How We Ran Our First Remote HackDay at OpsLevel

Fully-remote OpsLevel HackDay.

Last summer, our team gathered in the woodland heart of Parry Sound, Ontario for the inaugural OpsLevel HackDay. For 24 hours, participants were given total creative freedom while being tasked with creating a demo-able, team-based project. Skills were sharpened, bonds were strengthened, and marshmallows were roasted - it was a blast.

Afterwards, we decided to make HackDays a regular company event at the end of each internship term. Despite the pandemic and the fact that we’re all now working remotely, we didn’t see any reason to miss out on the fun. Thus, the first fully-remote OpsLevel HackDay was born!

I joined OpsLevel only 2 weeks before the whole team started to work from home, but I still took on the challenge of organizing this fun event.

The Challenges of Running a Remote HackDay

Running a remote HackDay isn’t quite the same when everyone is connected via voice and video. It’s not as seamless to start conversations about what you’re working on or to ask for help with your project. But one of the reasons why we run HackDays is to build team cohesion - and working through the challenges of remote collaboration made our team even stronger.

Keeping The Team Connected

To encourage easy back-and-forth throughout the HackDay, we set up a dedicated Slack channel. We used it to exchange project ideas, ask questions, and of course, share memes. We broke up the hacking blitz with some designated break periods - one for lunch games and another for a virtual happy hour. It was great to feel connected as a team and to talk about the progress of our HackDay projects.

The Results

Our first fully-remote HackDay ended with a showcase of virtual demos - all of which showed promise and talent:

  • Tracking Service Level Objectives (SLOs)
  • User-tracking for Teams
  • New UI proposal for Checks creation
  • Free Tier of OpsLevel
  • JSON Checks
  • Websockets for live Scorecard updates
  • Social Media Calendar

These projects provide a great foundation for future improvements at OpsLevel and we’re excited to see where these ideas lead.

As awesome as it was, this HackDay was missing something important: you! The OpsLevel team is hiring. Visit: https://www.opslevel.com/jobs and join us on the next HackDay!

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