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ACA IT-Solutions organizes very first Ship-it Day

Stijn SchutyserStijn Schutyser

2017, the year that ACA IT-Solutions organized its very first Ship-it Day. Several teams participated in the 24-hour long hackathon and came up with great ideas and results.

The ACA Ship-it Day 24-hour hackathon.

The Ship-it Day is a day in which employees are allowed to work on ideas of their own, in order to stimulate bottom-up innovation in the company. Employees had the freedom to work on whatever they liked, but there were some boundaries. Projects were to be worked on in teams of minimum 2 and maximum 5 people and should be related to the skills, operations and ambitions of ACA. Moreover, every team needed to present their project on Friday at 2 PM. During this 24-hour long hackathon, the teams were of course provided with plenty of pizza and other refreshments.

Gathering interest & teams

“A while ago, we started to think about organizing a Ship-it Day at ACA. This was going to be our very first Ship-it Day, but the concept itself is not new. I was asked to organize this event and of course, I said yes,” says Maïkel Vandorpe, Business Analyst and Project Manager at ACA IT-Solutions. “I started gathering interest by posting some internal blogs. Soon enough, people who really wanted to do something started to form a team around their ideas.”

9 great ideas to work on

On Ship-it Day itself, Thursday at 2 PM, teams started to work on their ideas. There was a total of 39 people, who had formed 9 teams. 2 teams experimented with Amazon Web Services buttons, whereas 4 teams worked on ideas to get to know colleagues better. 1 team had the explicit intent to work with Java Module System (since Java 9 was released on the same day as the Ship-it Day). 2 other teams worked on improvements for the company based on the Atlassian suite.

The winning Ship-it Day team!

The winning team: ourTrack

In the end, it was the team of Gert Bangels, Yves Claes, Bjorn Jaspers and Davy Steegen who won. They developed an application that they call ourTrack, which is an upgrade from the current application MyTrack. OurTrack is a platform that allows people within the company to upload their resume. The team developed a new UI for the platform and created additional features such as an activity stream that displays recent news, changes or uploads. Additionally, it is also possible to filter people per project, per certain (set of) skill(s) and per group, e.g. a group that contains all Java developers. The platform also facilitates choosing team members for projects, since it allows you to filter on the basis of skills that are required to work on a certain project. The winning team got a nice trophy!

Many more Ship-it Days to come

“We have learned a lot from our first Ship-it Day,” says Maïkel. “We definitely saw evidence that there are plenty of great ideas within our company. It was also astonishing to see how much a team can realize in a mere 24 hours, even when we take our Lean and Agile principles into account. It looks like we will organize more Ship-it Days in the time to come, as we are very curious about the long-term effect on the mindset and culture of ACA.”

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