Hackathons have been around since the late '90s and have been used successfully by big companies and small start-ups alike as a way to quickly create new software solutions and to innovate. Here at Ticketmaster we’ve run internal hackathons and invited the public to get creative with our Ticketmaster APIs at events in London, Dublin and Berlin.
The word "hackathon" invokes images of rooms full of developers collaborating technical solutions. But why should software developers have all the fun? If the format works for software, can it be adopted by other less technical areas of our businesses? We decided to find out, and teamed up with PMOFlashmob to run the world’s first Project Management Office (PMO) Hackathon.
We were not short of people keen to join us for the event, and on Wednesday 18 October we were joined by 50 of the PMO community’s finest – from organisations including Lloyd’s of London, River Island, The Open University and The Financial Times.
After a warm welcome from John McIntyre, Head of PMO & Projects at Ticketmaster, our intrepid hackers organised themselves into teams to tackle common industry challenges head on. One of the interesting things about the event was seeing people from entirely different industries knuckling down to work together, and finding common ground and shared opportunities to collaborate on.
The ideas explored were intriguing: interactive dashboards that instantly draw focus to projects that affect the viewer when they tap their staff access pass on the screen; improved ways of visualising complex dependencies; and how to turn the challenge of learning lessons from projects into a game that the whole company can engage in.
As afternoon turned into evening, each of the teams presented their ideas and mockups, and prizes were awarded to the teams with the most innovative ideas, and the ones that were most likely to make a big impact back in their businesses. But while the competition was a key element of the day, the real wins were the relationships that were forged and the ideas that people took away with them.
Everyone who attended agreed the event was a huge success and proved unequivocally that Hackathons should not be left in the realm of software development. I look forward to us hosting another one soon.
Read more about the PMO Hackathon and see the social media feedback here.
Words by John McIntyre (John regularly blogs about PMO topics at hotpmo.com)
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