Building strong teams for better outcomes.
There are many creative ways to build team spirit and morale in the workplace and the most impactful one is organizing team building activities. They can help foster teamwork and improve communication and collaboration within a team.
A shared understanding is essential for effective collaboration; it provides a common foundation for the group to reference, enables accurate interpretation of situations and choices, helps people understand one another better, and greatly increases efficiency.
What are the key elements of a successful team building?
As the saying goes, a change of scenery can do wonders for the mind and body. That is why Devhd team decided to take our team building to new heights - literally - by heading to the mountains for a unique and engaging experience.
As the winter team building kicked off, we gathered to review the achievements and lessons learned from the past year. It was a valuable opportunity to reflect on the progress made in 2022 and to identify areas for improvement in the coming year. We were excited to share our accomplishments with each other and to learn from each other's experiences. It was the perfect time to set goals for the future and to discuss our strategies for achieving them.
At Devhd, we place a strong emphasis on both professional and personal growth. In this team-building exercise, we had the opportunity to learn from our friend Alex Aninosanu from Think Backwards through a live training session. We got to know each other better and learn how to work together more creatively and effectively. This day was a productive and inspiring start to our team building.
"Devhd is one of my favorite clients! I feel so proud when I see a local entrepreneurial company that invests so much in the development of its team. Keep rocking and being awesome guys! This is one of the main reasons why you attract the best talent and bring so much value to your customers." Alex Aninosanu, trainer at Think Backwards.
It is important to find a balance between having a clear purpose and enjoying the experience. Therefore, we continued with a traditional dinner in the beautiful city of Brasov, Transylvania. This was designed to break the ice, come together as a team, and welcome our partners who joined the team building.
The fun did not stop there. The next day, our team gathered for what they thought would be a typical Developer Showcase. Little did they know, we had a special surprise in store for them – the very first ServiceNow Hackathon in Romania!
What is a hackathon you may wonder? A hackathon is an event in which teams come together to collaborate on and develop innovative ideas, often using a specific platform or technology. These events are a fantastic way to bring people together, encourage creativity, and provide team members with an opportunity to learn from each other and build new skills.
First ServiceNow Hackathon in the World
A little bit of history: at Knowledge15, the ServiceNow annual conference, held in Las Vegas, in 2015, they launched the first edition of the CreatorCon Hackathon, an add-on event specifically designed for ServiceNow developers. About 1,250 of them dedicated 2 days to (learning about) creating applications on the ServiceNow platform. It was easy, it was fun and it was central to the founder’s vision.
Fred Luddy founded ServiceNow in 2004 and this is what he had in mind about the Creators: “When I started ServiceNow,” he said, “my vision was to build a cloud-based platform that would enable regular people to create meaningful applications to route work through an enterprise.”
So, I asked Adrian Herdan, Devhd founder: What inspired you to organize the first Hackathon in Romania?
“Together with Florin Danis, my partner, we had a dream to build a ServiceNow community in Romania, as there was none when we first started to work on the Now Platform. We wanted to put Romania on the map through our dedication and hard work in this field. The first hackathon, the formation & the continuously growing Devhd team are key milestones in achieving this dream.”
First ServiceNow Hackathon in Romania
The team was prepared to present & demo new ServiceNow capabilities in a typical Developer Showcase. However, during a brainstorming session, our colleague Bogdan Ionescu challenged us with the idea of organizing a surprise Hackathon. The proposal sparked excitement and enthusiasm within the team, so we quickly rallied around the new plan.
Getting back to our special day, instead of the Showcase, imagine waking up to the following plot twist:
“100 years in the future, humanity will be able to explore other solar systems across the galaxy thanks to advanced technology. The World Space Center (WSC) is close to completing the first-generation ship for interstellar travel. To efficiently manage the operation of space travel, WSC has invited companies to pitch and demo ideas to solve operational problems. The winning company will receive the contract and be a part of the journey. Your start-up, which builds and implements digital workflows for enterprises, plans to take on this challenge and believes Service Management principles can be applied to create applications for managing space exploration operations in ServiceNow. As part one of the 4 teams tasked with ideating, building, and pitching a prototype app, you will work on a topic that will be part of the Space Service Management Application Suite (SSM).”
