HackDays: How they help us and why we love them

HackDays: How they help us and why we love them

At Montoux, we pride ourselves on a number of initiatives and rituals keeping the community and creative energy of a startup alive in a rapidly scaling company. With a team of 50 working from four different countries, things like Thursday team lunch and daily stand ups become increasingly valuable to keep us all connected.

Of all these initiatives, Hackday is one of our favorites. It’s a day when the NYC and Wellington offices (our two largest) break from their typical day-to-day responsibilities to collaborate across teams to build something new. These ideas range from features for our website to product improvements that benefit our customer, but the idea is, whether they work out or not, you have a day to hack away at something you’ve wanted to try. There’s also pizza involved.

Hackday is a day we all look forward to and helps bring all of us together to celebrate our collective culture, creativity, and talent in a unique way. “It aligns with our company values,” explains Adela May, our People and Recruitment Manager at Montoux. “It’s a chance to tackle problems in an innovative way and nurture relationships across our global business. We get a chance to have fun together, all while blowing our customer's minds through innovations and improvements to our products and services.”

Montoux just hosted our third Hackday on Feb. 14th with 28 proposals across our two teams. Our theme this time around was ‘customer love’ and the challenge was thinking through each project and directly linking it to customer benefits. Check out what that means for us here.

When we weren’t busy working on our projects and devouring pizza, we went around and asked a couple of team members to explain what they love about Hackday. One of the themes that consistently comes up is the ability to work with people on different teams, and even in different offices.

“I like it because it's a chance to get to do something that’s not in your day to day role,” says Asher Hutchings, Senior Designer at Montoux. “It’s a chance to see what other people in the team are interested in other than their normal role.”

Adela agrees: “It's a great way to work with people from across the wider team that I wouldn't usually get the opportunity to.”

Another reason is the ability to focus wholeheartedly on one project born completely out of our collective curiosity, creativity, and enthusiasm.

Caleb Tarzwell, an actuary in our Wellington office, said, “I like the creativity, and the opportunity to focus on things that are important but non urgent. It's cool that people get to come up with what they will work on.

“We can innovate quickly on Hackday, pushing hard to achieve our outcomes. It’s fun collaborating with people that we usually wouldn't. Also pizza,” says Luke Inkster and Devon Steenberg, some of our hungriest software developers from our NYC and Wellington offices.

We follow up our Hackdays with some good old-fashioned presentations - and some friendly competition. Our judges, in this case Hackday organizer and Software Engineer Glen Peek, Infrastructure Chief Jono Wierenga and our Chief Customer Officer Shelley Cox, judged our Hackday projects in a number of categories: Non-Technical Award, Technical Award, Montoux Value/Customer Love Award, and People’s Choice Award.

If you’d like to learn more about our Hackdays or about Montoux, who we are and what it’s like being a Montouvian, please check out our Careers page or reach out to us!

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