MBAS H4CK4Good – Atlanta – June 2019 A First Timers Account….

MBAS H4CK4Good – Atlanta – June 2019

A First Timers Account….

Graham “show-me-the-code” Tomkins
Expectations:
(Adrenaline Level: Normal +10)

Upon signing up for my first PowerApps Hackathon, my brain ran off with dreams of sleep deprivation, Visual Studio compiler errors, night long lock-ins, pizza, tears, Coca-Cola, intravenous coffee, lengthy presentation and a serious atmosphere….

How wrong was I (in a good way it turns out)!

Prep!:
(Adrenaline Level: Increasing +20)

After being contacted by Geetha the awesome leader of TeamBlack (woo go team!) my thoughts raced on further – just how much code can we produce? What constraints will we have? Etc.  Across the week preceding the Hack, the team was stood up, got to know one another, lost members, gained members – most importantly (or so we thought) we had used the numerous evening calls to read and understand the scenarios, choose one and put a plan together to ram as much of the platform into a solution as humanly possible – by the time it came to travel – we had a plan!

An awesome Plan.

Arrival and Openings:
(Adrenaline Level: Static +20)

With the jet lag kicking in and the immense American breakfast sitting heavy, we arrived early (ish) with the like of Chris H, Will, Lucy M, Sarah A and Sarah C to find an ever growing room of helpers and equipment getting setup – also crucially, there was ample caffeine available.

Give me the Coffee and No-One Get’s Hurt

After the meet and greet with the team – plus newly assigned awesome team members – and muchos consumption of coffee and diet coke – the opening presentations occurred in all of their profanity riddled glory – whilst they were great, it dawned on us as a team that they had underlined something fundamental that was missing with our plan….. a solid and relatable problem statement!

Oh $%^&!

GO GO GO!:
(Adrenaline Level: Argh! +50)

Panic! Quick find a problem statement to fit our plan…. Or better yet – torch the original tech driven plan in favour of something with a relatable and real world problem statement (Thanks to Ghaith)!

Light fuse and stand well back

The team rallied around the real world experience in a medical disaster relief situation and we re-formed the plan into a solvable problem, the tasks were divvy’ed up and we began!

GO TEAM! YEAHH! (American Style Wooping)

 

Access Denied? Build Build!:
(Adrenaline Level: Argh^2 +60)

After the sorting of permissions and the usual environment fun and games, everyone was in and working – Josh on PowerBI, Geetha on the Canvas App, Ludovic and Ghaith on real world data and guidance of the in progress Model Driven App whilst keeping one eye on the presentation and demo.

Problem 1 occurred – Why won’t it accept the Accelerator package solution?! It turns out regional locale settings dramatically affect the result of demo data 😊 after that we were away with the usual fun.

TBH the trial environments responded pretty well throughout the barrage of changes being hurled there way by teams left right and centre.

Who the Hell Pressed Publish ALL?!

 

Is that Food I can smell?:
(Adrenaline Level: Floor +0)

People kept walking past my desk with plates of something that smelt divine – and being a professional and 110% focussed on my work – I resisted…. For about 15 minutes….

Omnomnomnomnom omnomnom

The Blackout – where did my hours go?:
(Adrenaline Level: Ceiling +70)

After the chicken, mashed potato and on-boarding of more caffeine, we hunkered down… the carnage continued and we felt on track…. That was until William (full name used for serious effect) put the count down clock upon the screen…. It’s ok…. It must be a joke!…. right?…. we must have 3 or more hours remaining….. nope…. 41 minutes 19 seconds….

 

What The Actual *&^% Happened!

.…. The time ticked away and with 9 minutes to go we had a great framework, some things were working – others were bodged or ditched completely – at this point we felt like we had left enough time for the team to focus on the presentation practise and planning….

Honest. Guv.

Stop! Demo Time:
(Adrenaline Level: Penthouse +200)

The adrenaline started to peak, did it work? Who was first? Holy Crap where did all of these people come from??

We were up 2nd, it went well – didn’t it? No-one threw food or booed too loudly, that’s a plus right?

And breathe…

As we watched and applauded some awesome teams and results – the strength of the community I was sat in became ever more apparent.

Judges Deliberation:
(Adrenaline Level: And Relax +10)

Their task was tough, the teams had produced some fantastic outputs…. And bribes…. They needed time to think…. And that left a void in the plans and presentations, which, in any other arena would have been awkward and left me feeling uneasy – not here though.  As we went around the room for introducing and applauding the team leads, individuals from all over the place starting chipping in with feedback and comments, we heard from Lucy and most of her family tree, the charities who have given up their time on a Sunday etc. it dawned on me that all of the other ‘communities’ I had been party to, in my technical career prior to this were very much forced, cold, meeting like experiences in comparison – what we had here, in all of it’s profanity riddled glory, was the complete opposite.

Woo Group Hug

 

Overall:

The winners deserved it, I loved it and will be will be doing more, everyone had a great day (or so I think 😊), next time I will focus in on a smaller problem rather than trying to solve a wide array (which we did get close to but is damned impossible to demo in 5 mins!).

I will now be doing my best to pour some of my 13 years technical CRM (!) development experience into the community – #GottaLoveTheCode

Thanks All – This was not a boring Sunday

 

Proper Beer:
(Adrenaline Level: Replaced with Endorphins and Fermented Hops -100)

Oh and not to forget the lengthy celebrations that occurred after the event with a superb turn out at the German Beer Bar

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