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Running "hack weeks" suggestions


I spent the first 8 months of our company’s life building the platform our first service is built upon (it’s an fully managed online store for local South African crafters) but then ran out of cash and had to go back to consulting. We’ve been doing fantastic on the consulting side, growing from 2 to 5 staff and making more in a morning than the store does all month (which makes me sad). However, we’ve some features we want to add to the store and some other products we’ve half-built that I want to work on so we can wean ourselves off consulting-crack a bit more again. So I’ve declare one week in September “hack week”. Plan is to be internally focused, no client work, all about us.

My rambling prelude is all gearing up to: has anyone else done this? Any tips on how to make that week focused and awesome for the team? We have me (jack of all trades), two devs, one front end designer/developer and the customer services manager. Any ideas to ensure no-one person becomes a blocker and lumped with all the work?


There’s not much to it. Ahead of time, just decide which non-hack-week activities are allowed: new product brainstorming, emergency existing client support, etc.

Try your best to stick to working on the overall goals of the hack week.

I’ve recently decided to do this for a summer and it went poorly. It seems like I keep sliding back into consulting or something. A week is short enough that you can typically put off external stuff until Monday.

Lastly, it helps if the team is excited about the internal projects. If not, you may have to spend some time promoting it.


Well, we do something like this. UserScape’s 2 developers get the last week of each month to work on other projects. It’s not open time exactly, but they don’t work on Snappy. Generally, Taylor will work on Laravel and Eric will work on HelpSpot. So it gives us a way to give soe dedicated time to these other areas. We haven’t done that much special around it, we just kinda do it. It’s worked out pretty well overall.

On a side note, I just talked to a guy at LaraconEU who runs a SaaS business and even though it’s profitable has started consulting and it’s taking off. You consultants are killing it, it’s crazy :smile: Like I’m considering starting one just because there’s insane demand.