Hackathon#4 - Out of your comfort zone in Bella Italia

For our fourth KNPHackathon, we took our KNPeers to the very beautiful Cascina Erbatici next to Milano.

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After a warm welcome by the hosts, and during the Aperitivo, we took time to thank our CEO Laetitia for giving us twice a year the opportunity to work together IRL in a wonderful environment.

The first challenge for the Team was to bring a little present from his/her homecountry… and Yevhenii came with a very special surprise : a smoked fish, culinary delight from the Lake Baikal in Irkutsk. She also got a Tigrou plush, because she loves basketball :p And a lot of Belvita cakes: as an expat, she misses her favorite cookies for breakfast in Switzerland ;-)

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The next days were full of teamwork, small coffee talks, and long discussions about internal workflow optimization (bus factor, code reviews, standards, communication).

Like the last time, everybody was happy with the organization, we sticked to the same planning : The toy projects were proposed in advance by the KNPeers, everybody was free to join a team and choose the favorite technologies they wanted to explore. Always keeping in mind : Get out of your comfort zone (so mainly, you can play with everything, explore new techs but no typical Symfony app ;-) )

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In the next days, we will publish articles dedicated to each team. For now, as a teaser, we can tell you that at the end of the hackathon we had a Snake Realtime game, a new bot for Slack, an improvement of KNPBundles website and improvements for the Git Projects.

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During coffee breaks, we had lightning talks. David presented React.js in fast forward mode. Albin talked about Ansible and gave some examples you can see here https://github.com/NiR-/akerouanton-name .

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During the four days, we also had discussions about how to improve our internal workflows. After the discussion about the Bus Factor on projects (what would happen if your colleague was run over by a bus and you had to take over his/her project) we decided to have bi-monthly anti-Bus Factor cross project reviews of 2 hours. Each project is randomly given to a KNPeer who has never worked on it, and s•he has 2 hours to bootstrap it. His/Her feedback is written on a github issue and the project team can discuss what should be modified. We already started the Bus Factor sessions this month ! Continuous improvement at KNP: no sooner said than done!

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We tried also another way to collect ideas, with the Remember the future workshop. It’s a funny variant of brainstorming – imagine you are on the Hackathon 2017 (so in one year) and write on post it notes, what would happened during this past year full of events. We will not publish the details, but some crazy and some realistic ideas came out of this session. And most of all, it motivated some team members to contribute more to the KNP Life.

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During the Aperitivo time, we also discussed more personal stuff, like values. We used the Personal Map not to present ourselves (as on Hackathon#3), but to write down our values, why we work at KNP, what are our motivators ?

Last but not least, of course, we played with Legos! This time Cécile Es hosted the Lego4DevOps workshop. The goal of this game is to discover the basic principles of DevOps, confronting participants with difficulties on a construction project made of Lego. On each iteration, participants must question what is not working and test improvements. At the end, participants have a good vision of what DevOps is. And of course like any agile game, you realize that the interactions between individuals are much more important and necessary that the tools themselves ;)

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Even though the weather was too cold to try the swimming pool, we enjoyed being together, as always there were pool game, karaoke, hammam, massages… and a lot of very good food –  and this time the vegetarians had real vege plates :D

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PS: Find all our photos here… As Laurent and Pierre were not able to come, we dedicated a lot of photos to them. Small challenge for you, can you count how many times Pierre and Laurent were on the photos? ;p

PPS: If you want to join us for the next Hackathon in January, we are hiring at Paris and Nantes! You can discuss with us at the Forum PHP 2016 at Paris, or send an email to hello[at]knplabs[dot]com