Prospa Hackathon 2020

Before I start talking about this awesome event we had at Prospa, following is a Wikipedia definition of what Hackathon means, just to make it clear what the event was about.

A Hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is a design sprint-like event; often, in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, domain experts, and others collaborate intensively on software projects. The goal of a Hackathon is to create functioning software or hardware by the end of the event.

We actually started to plan for a Hackathon much earlier in the year 2020, but due to COVID :( , we had to pause for a while till things seemed close to normal once again. This is why we were wearing winter Hackathon t-shirts in summer ha ha!

Following are the Hackathon t-shirts, and some awesome Engineers flaunting it:

The Hackathon committee did a great job deciding the theme, dates, food, program run sheet, emails and printing the merchandise like digital posters, t-shirts, stickers etc.

The event was scheduled for 2 days, 15th & 16th of October 2020 and the theme was, “Customer Obsessed”, based on one of the core Prospa values. To be clear here, it was consciously decided that a “Customer” could be anyone, not just a small business customer of the company. So even if you wanted to create a solution for another team, you could, because in this case they become your customers :)

A couple of weeks before the event, people were asked to submit their ideas and the Hackathon Confluence page was flooded. Developers were excited to decide which team they wanted to be in. To be honest, I couldn’t decide on just one, I wanted to work on all! In the end 14 ideas or teams were finalised.

On 15th October Morning (Day1) the Hackathon game began. Everyone got busy trying to finish their project before deadline. I remember that my mind was so occupied, because I was working on two projects simultaneously.

On the final day (Day2) after lunch, Engineers were asked to showcase. Some joined this event on Zoom and some at the office, of-course in an open space maintaining our social distancing (stuff we learned from COVID :) ). The whole Prospa team, from Marketing and Sales to People & Culture and Finance, were invited along to watch.

Screenshots of some of the projects are below:

Frankly all the ideas were so unique and great, I felt relieved that I didn’t have to judge them. By the way, I was rooting for the idea that opened a Garage door from a command using Slack bot. It was something so different from any Hackathon I had seen before.

At the end of the presentations, everyone was asked to vote for the People’s Choice Award.

After which the winners of all categories were announced. Following are the winners (and my team is one of them, yay!!!):

People's Choice award:
"Enola Slackbot"
Asif Mushtaq, Arash Emadzadeh, Charlene Remotigue, Ivan Xue, Jake Causby

Exec award:
"Mental Health Slackbot"
Rhiannon Thomas, Sweeta Rebero, Hannah Greenwell, Paulyn Villafuerte, Yoni Marlow

Customer Obsession award:
"Amortization Based Loan Pricing Calculator"
Pankaj Jakhar, Matt Thompson-Moltzen

The day ended with people catching up and having some drinks together, again in a responsible manner keeping COVID rules in mind.

We can’t wait for the next Hackathon at Prospa in 2021

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