LBR’s inaugural hack day

There was a buzz of excitement through LBR’s London office last week, as we hosted our first hack day for the Product and Technology division. The hack day involved developers, analysts and product managers working in small teams to tackle a problem together.

Maintaining connections in a remote world

Throughout the pandemic, the teams have adapted to remote working fantastically, but we all acknowledge that virtual interactions just aren’t quite the same as working in the same physical space as your team. The theme for this hack day was around building connection in a virtual working environment and building a web app that helps colleagues stay in touch with peers, with no limit to what the teams could come up with and build. Despite working together remotely for months, some members of the team had not yet met in person.

Hack Day Goals

Tools and snacks

LBR provided everything the teams needed to make the most of the day – git repositories, docker compose templates for different stacks (dotnet/SQL, Express/Mango, PHP/MySql), senior developers on hand to support or answer questions as needed and, of course, a limitless supply of pizza and coffee.

The ideas

One team created a calendar subscription app – where each person can specify when they would be in the office and easily see who else would be around. It encouraged meet ups and coffees with people outside your immediate team, and surfaced social info like birthdays and photos. They used .Net 6 and React and involved a healthy dose of fighting with Azure AD authentication.

The other team went for a tea break app, where anybody could suggest a tea break and the app would post into MS Teams and call an API to suggest a conversation topic, discussion point or image. They had plenty of fun exploring Teams integrations and SignalR, which allows for real-time updates in the browser, so you could see exactly who was online and everyone saw the same set of suggestions at the same time.

The first of many

With the first hack day under our belts, we are hoping to host them regularly and get our brilliant team tackling fun, interesting problems that allow them to explore new technologies, build relationships and have fun.