5 Reasons You Should Organise a Company Hack Day
Despite the name, Hack Days are not about trying to ‘hack’ the system… although they do involve a fair bit of innovation and ingenuity!
Hack Days are a 24-hour period where we encourage our Software Developers to step out of their day-to-day projects and work on a project of their choice. It’s an opportunity for our software teams to explore new and creative ideas, step outside their comfort zone and collaborate with their peers.
The concept of a Hack Day embodies a culture of innovation - which is an integral part of life here at Modica. We believe being in a constant state of innovation is what helps drive us forward as a company, fosters creativity and boosts our success!
Hack Days have become a regular occurrence at Modica, and it’s clear that there are many benefits for both the company and the individuals. Here are 5 key reasons why you should organise a company Hack Day:
1. Unleash Creativity
Many of our Software Developers are creatives in their own right. Allowing them to unleash this creativity on a project of their own choosing has led to many innovative products, features and workplace improvements at Modica. These ideas are over and above what is currently on the product development roadmap.
Sometimes working remotely (as some of us Modicans do) can be quite solitary. So Hack Days encourage an environment of collaboration and teamwork amongst our peers. Being able to work with a small group, who are equally passionate about the project, brings the team together on a whole new level. Working with people with different levels of expertise (and outside of each other’s direct team), also meant that we were exposed to fresh perspectives and ways of working.
3. Empower the People
During our Hack Days, the executive team are very much hands-off, only coming into the equation to watch the demonstrations. This encourages a flat organisation scenario, where choices of the participants are based on consensus rather than being fed down from the top. The team feels empowered to do their best work through autonomy and ownership of the projects.
4. Boost Morale
There’s always a certain buzz in the air on the days leading up to, and day of, Hack Day. The best thing is knowing that the projects don’t need to be perfect before they are shipped - the goal is to simply get something to the point where it works! If you don’t get it to 100% the first time, there is a Hack Day each quarter, so it is possible to keep working on it at the next one. This also lends us time to work on fixes or ideas that have been floating around during our day-to-day work. With less pressure on the cards, there is more enjoyment all round from the team.
5. Solve Business Challenges
With getting a project to the point of where it works, iterations can be made before it becomes a fully-fledged product, feature or innovation that ultimately will help solve business challenges. There is a certain sense of achievement to have produced a project from scratch during a Hack Day and knowing that this will have a positive effect on people or businesses. Many of the concepts that have come out of our Hack Days have added huge value to Modica Group. Without Hack Days, these ideas may never have got a look-in.
Hack Days are also utilised successfully at other tech companies. Just look at the Facebook Hackathon - Messenger, Timelines and Likes were all born of out their version of a Hack Day!
Some of Modica’s Hack Day creations have included:
Sampling/Trying different two-step verification services
Various UI improvements
Hack Day has become a stalwart of life at Modica and we love that it allows our talented Software Developers a chance to stretch their creative muscles, work together as a team and embrace our innovative culture.
If you start your very own Hack Day at your organisation – let us know how it goes!