Facebook’s well-oiled machine has a reason for being able to constantly offer users a better experience, and the reason is called “Hackamonth.”
Ever member of the immense engineer team at Facebook is allowed to take 30 days off from their regular jobs and try a different department or project within the company part of the program that started in 2011.
Google has a similar initiative running inside its company, and it seems to be working for both of the tech rivals. According to James Pearce, a Facebook developer advocate, Facebook’s Hackamonth has taken Google’s program and put it on steroids.
It is public knowledge that plenty of Facebook’s features – yes, even the one encoded in its primary structure – are Hackamonth babies. From the Like button to the concept of Timeline itself, plenty of tools have seen their starts after all-nighters during the famous hackathons.
Pearce said it was interesting how Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, is sometimes the last to know about the new features, as many cool products and new ideas take some time to reach the leadership levels. Most of the neat stuff comes from these engineers doing their thing when they take their Hackamonths.
One all-nighter might not be enough if an engineer wants to fix or upgrade a more architectural problem. This is the main reason why the Hackamonth program was established. If an engineer has an idea about a potential hackamonth project, Facebook’s internal network helps them find other engineers to team up with.
Good news is that you don’t have to leave the new team if you realize at the end of the month that you clicked; according to Pearce, there’s no tension or hard feelings about these kinds of transfers from one team to another. The most important thing among colleagues is to become an asset to your team and bring your best – whichever team that might be.
The company definitely appreciates generous engineers who don’t mind lending out their expertise to other projects or departments. Pearce said that a large amount of the features coming out of the Hackamonth program is behind-the-scenes stuff that improves the app and the site’s performance.
Hackamonth’s overall impact is immense, and it’s so successful because engineers are allowed to develop what they are interested in and would like to do. And the most important benefit is that it prevents some of the bored out routine that can come with working too long in a fixed job.
Hackamonth’s ultimate purpose is to either offer developers a new energy when they go back to their desk, or help them find a better match in a new team.
Image Source: Facebook