Let’s get hacking

Posted by Fijke Roelofsen on November 14, 2016


“Please tell me you’re seeing this too.” Read all about this year’s Hackathon.

On 13 October, our developers across Europe teamed up for the Hackathon, a day to mix up the teams, take a break from regular development tasks and focus on original new ideas.

With whiteboards full of diagrams and ideas, and the hum of heated discussions in the background, the Delft development department felt a little bit like your favourite crime series, only better because there were strawberries. And no murders, discussions weren’t that heated.

Before the big day, a number of ideas had already been posted online, and throughout the Hackathon, these ideas were altered and tweaked, and some even turned into working apps. At the end of the day, stress levels rose slightly, but thankfully there was pizza, which, as we all know, can take the edge off anything.


The great reveal

The next morning it was Friday the 14th, a date that sounds benevolent and unremarkable. But things aren’t always what they seem: it was time to present the day’s results to fellow developers and critical judges. Some ideas were practical and came with working demos. Others were of a more philosophical nature, such as a pop-up reminding colleagues to update their team wiki with a particularly ‘agile’ ignore-button (it dodges your clicks). Surprisingly, this idea didn’t win any prizes, but it did get everybody in the right mood. Although many brilliant ideas were presented that morning, from a chat integration to a user-friendly interface for tagging knowledge items, our expert judges only awarded prizes in four categories: most potential for the future, most useful for our own organization, most useful for our customers and, first up, most useless (in general).

hackathon photo

Fun, functional and future potential

The prize for most useless app went to a very small Dutch team that presented a rough concept for a web add-in. It wasn’t so much the idea itself that was useless, but the judges’ reasons for awarding this prize can be perfectly summarized in creator Michiel’s own words: “I broke it again, so the cool stuff doesn’t work anymore.”

Two of the other three categories were won by teams based in Germany. Although all teams presented brilliant ideas, the one that stood out as particularly useful for our customers was a neat, already functional app that can show users available rooms and lets them view reservations directly from their phone. The app had a very clean design for something that had been created in such a short time. All in all, it wasn’t a big surprise that this well-executed project was the winner in this category.

Next up, the concept that the judges considered the most useful for our own organization: Another German App, this one created by team TOPzilla, a name that doesn’t reflect the character or appearance of any of the team members. The problem they tried to solve was this: often, our customers create incidents in TOPhelp with bugs or suggestions to improve our software. However, once the incident is picked up, the customer can no longer track its progress. Team TOPzilla came up with an integration that would allow TOPhelp incidents to be updated with information from our Agile software. The app already had a demo, which made quite an impression on our judges.

Last but not least, the judges awarded the prize for most future potential to an idea called TOPglass. It was still just a concept, but the team was clearly passionate about creating an intuitive way to send and receive feedback. They came up with innovative plans that could make communication with our customers much more dynamic.The award ceremony concluded this edition of the TOPdesk Hackathon. We all went back to our desks knowing that we’d seen nine cool ideas and we’re already looking forward to the next edition.


About the author: Fijke Roelofsen

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