August 5, 2020

Hackathons are Not Just for Software Developers

You probably think of a Hackathon as a competition involving highly technical domain experts collaborating on a software project that will be completed in a matter of hours or days. Most Hackathons are just that. However, we opened up our Hackathon to everyone in the company and had surprisingly positive results.

Inclusive Hackathon

We started by asking everyone in the company to submit project ideas that would benefit Liquibase and could be completed in 36 hours. We had a lot of great ideas, including some highly impactful software projects. Our employees voted and the best ideas became Hackathon projects. My project was one of them – New Policies and Engagement: Remote Work. Everyone in the company volunteered for their favorite project and, viola, the Hackathon was on. Since there were projects that didn’t involve code, it was easy for everyone to contribute to a team.

New Policies and Engagement: Remote Work Project

Liquibase, like so many software companies, became 100% remote in March. Some things needed to change and having a cross functional team to decide what should change and how we should change couldn’t have come at a better time.

Here are a few of the recommendations that we’ve implemented:

  • Slack Win-Wires. In the office we celebrated large deals that closed in person almost in an impromptu manner. That wasn’t working. We now have win-wires that we post on slack. We still celebrate!
  • Pay Yourself First. We encourage everyone to make sure that they are leaving time for themselves and their families. This includes time during the day that is blocked for commitments to health, pets, downtime, family and friends. If that time wasn’t blocked out, Liquibasers were just working through the entire day without a break.
  • Home Office Allowance. We recognized that many people were not set up for a home office and many wifi networks were taxed. An allowance was put in place to cover these expenses.
  • Liquibase Manifesto. This was probably the most meaningful outcome of the project. With our commitment to remote work, we wanted to have clear, sometimes aspirational, goals. The Liquibase Manifesto allows us to align the company on who we want to be and helps us to identify areas where we need to improve. View our manifesto.

Our Hackathon was just the beginning and we continue to work on the areas that were identified. I’m now a believer. Bring on the next Hackathon!

Patti Soch
Patti Soch
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