When I first heard about the Hackathon, I was a bit skeptical. I mean, the name itself sounds absolutely terrifying to someone who doesn’t really code or program. Nonetheless, I decided I wanted to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. Plus, it seemed like a great way to make some new friends.
This year’s topic focussed on how we can improve the employee experience at Tanda. It began on Friday night, where we got the low down on what the next 24 hours would entail. We then pitched our ideas and began to form teams. There was one idea which had caught my attention. It was called ‘Secret Tanda’ — a play on Secret Santa.
The idea behind the project was to focus on improving office culture by allowing people to interact with others who they may, or may not, know around the office. Good company culture is something that I truly believe makes work a lot more enjoyable. Having these close friendships at work will not only boost employee satisfaction, but also increase productivity in the office. I decided that this was the project that I wanted to work on as it is something that I am extremely passionate about.
Saturday morning came and we had a little more of a brainstorming session to see how we could improve and flesh out this idea. We decided that Secret Tanda will work by randomly generating a challenge, where the employee can decide whether to accept or decline. Once the challenge is completed, the employee earns points towards their place on the leaderboard. At the end of the week, the employee with the highest amount of points will win a prize. The social interaction challenges the person to step outside their comfort zone and get to know people ,which they may not have ever interacted with in the past. Having this social aspect, and getting people to interact with one another, is a way to merge many groups together and helps avoid many of the ‘cliques’ which tends to happen in some workplaces.
It was decided that Ruby on Rails was suited most for the project — a framework I was very unfamiliar with, however it provided an opportunity for us to learn and grow as a team. Since our team was relatively new to Ruby on Rails I can honestly say we encountered a couple of hurdles. The team worked extremely hard in the next couple of hours to pump out a MVP that we would be able to showcase in the presentation. I focussed primarily on the design of the interface as it was the part I was most confident with. Over the 24 hours I worked to create the basic markup of what the web-application would look like. We decided that we wanted to follow Tanda’s style to keep it consistent with what the employees already know.
Presentations began, and I was extremely impressed with the products that other teams had produced over the 24 hours that we had. The quality of work that people created in that period of time was outstanding. There were some projects that were fully functional, many of which I would seriously consider using in my everyday life.
I cannot recommend a Tanda Hackathon enough. It was such a great experience and you don’t need to be a coder! I had such a great time, and walked away having learnt many new skills which will aid me in my future endeavours. Seeing such highly produced products and such talent is extremely motivating and makes me want to learn so much more. I’ll definitely be attending the next one!
Special thanks to my teammates Nic, Isaac, and Chris.