In any big organization, product and engineering pipelines are the two main ways to develop and enhance the product. The product pipeline is focused on product development and business around that product, whereas the engineering pipeline is more focused on making things easier for developers building that product.
This helps the overall product but raises one major question, the priority. There is limited time to make things live, putting these two pipelines together seems impossible sometimes. Which forces us to put things in the backlog just to meet the current deadline and make things live.
What the heck is BitsNBytes?
At Naukri, we had a similar challenge and it needed to be solved, so we decided to do regular one-day hack events which we call BitsNBytes.
We have started doing BitsNBytes event from this summer with a clear goal in mind, to solve major engineering and product hurdles and clear backlog from these two pipelines.
The process is very simple and as follows
- Pick one problem from the backlog
- Gather a few people from various teams
- Accommodate them into a single room
- Discuss and divide the problem into smaller tasks
- Put them into sticky notes which one can pick and start working
- Solve the problem with a production-ready solution, not a prototype
- Finish in one single day
To select participants for each such event, we sent out an email with the event details to everyone and we wanted people to volunteer.
After receiving volunteers, we talk to their managers and ask them about their availability on the event date.
Once everything goes well, we schedule a meeting with the volunteers and discuss the problem and possible solutions. We want them to think, prepare and research around the solution and prepare themselves.
Other than solving the problem with a production-ready solution we also want to achieve the followings
- Build a production-ready solution, not a prototype
- Enhance the intra-team engagement
- A fresh experience for participants from their daily job
- Put them into little pressure to think out of the box
Lunch and snacks
We wanted the participants to stay in the room for as time as possible so we have accommodated lunch, snacks, and drinks in the same room. So that participants can focus on the problem and its solution.
The Interaction window
To have a glimpse of the event and its experience there was an interaction window of 2 hours, in which other people can come and ask questions about the overall event and experience.
We have interviewed every participant post-event to get their opinion about the event and record a video of their interview. Which we will add into the event video and publish on various social channels.
After the event completed we decided to do a talk to share the experience and solution across teams.
With the talk session, we wanted other teams to understand the solution and start using them within their products. The event also helps them to ask questions about the solution, how it can benefit them and how was the overall experience for participants.
The very first event
We did our very first event on 18th July 2019 with the following problem statement,
Build a single configurable component to render various charts in cross Naukri products using Fusion Chart as a primary library.
Why this was needed?
At Naukri, we have lots of data presented to the user to help them make better decisions. The data visualization library we were using was some open-source with very limited functionality and cannot help us to visualize complex data structures. So we needed a capable visualization library to help us build better visualizations.
We have picked six front-end engineers and one QA engineer along with the two senior people from four different teams to get started with the event.
Me (Ashok Vishwakarma) and Alok Srivastava were the two senior people.
Varun Kumar Singh, Prashant Shekhar Singh, Jitendra Pathak, Sakshi Mehra, Sarthak Singh, Rohit Dixit from front-end engineering and Satyam Rai from QA.
We successfully built the charting library and published the same in our internal repo to be used by various teams.
In the post-event talk, we discussed this new charting library we have developed, the experience of the overall event. People asked so many questions and we answered them to their satisfaction. Overall it was a successful event we have built a solution which will help multiple teams to visualize their data for their users.
The idea of having Hack Day to clear backlogs has become so popular that many teams and even other verticals of InfoEdge, like, Jeevansathi have started having their own Hack Days!
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