Lucid Hackathon 2022: A QA perspective

Emma Reece

Reading time: about 5 min

Topics:

  • Behind The Scenes

I’ve been working for Lucid for almost four years as a senior QA specialist, and there is one thing that I look forward to every year: the Hackathon. All members of our R&D teams, which includes designers, engineers, QA specialists, product managers, and analysts, set aside their usual work and focus on the creative frenzy that is the Hackathon. But, since I’m not a software engineer, you might be wondering what a non-developer does during a hackathon if they can’t code. We get to flex creative muscles and show off other talents we have. 

The Hackathon actually starts a couple of weeks before the official start date and time. You have to form a team around an idea. This year I was on the “Delightful Lines” team with four software engineers and a UX designer.  A good hackathon team is made up of diverse talents. You need members that can dive into the code, but you also need people to handle your idea pitch, user experience (UX), project management, video editing, and idea creation. This is where team members who aren’t software engineers can really shine. 

Every team needs to make a pitch video to get people to come to their booth during the science fair portion of the Hackathon. My background is in advertising, so my focus on the team is usually the pitch video and selling the idea. It’s always amazing to see the talents that emerge during the Hackathon.

Day 1: Panic

The first day I work on my “big idea” for the pitch video. This is always the most nerve-racking part. What is going to be entertaining while also demonstrating what we accomplished during the allotted time? While I noodle on that thought, I usually walk around the office and try to help others think of ideas for their pitch videos. Since I have a lot of experience with the Hackathon, I like to help others bring their ideas to life. It’s fun to see other teams’ projects and be part of that creative process. At the end of day one, I have usually settled on the big idea of what I want to do for the pitch video and write up the script, shot list, and prop list for the next day.

Day 2: Calm

The second day is usually one of my favorites. The hardest part is over—now it’s all about execution. I wake up and immediately get to work bringing in props, equipment, and getting the rest of my team ready to act. It’s so fun to see my co-workers display other talents than I am used to seeing. Our Scrum team lead was the main actor in the video and did a really good impression of the Old Spice commercial. The UX designer was a killer video editor, and I couldn’t have had my vision come to life without him. After we got all of our shots, he went right into editing. While he was doing that, I helped other people with their video, offering ideas on concepts, brainstorming, and giving my general advice on how to execute on a good pitch video.

Day 3: Sell, sell, sell

The third day is always a blur. We kick things off with all of the pitch videos, which is probably my favorite part. It’s  interesting to see the different directions everyone takes to sell their ideas to everyone at Lucid. This year was especially nice because they introduced more categories teams could win in, not just 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall. There were categories like Built to Delight, Unbelievable Engineering, and (the one I was most excited about) Best Pitch Video. 

After the pitch videos are shown, the science fair portion of the Hackathon begins where everyone visits team booths to learn more about the ideas they just were introduced to. I joke that the sales pitching side of me hibernates all year round in preparation for the marathon of pitching that lasts for three hours straight! I turn into a completely different person—kind of like a circus ring leader: come one, come all to see Delightful Lines in action! Everyone at Lucid is invited togo around to see all of the projects.

All good things must come to an end

Once the science fair ends, an exhausted quiet falls over the participants. People start to clean up their booths and debrief about how they think everything went. The Delightful Lines team came together and congratulated each other on a job well done. We knew that we gave it our all, and if we didn’t win anything, at least we created a good project and entertained everyone. The closing ceremony was about 30 minutes after the science fair ended. We kicked things off with the two general awards: Teamwork Over Ego and the Endurance award. I was so happy to be included with about 10 others that won the Teamwork Over Ego award. 

Then it was time for the team awards. Delightful Lines ended up winning first place in one of the categories. All the other main categories had a winner and a runner-up, but the category that I was anticipating the most, Best Pitch Video, had a first, second, and third place. When it was time for that category, they started by announcing the third-place winners. I got really nervous when third and second place went to other teams, but when they announced first place and our team came up on screen, I jumped out of my seat! 

Hackathon is such a whirlwind, but I look forward to it every year. I’m so happy that Lucid has their hackathon set up to include those who aren’t software developers, such as myself, and I really feel valued. Now I’ve got to go back into my hibernation state in preparation for next year!

About Lucid

Lucid Software is a pioneer and leader in visual collaboration dedicated to helping teams build the future. With its products—Lucidchart, Lucidspark, and Lucidscale—teams are supported from ideation to execution and are empowered to align around a shared vision, clarify complexity, and collaborate visually, no matter where they are. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucid.co.

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