The OIL-store Hackaton

Welcome to our blog! We’re Björn-Sebastiaan and Zoë, and we are part of the Magnus Black team. In our day-to-day job we develop and implement OIL, the omnichannel order management system of Magnus Black. But from the start of our career  we’ve had the privilege of working on a special project: setting up and opening our own store and webshop selling oil! Through this series of blogs we will take you with us in the process of opening the new Magnus Black store. 

In our blog we show you the roadmap of how we want to develop our new store. We needed to set up a webshop, an actual store in our office and much, much more. Luckily, we don’t have to face these challenges all by ourselves. The entire Magnus Black team loves to contribute in realising our oil store. Nevertheless, it was up to us to unite all our colleagues and coordinate the process, which we did via a hackathon! 

The set up

So, what actually is a hackathon? In short: it’s an event where a team works on a project together. Or in fact, where multiple teams work on different parts of the same project, with a competitive component. This obviously comes with a lot of fun and social interaction.  

Usually this is done in combination with a dinner on a nice location, but for us it was a bit more difficult: organising a hackathon during corona. It was tough, but luckily there are some good digital alternatives. Even though you can’t move your laptop next to your colleague’s physically, cooperating via Teams works really well and there are quite some possibilities to build in some variety! 

Let’s get going!

Obviously not all the tasks that need to be done for setting up a webshop can be done in a hackathon. For instance, we already purchased the cooking oils. We wanted the hackathon teams to use their creative freedom for their tasks, so we limited the rules and restrictions. In the end, this is project of all of us. We created the following teams: 

The content team: This team took on the content for the webshop. They were working on making the product descriptions and on the design of the website. 

The Shopify team: The Shopify team completely set up and configured the Shopify environment. They took care of the integration with OIL, on which the next team was working. 

The OIL team: This team worked on setting up the OIL environment and the connection with the TAS, our Tables Assisted Sales app. The TAS is the perfect way to create orders in our physical store. 

The marketing team: Last but not least, our marketing team. They created a complete marketing strategy and plan to promote our store. 

Name the game

Besides the hard work of all the teams, there was also time for some relaxation. Everybody got a home-delivered pizza to simulate the idea of having dinner together. After diner, there was a stand-up through which each team would inform the others about their progress. They could also use this stand-up to ask for help and search for dependencies. As it turned out, all teams already collaborated perfectly by jumping from call to call.  

Moreover, the store that we were going to set up still needed a name. We thought there was no better moment to find and choose this name than during the hackathon. Everybody submitted names, some people even submitted multiple names, and eventually we voted on the best one. Meaning we can now proudly announce the name of our store: oilByOIL!! 

To complete the night, we awarded and submitted some prices. One for the colleague who came up with this brilliant name and one for each member of the winning team. How did we decide on the winner? Each team tried to convince us on why their team delivered the best work in a short presentation. This resulted in the OIL team taking some beautiful oil lamps home. 

Next steps

The hackathon had two goals: to stimulate teamwork and to speed up the development of our store. First, through fun and collaboration to make the store project a true Magnus Black project. Second, to make some serious progress in setting up our store. Even though we’re still far from go-live, we made some serious progress. We’re happy to see that everybody participated and worked together, facilitating the start of the final phase of our project. 

We’re fully focused on all the promotion for Black Friday and we’ll be working on the remaining work to make our webshop fully operational. Did we miss certain topics in setting up the hackathon or our cooking oil business? Or would you like some advice in how to organise your own hackathon? Let us know! 

Zoë Vermaes and Björn-Sebastiaan Boer

November 26, 2020

Zoë Vermaes

“My name is Zoë Vermaes. Before for my master’s degree in Cognitive Science & Artificial Intelligence, I worked as a Trade MarketeerBack then, I and was already captivated by the speed, dynamics and possibilities in the world of retailers. At Magnus Black I can fully express this enthusiasm for retail and my passion for technology as an implementation consultant. 

Björn-Sebastiaan Boer

My name is Björn-Sebastiaan Boer, if I could I’d be spending most of my day doing math! Working as a consultant, I combine this with my passion to assist people, by offering OIL as the best solution for the order management of retailers. Therefore, I am committed to continually develop and improve OIL, and thereby provide an innovative platform for retailers. 

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