What a line managers job is – up front and center!!

I had the pleasure of helping out with the facilitation of a hackathon at our regular Learning day (#WMRlearning Day) yesterday.

We started out small by just arranging an 8hr hackathon – start at 10am and finish at 6pm (ish). We were very nervous for about 3 mins when the main conference hall for our learning day was empty but slowly about 19-20 people showed up.

After the pitching session we had 4 clear ideas.

1. HAL 2000 – making a voice interface on your laptop

2. A conference room locator (interactive map)

3. A FriendShare APP where you could simultaneously play the same song among friends (over spotify)

4. An automated interface update generator using an eclipse plugin.

Small but promising- everyone seemed  to be commited and engaged to come back at 17:30 and show what they had achieved.

We observed that the newer engineers gravitated towards the cooler suggestions like the FriendShare idea and HAL2000.

There was a really good mix of high school interns, new employees, systems expertise, test expertise and subsytem product guardians.

During the day we checked in on each of the teams to see how things were going – all seemed well except for 1 major impediment where a team were not allowed to get hold of the conference room maps of the building. An impediment that did not stop them.

17:30 came and all reassembled (however some we had to call a few times – they said they just needed “5 for minutes”!! ). Everyone had smiles on their faces and without even being asked the first team started demoing their work.

Without going in to too much detail, noone was able to finish their task completely but they still had great fun presenting what they had done. The enthusiasm and engagement was infectious.

We laughed, we giggled we asked how much they learned, would they continue with the idea, would they do it again.? All answers were enthusiastic, positive and HAPPY.

When the hackathon ended those left in the room reflected that we had not seen such JOY in a long long time and Asked ourselves why we couldnt see this sort of enthusiasm everyday.?

Isnt this exactly what our job as line managers is? Make it so that people are happy to come to work, that they enjoy themselves and feel that they want to contribute and make things work despite obstacles and impediments.

I had been following what Jurgen Appelo was stating in his Management 3.0 and his “Happy Melly” ….. But there it was right in front of me ….. It was quiet remarkable so I wanted to share.


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