From the 8th until the 10th of July, five of our colleagues (Rob Indesteege, Diemas Michiels, Ben Hendrickx, Koen Geerinckx and Sam Van Hoof) drove to the peaceful Flemish Ardennes to participate in Telenet’s latest hackathon. Even though we can’t reveal everything just yet, we would like to share our thoughts about this 48-hour experience…
Telenet’s Product and Strategy Department is working on a new TV service. The company thrives on bottom-up innovation, trying out new things. They want to get out of the “ideas on paper” and towards working prototypes. Therefore it’s no surprise that Telenet chose to run a hackathon in order to build a detailed prototype of the TV service.
“Telenet wants to achieve a lot in the shortest possible period. Best way to do this: a hackathon. Developers are much more focused because they can stay overnight and they don’t have any obligation other than doing what they love (coding). This ensures an increase in productivity of 200 to 400%, compared to a normal working day” knows Dieter Eerens, Data Innovation Consultant at Telenet.
With the right partner a hackathon is a win-win game. “When choosing a development partner for this project, the energy and enthusiasm of the developers are key,” Josephine Deproost, Product Manager at Telenet, explains. “We know icapps from the previous hackathon that we organized together with StuBru, so we were absolutely certain it would be a match again this time.” Dieter ads: “We appreciate that the icappsers match our enthusiasm and way of thinking. It’s really not that simple to find a partner that has both the talent and the energy to join us for 2-3 days offsite.”
A 48-hour lockdown at an exclusive location, with good food, coding and other fun activities? Say no more. Four of our Front-end Developers and two of our Designers were very excited to take part in this adventure and immediately packed their bags.
And so it began. Two product teams got formed on the first night. Developers and designers joined forces to define the concept and to sketch wireframes. At the end of the night, the first designs and functionalities were ready for use. So far so good, until one of the developers got sick that night and had to get back home.
One man down, so the remaining team members had to start the next day with an emergency meeting. After deciding to merge both teams into one, all eyes got back on the goal.
No good ever comes from being glued to your chair all day. That’s why the organization planned a fitness session with a personal trainer. On the program: boxing, battle rope, tug of war, lunges, squats, pushups… Who says developers don’t sport?
In the evening, the team recharged its batteries with fresh duck, shrimps and ribs roasted on the barbecue. A professional massage for everyone was the perfect end of a delicious meal. A long working night followed. Only after 2 o’clock, everyone went to bed for a short night.
Wednesday, demo day! In the morning, the team had a few hours left to refine some features and to fix the last bugs. Around 3 in the afternoon a selection of stakeholders was invited to the demo of the product. The result exceeded Telenet’s expectations. So we couldn’t have wished for a better outcome!
The next steps will definitely be taken the following few weeks and months. “There is a very good chance that Telenet will continue the project. Of course we already know who’s going to build it: icapps, definitely!” Josephine told us after the demo. “We want to thank icapps’ developers and designers for the endless enthusiasm and the excellent quality they delivered at such short notice.”
That sounds like music to the ears of the developers and designers who participated. “My experience is extremely positive. Whatever we needed, the organizers were there to get it for us. Just like personal butlers (laughs)” Diemas Michiels, Frontend Web Developer at icapps, recalls. “The whole team really saw a future in the product that we were building a prototype for. I’m very excited to see how this project will evolve. When the moment comes: sign me up!”