Hackathon is a popular event in software companies where programmers, developers and other people involved in software development come together to work on a project. It can be on an existing project or a new one. It is usually a competition between individuals or different teams, and in the end all good ideas are used to find the optimal solution. So, it is an event where collaboration meets competition. At Niswey, we just had our first-ever analytics hackathon.
The idea was to get everyone at Niswey into the realm of analytics and see what they could come up with. We were split into two teams. The problem given to us was to analyze the website data of one of our clients, and find ways to increase leads from their target geography. Two hours were given to each team to study and analyze the data, and then present their findings.
When we started, not many of us had much experience of working with Google Analytics. But from the word go, we were busy exploring the tool, and one could hear words like “data”, “traffic”, “leads” from everyone in the office. There was a strong sense of competition, and that’s what pushed each team to explore the tool, faster than they could have done otherwise. There was no leader in the team, but everyone was leading their own findings. Everyone had taken responsibility to lead their team to win the competition. This is what happens when you work as a team, and not in the team. Working in a team confines you to certain tasks, but when you work as a team everyone finds ways to lead the team to a win! Each of us was responsible for the entire team, not just for ourselves.
— Suma E P (@sumaep) March 20, 2015
In the two hours, we had figured out that the solution would not come from the Google Analytics data alone. We checked the company website, researched top competitors and found multiple reasons for the website’s inability to generate leads from the target geography. It taught us that problems are not one-dimensional and they have to be looked at from different angles.
When the other team presented their learnings and findings, we found that there were other perspectives as well which our team had missed. Similarly, the other team also had the same realization.
That’s the beauty of the hackathon. First you compete, then you collaborate and finally you create the best. This event was a great learning experience for all of us. It broke the monotony of our regular tasks, taught us different ways of looking at a problem and helped us improve our skill set. And yes, working together on a new tool, pushing each other and cracking occasional jokes were great fun. The best part is that we have decided to incorporate a hackathon every month. I think the next one will be even more challenging, competitive and awesome.