Hack Day, Summer 2018

MicrosoftTeams-image

This week I participated in one of the first combined Hack Days at my workplace, which brought together IT teams from across campus that normally don’t interact on a daily basis. I’ve always loved the concept of trusting people and letting them work on whatever they find most valuable for a period of time (it is baked into my team’s sprint schedule three times a year), so I wanted to support the event and encourage my peers to do so in the future.

I’ve been acting as a Scrum Product Owner for the past year and am in the process of transitioning to a team wide ScrumMaster for the foreseeable future, so my hack day projects were centered around building two small tools to assist in the calculation of business value and effort estimation (exciting stuff!):

  • Protocalc: Not the best name I’ve ever come up with, but it works! This simple tool sucks in a JSON object of categories, questions, and answers (and weights to those categories and questions) and dynamically generates a web form out of them. Filling out this form will give you a business value estimate for any item or feature, both out of 100 and out of 20 (depending on how you’d rather round). It’s a simple way to share an understanding of what drives value on our team and removes a lot of the overhead and ambiguity in calculating some usable value indicator. The question and answer set can be easily swapped out for different teams and different value streams making it reusable.
  • Plokker: Most Agile teams regularly estimate the relative effort of items on the backlog as this scoring is useful for determining how much a team can and should commit to in sprints. A pretty popular way to do that is through “planning poker” in which team members determine their own estimates and then try to reach a consensus.

Don’t judge the JavaScript too harshly (it was a hack DAY), but it was really reinvigorating to sit down and just create with no real risk in doing so. I’m still feeling the positive effects from the experience days later. If these small tools have any real impact in our day-to-day work I’ll be sure to report back!

FSL Database / Website

“Sorry I had to run out to meet with another student. The website you built looks amazing and is very user friendly. Thanks so much for working with Cristina and IKM to move this process forward. Much appreciated. Belinda” (Assistant Vice President)

Nice to hear after a good demo!

EDIT: Another!

“Good day all, I must co-sign on Mrs. Belinda’s words. Jordan has been awesome
to work with and has brought to reality a system that will make our productivity more efficient with less human error. Those extended phone calls have been worth it, Jordan =) I am very happy we made it here together! Thank you.”

Dee En Es

Jordan: so, funny story; I just got sick of the name orderofpegasus.sdes. drafted an email to your team for a DNS request for order.sdes instead. on a hunch, I pinged it first and it resolved. realized I had asked for it like a year ago and forgot about it. So thank you, insightful Jordan of yesteryear

Matt: as you can see, we clean up DNS requests regularly