After the success of our first company-wide hackathon last June, we committed to hosting more hackathons each year.
So in December, Grafana Labs invited the company to once again press pause on the daily grind and commit five days to our second hackathon.
And the Grafanistas showed up: 148 staffers (almost 20% more than the last round) signed on for the week-long event that involved virtual brainstorming, collaborative coding, and creative presentations. In the end 58 teams — which were all a cross-functional mix of engineers, UX designers, product managers, customer success engineers, and more — created a vast range of projects that involved drones, race cars, and, of course, our core products.
The ideas were so impressive that our esteemed panel of judges couldn’t just pick five finalists as originally planned. As a result, six presentations were shared at the December all-hands for the entire staff to vote on.
“Everyone, myself included, was blown away by the quality and the variety of the hackathon projects our second time around,” said Grafana Labs CEO and co-founder Raj Dutt before introducing the finalists. “I cannot understate that, particularly for a hackathon that happened in December with relatively last-minute planning, the results were just spectacular.”
It was far from merely a popularity contest; the hackathon teams were judged on a set of criteria that included technical innovation, design, commercial potential, and the impact to our community or brand. There were also considerations made for growth, whether that be personal growth exhibited in someone learning a new area, a new learning for the company, or an expansion into a new product area. And let’s not forget about the pitch and presentation. (Grafana developers presenting a new collaboration idea as an adaptation of A Christmas Carol? Yeah, that happened.)
In the end, the entire Grafana Labs staff voted for the top three winners, while many of the ideas will be further iterated on and possibly introduced into our product roadmaps.
“We saw a lot of amazing projects again,” Grafana Labs VP of Corporate Development Ash Mazhari said during the all-hands meeting. “We continue to be blown away by the way people continue to innovate in such a short period of time, when given the time and space to do that.”