Aug 05

How Softwareplant’s hackathons empower our teams and enhance our products

We don’t want to brag, but our hackathons – or ShipIt Weeks, as we call them internally, is kind of big deal that we’re very proud of. ShipIt Events, which have been successfully introduced and popularized by such giants of the IT/ High-Tech industry as Atlassian, became regular events at SoftwarePlant in 2018. What makes them so special? Instead of competing on weekends, we do it for a whole week during working hours. Instead of creating an abstract solution, we’re working on a real product that is used by 10k+ project managers, including those from Fortune Global 500. And yes – even though it’s a hackathon, everyone gets paid the full rate for participating.

Some basic rules

Every eight weeks, our developers freely form teams in which they’ll work for five days, from Monday to Friday. They all have the same task: to develop amazing new features for BigPicture, a plugin to the JIRA Project Portfolio Management system and SoftwarePlant’s flagship product. The challenge is not only to come up with an innovative and useful design, but also to make sure that on Friday, it’s ready to be released. And during ShipIt Weeks the clock is ticking very fast!

Busy, busy week

The so-called Sheep Squad – representatives of Support, Product Management, UX, Marketing, DevOps and System Architecture divisions, ensures the smooth running of the event. They supervise the course of the event and assist all competing teams.

On Friday, of the week preceding the hackathon, there is an official kick-off where all teams present their ideas. On Wednesday there’s a checkpoint: each team briefly presents to Sheep Squad the results of their work so far. They also discuss a plan of action for the remaining days, which at this point should focus on testing and bug fixing. Friday is the most exciting day. At 3:00 pm, the whole company gathers for a demo presentation of all developed features. Each team takes the stage for about 10 minutes and takes everyone through all the functionalities of their designs. And yes – we have a real stage in our office!

After the presentations, it’s time to unwind and party! Each hackathon ends with a big and well-deserved celebration. And while our Planters are partying, the Sheep Squad goes for a meeting and a vote. They choose the winning teams in three categories that represent our company’s values: Teamwork, Passion, and Getting things done.

Mutual benefit and growth

ShipIt Weeks became an essential part of our overall internal company culture, helping us excel as a product provider and grow as a team. For our employees, it became a platform for autonomous, innovative work. They are limited only by their imagination and capabilities. The Sheep Squad makes sure that our developers have all the tools and support they need to excel in their work throughout the event.

Do we ever get bored or tired of ShipIt Weeks? Never! As explained by Marcin, one of our senior developers: “In everyday work, we have to find time for things like company meetings, daily team meetings, problem-solving, bug fixing, etc. These things are important, but still, distract us from what is the real core of our job. During ShipIt Weeks there are no distractions. This is the time when we code. And we’ll never get bored with that.”


Ready to join?

Visit our career page and send us your CV. Let’s meet and discuss your experience, needs, expectations and possibilities to grow with SoftwarePlant.

About The Author

Weronika Wotawa - Employer Branding & Recruitment Manager