On Jan 13 we’ve met in our attic for a 12 hours coding session for one of our projects. Some of us remote, in other cities or countries, most of us in Bucharest, uniting our efforts to push things forward. This article is being written at the end of a long and amazing day, after everyone was done drawing, debating, building flows or committing changes in GitHub.

4 hours and counting

4 hours and counting

The project we worked on today is the ANABI platform. The app centralizes all criminal assets seized in Romania, their net worth and location for the National Agency for the Management of Seized Assets. Goods are often seized as part of corruption-related or other criminal activities. Romania does not have an manageable digital inventory of every confiscated good, therefore the agency is struggling with managing the confiscation process, allocating space in warehouses throughout the country, protecting them, evaluating them and finally reselling or re-purposing those goods. The goal is to map all seized assets so that, first and foremost, citizens know what is going on with these assets. Secondly, the National Agency will also use the platform to administer and re-direct these assets. The platform will therefore also make the process of administering seized assets more transparent.

6 hours and counting

6 hours and counting

After a slow start with multiple debates on structure, language, frameworks, coffee & croissants, two hours into the hack day, the first GitHub notification showed up in the project’s Slack channel. There was no turning back from there. In record time, our UI designer, Radu Vucea shone light on how the screens should unfold for the users, while intense conversation on visual components were being held over a delicious lunch we’ve received from Calif, to thank us for using our free time for social good.

What we’ve learned about planning a hack day:

  • always have your infrastructure ready even if you will work with 2, 5 or 70 people. It is essential that nobody wastes time with too much setup
  • always give all the possible details in advance in order to have everybody on the same page
  • be very specific about what you expect from the participants: what technologies do you plan on using and what seniority level you expect. Make sure that if you have juniors around, you also have seniors to help them navigate through the tasks.
  • have a very clear objective for the day. What do you want to achieve and start planning
  • force them to take breaks because at times people forget about walking around or simply staring out the window for five minutes to clear their mind
9 hours and counting…

9 hours and counting…

10 hours into the hack day we stopped for dinner, as our friends at Bistro Matrioska, who host our bi-monthly meet-ups, offered to deliver us a lot of yummy stuff to keep us energized for a few more hours.

10 hours and counting…

10 hours and counting…

What we will implement in the future:

  • better technical documentation set in place before the event
  • a more efficient way to present the big picture and the goals for the day
  • more surprises for our hard-working community
  • probably comfy-er chairs. Definitely.

Until then, a huge thank you for the 10+ members that have offered this project their time and skills to make it happen. A big round of applause for Bogdan Vizureanu, Vlad Dinulescu, Petre Dămoc, Mihnea Beldescu, Puiu Alexandru Albu, Costin Aldea, Nicu Socol, Radu Vucea, Paul Raetchi, Andrei Mitrea, and to Victor Cleja, Andrei Ioniță, Cătălina Coca and Anca Sandu who have helped us stay fed, relaxed and hydrated. 😄