doing this for the better part of 2015 now and the event is still a huge success! We try to host a Hackathon once every 3 months and we’re currently working on our 4th edition.
Some sample projects made during Hackathons
- Creating a mobile-friendly version of our cloud administration application.
- Integrating a world map component into our search results with geolocation.
- Using Spark and usage analytics data to influence the index using machine learning.
- A web service where Coveo connectors can be easily configured online and tested.
- A smart search box with advanced syntax suggestions and highlights.
- SlackLine, a web-based Slack client that can be easily integrated within web apps for self service.
As you can see from this (very small!) sample, the scope of our Hackathon projects is very broad. A lot of these projects were eventually merged into the product as very real features. Some even gave birth to completely new products!
Another positive side effect is that this creates an environment where people that wouldn’t normally work together can collaborate on something cool that they care about.
Hackathons are here at Coveo and they’re here to stay. Everyone loves the event, from the developers to the management team. Here’s hoping that they keep getting bigger.
Who knows, maybe one day we’ll have a Hack Week!