Hack the Sheet: Smartsheet's Internal Hackathon

Published on 13 April 2018

Every nine months or so the Smartsheet Engineering and Product teams step away from their regularly scheduled tasks, and take a crack at something new that they're passionate about. And, they don't even need to take vacation days to do it! This special time is our internal hackathon known as Hack the Sheet.

For one week small groups are formed around various project ideas that are submitted by anyone at Smartsheet. Historically, submissions only came from the Engineering and Product groups. Something new about this round of Hack the Sheet is that employees from across the company were allowed to submit project ideas, and employees from 21 different departments submitted ideas.

Getting the chance to work with folks from other teams is one of the highlights for Katherine Senze, Senior Software Engineer on our Marketing Shared Services department.

"Hack the Sheet is a chance to work with engineers across departments and teams on projects totally different than my everyday routine," Katherine said. "It's the next best thing to a vacation!"

Ben Gilbert, Principal Lead Software Development Engineer, agrees that Hack the Sheet helps to preserve a positive work culture as Smartsheet grows as a company.

"It gives engineers a chance to try something new, whether it's a new technology or a feature they haven't had the chance to work on before," Ben said. "It is also good for team-building and shows that Smartsheet cares about innovation and employee satisfaction. It helps preserve some of the small startup atmosphere developers enjoy even though Smartsheet is a much larger company than it used to be."

While the engineers enjoy the temporary change in scenery, management also enjoy what is produced during Hack the Sheet.

Even with such a tight time schedule, the quality of projects in past hackathons has been such, that some have quickly found their way into the Smartsheet product. That's something that excites Gene Farrell, Senior Vice President of Product.

"Hack the Sheet is an opportunity for us to unleash our engineering and product organizations to come up with something creative in a time-bound manner," Gene said. "Being time-bound forces our teams to make simple solutions that unleash power for our customers. And, it forces us to figure out what can provide the highest value in the short amount of time.

"I'm excited about the output, because the teams ideas can be executed in production quickly - which is a bonus value for our customers."

If you would like the chance to work on projects that are important to you, Smartsheet is hiring! Check out our available openings on our careers page.