Hackathon at 9to5

Hackathon at 9to5 - During a hackathon, 9to5 developed, among other things, 'DevDash', a MacDesktop app for compliments and points, aimed at improving the working atmosphere.

January 19, 2024

Last December, we organised an inspiring hackathon. During this intensive day, from 09:00 to 21:00, our talented team gathered in their new jerseys to brainstorm and create innovative software solutions that improve our internal processes.

The day was filled with collaboration and creativity in our office, resulting in significant improvements such as more efficient WBSO documentation processes, advanced compliment systems, and improvements in HR conversations. We also explored new developer systems. We had photos taken of the whole team and it was extremely 'gezellig'.

The big winner was the idea of our colleagues Texas and Piotr, a MacDesktop application in which you can give compliments. It is a point system and with lots of innovative gadgets!

Hackathon - kick offHackathon - 9to5 cake
Hackathon - getting startedHackathon - team SuDo


Texas & Piotr's Devdash


We started the hackathon with an hour-long brainstorming session on the concept of devdash. The many ideas we had in our heads needed to be organised and structured in order to get started effectively. We used post-it notes to record this in an outline. This overview formed a representation of the basic functionalities and a scoping of features that we felt were important (must-haves). The less important features (could-haves) were also given a place on our overview, with the idea that, should we have time to spare, we could add them.

Our skillset

We knew that our combination of skillsets made us different from the other teams. Texas is a designer and thus works without writing code, while the other pairs consisted mainly of developers. So we had to make smart use of our combination of skills. Time-wise, it would be impossible to have Texas design for 8 hours and then Piotr convert the designs to an app prototype in real code. So we decided we were going to do mini-sprints in which Texas spends 2 hours working on design and prototyping, and then have Piotr develop the result into the real app. After the 2-hour sprint, we then laid our work side by side and discussed how the designs matched the app prototype and vice versa. This worked very well because it allowed us to further shape the concept step by step based on what was technically possible. Sometimes we encountered obstacles in the code that required us to adjust the designs for a solution that was perhaps more simplistic but feasible.

The result

Devdash is actually a combination of several ideas we had. All matched the theme for the hackathon: "Improve (working at) 9to5". For example, we had in mind setting up a points system in which colleagues collect points by performing tasks related to their work such as, for example, uploading a github commit, setting up a design system for a new project, etc. In addition, we also felt it was important to hand out points for tasks that keep the office in order such as clearing the dishwasher, making coffee and preparing the drinks snacks.

In addition, with Devdash we also wanted to give employees of 9to5 a place to reflect on their own work but also the cooperation with their colleagues. The above two concepts also lend themselves to gamification, which is why we also had the idea of setting up a leaderboard within 9to5 that displays all the actions you do with Devdash.

Finally, as a design principle, we had come up with the slogan "always available, never distracting". Based on this, we had decided that the application should be available from the MacOS top navigation. As a consequence, the UI had to remain small, it had to be invoked from a key combination and be a maximum of 550 pixels wide. Below is an impression of Devdash.

Hackathon - Devdash concept 1 Hackathon - Devdash concept 2

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