Before we start the story that I am going to tell all of you, lets look at what this word Hackathon means … Of course from Wikipedia…
A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is a design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, and others, often including domain experts, collaborate intensively on software projects.
The goal of a hackathon is to create usable software or hardware with the goal of creating a functioning product by the end of the event. Hackathons tend to have a specific focus, which can include the programming language used, the operating system, an application, an API, or the subject and the demographic group of the programmers…
As we started our your as working in Domain structure, Customer is one of the important part of the Ride-Hailing Domain… All functions serving Customers in Careem Basecamp (HQ) are under the umbrella of Customer Sub Domain…
Apart from being leaders for different sub departments such as me serving for Customer Growth & Digital Marketing, or our colleague Asma, serving as the leader of Product Management and Experience or our very own Sven, leading the engineering dedicated to Customer; we all three of us are Customer Sub -Domain leaders…
A week ago we said lets try to unite our teams after the merge of these different departments for a specific cause. All people sit in the same environment, work for the same cause, particularly know each other but due to the daily rhythm they have loads to do so interaction might sometimes be in a way that not all people work with everyone together. Eliminating the silos, we decided to run a hackathon. We did this before 2–3 times and each time it is getting more professional, exciting and fruitful.
One of our Senior PM, Yasser took the lead and I was fortunate to help in terms of planning along with other leaders, we quickly set the scene, opened for ideas in Trello, curated the short list of them and gave chance to people to recruit their teams.
We got 9 very strong ideas. Two dropped than one added later and 8 final ideas submitted. With a buzz of a terrible horn on 1st April 2019 at 16:00 UAE time, teams treated with a bit junk food, pizza, some loud discussions, white boards and allocated rooms, over 60 people got together in teams to solve every day problems or things that can Simplify and Improve lives of the people in the Region (MENA-TP) !
After 19 hrs of work, we had the chance to take all teams to the stage and present their working projects. Of course I am not naming them but apart from the excitement of Hackathon prizes etc here is what we learnt and accomplished…
Every team member got to find a team who needs a PM, Digital Marketer, Growth Hacker, Growth Ops lead, Engineer and Designer… This wasn't ideal for some teams due to headcount distribution but was amazing to see all getting together discuss hours, getting to know each other, how other brains work and articulate. How an engineers’ mindset and way of looking to problem is different than a growth hacker or a Digital Specialist are so different but comes up to a point where the problem is solved collectively.
Iterating and Conceptualization
There were tons of post its, white boards full of concepts and people walked through he Customer Journey Map and understood the pain points and tried to find solutions. They asked each other. Also created a bit of competition where teams locked the in to rooms and focused with silence…
Testing and Failing
So this was the fun part… :) They tried bunch of things. Some tried to use APIs from companies to crack some ideas during the booking flow, couldn’t get the location or else and they failed for hrs then rose up from their failures. Thats the growth mindset where you fail and rise up quickly with amazing learns.
Coming up with a working MVP, Minimum Viable Product is amazing in hackathon. Its the climax of the presentation where most of the projects had this. They came up with ideas converted into real products in 19 hrs, which some would go live in 2 weeks for our own Careem colleagues as a beta product soon … Who hooo….
Yes we ate a lot. Everyoneate like Gremlins… 30 Pizza, 6–8 packs of M&Ms, crisps, liters of Coke, Karak Tea, Coffee, Haribo, Marshmallows and of course donuts … We need to change that drastically. :) Was fun. Salads next time please… :)
Amazing creativity on presenting, it was fun, sharing together with SVPs, Domain Leaders and all of their colleagues… 80 people gathered and we have voted for the top ones… Thats secret for us of course but was amazingly fun… We are almost 24 nations, flags of our countries are every where on the floor. We larn a lot from each other not only work but life and experience wise as well. How lucky we are ? :)
I strongly suggest doing these to unlock the potential of team work, hard work, pushing your limits to earn pride, prize and also perception… Careem creates this amazing environment that we can test, iterate and learn … It is a blessing to be part of the culture, company and my amazing Customer Sub Domain team…
VP of Growth and Digital Marketing
Co-Leader of Customer Sub Domain — Ride Hailing