Here at Cutover, our teams are passionate about what they do. We strive to build a culture that supports teams in achieving business goals, while also recognizing the importance of providing opportunities for creativity, learning, and fun.
As part of our commitment to this, September marked Cutover’s inaugural full team hackathon, entitled the ‘Integration of Things’!
The Integration of Things hackathon
The Cutover platform integrates with a whole range of third-party apps, enabling users to consolidate their activities and extend the value of tools they’re already using. A recent addition to the Cutover platform is a revamped integrations capability, which allows for the seamless execution of automated tasks from within a runbook.
Underpinning this is a framework that aims to make it easy for our engineers to add new integration types, by writing a couple of self-contained classes of code to communicate with third-party APIs. These classes are slotted into our core software, making the newly created integration available for use within the system.
Our Integration of Things hackathon was focused on adding new integration types, helping us to test out the framework. The event also served to familiarize the wider team with the concept, and bring our people together to explore exciting integration possibilities - and compete for some prizes, too!
Involving almost everyone from the Engineering and Product teams, the hackathon was a fully-distributed event, with teams collaborating remotely from across the UK, the US, and Hong Kong.
From integrations with Google Sheets and Octopus Deploy to more novel integrations, like runbooks that pull weather information or produce Kanye West quotes, the teams’ collaboration resulted in some great work:
Two of our Engineers, Zach Powell and Iuliia Skliar, created an integration with Sheets in Google Drive, pulling runbook task data from Cutover to update a spreadsheet in real time.
CTO Kieran Gutteridge built an integration that automatically triggers a deployment in Octopus Deploy.
Designer Dave Chisholm, Product & QA Manager Emma Lonergan, and Cloud Engineer Jack Fenton worked on an integration that checks the weather at various locations!
What we learned
The hackathon helped to bring people together in new ways. Small teams were created by mixing employees from different squads, across locations and specialties, to introduce people who wouldn’t usually get the chance to work together.
Remote participation gave our teams the chance to experiment with new tools for working together, as well as finding different ways to use our daily collaboration tools.
The mix of integrations built ranged from the commercially viable to the ‘just-for-fun’: all equally important in proving out our integrations framework, finding ways to improve it, and sharing integrations knowledge throughout the entire team.
Beyond this, we found that moving our teams away from the pressure of daily work for the day - to collaborate in a fun and unstructured environment - opened up the creative floodgates and led to some great ideas.
Even when we’re busy, we understand the importance of enabling our people to ‘switch on a different side of the brain’ every once in a while - to think creatively, to learn from each other, and to unwind. With the hackathon a huge success, plans for the next event are already in motion when we intend to involve even more people from across the entire company.