Four teams were formed, each chose a name and challenge, and they built an app in ServiceNow:
- Space Cheese – supply chain management
- Space Rangers – training and certifications
- Sirius Explorers - star navigation
- Now Mercenaries - weapons and ammunition
The Hackathon was a true exercise in teamwork and dedication. Everyone brought their A-game, brainstormed and coordinated to develop some fantastic projects that centered on space travel and resource management. Thoroughly watched and guided by Adrian Herdan, Alex Aninosanu and Titus Schoebel, our three judges, this activity created surprising learning opportunities and increased trust in our own judgment. We were able to leverage the powerful resources of the ServiceNow platform to bring our prototypes to life, and the results were nothing short of amazing.
Throughout the day, we were constantly reminded of the value of togetherness and trust in the workplace. It was an intense day where we needed all the technical expertise, critical thinking and business knowledge we had. This was a reminder that when we all work together towards a common goal, success is sure to follow.
What were the most innovative apps?
The winners of the Hackathon - Space Rangers, created an automated training & certification program in the Now Platform. Utilizing the SkillFit wearable device, the system evaluated each crew member's skills and assigned custom training tailored to their abilities. The data was centralized for efficient knowledge transfer and analyzed through a predictive intelligence clustering tool to identify top skills for everyone. The system also featured an Idea Portal for feedback, a custom dashboard and pie chart for crew analysis, and a training application called Space Training. This was built with App Engine Studio and included data models, user interfaces, automated workflows & user role management for enhanced productivity, security, and access delegation.
Coming up next, the Sirius Explorers team presented an innovative Space Event Management system which was sending a probe years ahead of light and analyzing the data received. Additionally, in case of a dangerous space event, all ships on that route were notified. This app stood out by integrating with the other apps built during the hackathon, offering location services for weaponry, training, and logistics.
The star of their project was the successful implementation of the virtual agent chat bot using a Natural Language Understanding NLU Model, which enabled the bot to understand, process, and respond accordingly to the queries and requests of the user. The team made a live demo of the chatbot, where members of the audience could engage with the bot by asking questions and interacting with it.
Other ServiceNow capabilities tackled by the teams when building their prototype apps were Hardware Asset Management, Service Catalog, Risk Assessment, Change Management, Event Management, Purchase Orders, Employee Center (custom widgets), Asset Management, Request Management - Order Guides, Custom Service Portal Widget, Knowledge Management and more.
“If we ever actually have to build a Space Service Management module, Devhd | Premier ServiceNow Partner is now prepared,” said Adrian Herdan, our founder.
We left the Hackathon feeling inspired and motivated, knowing that the ServiceNow platform will always be a playground for innovative and creative work. We are already looking forward to the next edition, knowing that with the right team and focus, the sky is the limit.
The importance of working towards a common goal
The following day, we relaxed and went on a hike, putting our teamwork and problem-solving abilities to the test by escaping from four escape rooms. Later, we came together around a campfire, watching the world cup semi-final, singing and dancing, and creating cherished memories with our team.
Our co-founder, Florin Danis, used an analogy, saying "if Devhd | Premier ServiceNow Partner - were a footbal team, we would compete in the major league" following the semi-finals.
Overall, it was a truly special and engaging team building that brought the team closer together and reminded us of the importance of working towards a common goal. Together, we can achieve more than we could individually. And with the right tools and resources, our team will continue to make progress and improve performance.
The beautiful surroundings, combined with the excitement of the first ServiceNow Hackathon in Romania and other team building activities, made for an unforgettable experience. We, as a team, are grateful for the chance to come together once more and we are looking ahead to a bright future. Who knows what fresh ideas we will come up with next time? One thing is certain: the future looks bright when you aim for the stars.