Tech Hackathons at King: 48 Hours of Innovation & Fun Times!

On the 17th & 18th of May 2018, we held another amazing and innovative two-day King Hackathon.

Every two months, we coordinate different offices, in different locations to form collaborative Hackathon teams, to work on innovative software ideas and improvements that they wouldn’t have time to do in their normal daily-routines at King.

Here’s an account of how we set up the hack days from our Barcelona office.

Preparation

Our group of enthusiastic King Hackathon organisers start preparations weeks in advance. At King, we share ideas on the “Ideas Portal”. Participants who don’t know what to do can use this portal as a source of inspiration. While those who know their concept can simply register it for the event.

Every participant has the opportunity to view each idea and more importantly, individuals get to see who they might like to work with as “like-minded people attract like-minded people” and teams can be formed.

From this point onwards, Kingsters start to develop their ideas in preparation for the two-day event!

During the event, we have many special “War Rooms” available for teams to brainstorm and strategise their ideas. One of the primary goals is to create useful solutions, so space and time are required.

Developers and project managers form teams and work together on their ideas over the two-day event. Our events combine both the competitive spirit and the collaborative approach.

“One of the best things about our Hackathons is the innovation that goes into the products that are designed by our teams” 
Belén Senra, Agile Coach at King in Barcelona.

Recent Examples of Our Hackathons

January 2018 –  one project that stood out was “Global Infrastructure Capabilities – Exploring the Google Computing Platform (GCP) to find out what it has regarding global reach”. This project involved two existing challenges: Infrastructure as code deployment & global reach with low latency. The solution was to use GCP as a cloud provider and Kubernetes to streamline deployment. Another stand-out project in March 2018, called – “Gradle Release Notes Plugin” with the creation of release notes from commit logs and integration to build pipelines to co-locate code and for releases not to depend on a 3rd party tool.

A Snapshot of The Teams – May 2018

– Personalised Stories – Understanding microkernels architecture & shaders.
– Resurrecting X-Promos – Embedding videos into cross promos.
– Quieto – Noise level alert system.
– Paqueto – Automated courier notification.

With adrenaline pumping, the octane-fuelled experience was exhilarating for all those involved. There are no restrictions on prototypes, features and game modes or tools that can be worked on – hence the competition was fierce yet fun!

Ingredients for a Successful Hackathon

A dash of innovation…
The exploration of new ideas is essential to create a better workplace  – giving Kingsters a chance to shine!

A pinch of learning…
New skills obtained or to learn about innovative technologies or ways to improve existing tech – is key to help us grow as individuals and as a company.

A handful of motivation…
The King Hackathon is a great way to challenge each other and it helps distinguish expertise and knowledge as well as King brand and culture.

The Right Fuel

Teams were helped to keep up their focus and enthusiasm with hot breakfasts and dinners. The fast-paced 48-hours burned many calories and consisted of lots of focused work, and fuelling the Kingsters involved copious amounts of coffee/soft drinks and free spicy food – to the delight of our participants.

It’s Demo Time

From brainstorming and testing prototypes along with in-depth discussions, each team delivered their demos on the last day.

Essential Facts

– Over 150 people took part in the May Hackathon.
– There were 4-5 members per team on average, ranging from Top Gun mavericks to long-term fanatics across different offices.
– Catering for everyone that took part consisted of delicious Indian cuisine and vegetarian options! Yummy!
– The demo presentations were attended by over 150 people.

How we Select Demo Winners

Our demos are run in parallel with other offices in different locations along with the voting so we usually have many winners on the final day. After all the demos were shown, voting was easy – using the Menti app, people could vote for the best demo and potentially, a product that could be put forward for future development. It was also the best time to share ideas and innovations with other teammates and gather feedback on the event from those involved.

May 2018 Featured Project

Paqueto won the first prize! With a brilliant innovation for a notification system that alerts people over Slack when they receive a parcel as our offices can get a lot on any given day!

Congrats to all those involved in May’s event who made it great! And look out for our next Hackathon in July 2018.

At King, we have the right talent which is essential to our success and it’s what makes our company special, diverse and inclusive. We continually challenge our employees to be innovative, to have fun and more importantly, grow together in the Kingdom.

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