10 projects from our annual internal hackathon

Every year, Signavio’s hard-working engineering department takes a break from their pursuit of BPM excellence to participate in Code Camp, our yearly internal hackathon. They divide into groups, brainstorm ideas, and get to work creating a variety of projects (the other departments, meanwhile, spend time in workshops learning about different subjects). At the end of Code Camp, our engineers present their finished projects to the entire company. The best project is selected by vote via the company, and it wins the prestigious Code Camp Excellence Award. Later, we evaluate all the completed projects and decide which ones can create the most value for the company.

This year, we had 10 groups working on a variety of projects, from a Slackbot integration with our Workflow Accelerator to a re-design of our process editor’s shape menu. Here is a quick summary of each, in no particular order.

Note These are simply projects our engineers worked on for challenge and fun–they may never actually make it into production.

A better Shape Menu

When our process modeling tool first launched, its shape menu was revolutionary. It was easy to use, it allowed the user to see all tool options in a clear way, and it was a pleasure to navigate. As with all good ideas, the design was eventually adopted industry-wide, and is now not so remarkable. This group looked at the menu and thought, how can we improve this? How can we create a new menu that is every bit as intuitive and astounding as the original version was when it was first released?

The solution they came up with includes bigger icons, a less crammed menu, and adding a touch function. The menu this group designed also has two modes–the quick mode, which has bigger icons and a more user-friendly menu designed with touch screens in mind; and what they call the rocket mode, which is text-based and designed with modeling speed in mind. According to the group, using the rocket mode can cut modeling time in half.

Mix Me

At Signavio, we have a monthly tradition called Mix & Match Lunch where we randomly divide into groups of people we don’t usually interact with, and go to lunch. It’s a way to ensure we know everyone we’re working with, even if we don’t see them every day. This app is a way to extend that tradition to the entire week, maintaining our company culture even as we grow.

Mix Me is a progressive web app, utilizing React and Node.js. A user logs onto the Mix Me webpage, enters their Signavio email and is randomly paired up with a group of four other colleagues, a random restaurant near Signavio HQ and a suggested meeting place.

SWAccelerator Talk - Alexa + Workflow Accelerator

This project focused on an actual entertaining demo scenario that involves integrating Alexa with our Workflow Accelerator, utilizing Node.js.

Say that a company’s social media team wants to allow employees to send out tweets, but is unsure how to run a quality control process that would prevent any gaffes that might embarrass the company. Using Workflow Accelerator, you would be able to integrate it with Alexa. Simply dictate the tweet to Alexa, who will compare the text of the tweet to its library of acceptable syntax and phrasing.

If the tweet is approved, Workflow Accelerator will send an email to the social media team alerting them to the tweet and allowing them to either approve it or reject it. If Alexa determines the tweet is not acceptable, it will reject it and ask the user to try again Additionally, Alexa provides feedback on how the tweet can be improved. To achieve this, the team integrated Workflow Accelerator with Alex.

While Alexa serves as a filter for content, the ultimate authority that approves or disapproves tweets is the company’s social media team.

Fast. Frictionless. Fun.

Ever wished Signavio had an app version? Not to create diagrams with, but an app that would allow you to see the core information of your projects, write down notes, send feedback, etc. all while you’re on the go? Well, so did we!

This group focused on making a mobile version of our Process Manager for Android, minus the process modeling capability. The main challenge for this group was making things lighter and faster than the desktop version, with comments and share capabilities as well as a way to check in on project details while on the go. Users can comment, share snapshots of process diagram models, make notes and similar tasks, which makes this mobile app a sort of one stop shop for info about any process models you may be creating.

Quiet-o-matic 5000

Like many tech companies, Signavio has an open-plan office. While we do our best to be respectful of each other, sometimes things can get a little loud.

The solution our engineers came up with is a traffic light that alerts the room when things are getting a little loud. Using Raspberry Pi and a microphone, hooked up to a physical light and using a program our developers wrote to make it all talk to each other. The program is set to detect a certain volume level, and to announce (via a green, yellow or red light) when changes in that level are detected.

Helpfully, the app also tracks and graphs noise levels over time, allowing the admin to see what the noisiest times of the day are and what causes certain spikes in noise.

Slacknavio

Sometimes, when using Signavio, a user wants to check something small–conversations they’re a part of, perhaps, or maybe just double-check the tasks they are assigned–but they don’t want to have to log into Workflow Accelerator or Collaboration Hub just for a quick look.

That’s where the Slacknavio bot comes in. This is a Slack bot that allows users to pull basic information from Workflow Accelerator or Collaboration Hub instantly.

Created with Go, the Slacknavio bot can post updates about new diagrams in Collaboration Hub, new personal tasks assigned to users in Workflow Accelerator as well as notify users of new comments in conversation threads they are included in.

Workflow4Slack

Let’s say you want to more easily track what is going on in Workflow Accelerator, but you don’t want to wait for your colleagues to get the email notifications. This project integrates Slack with Workflow Accelerator to allow users to complete simple tasks (such as filling in forms and notifying colleagues of changes) all within Slack, without the need to log into Workflow Accelerator.

Want to notify a user that they’ve been assigned a new task? Workflow4Slack will ping them. Made changes to a process and need some feedback from your colleagues? You can send them a notification from Workflow Accelerator via Slack. Need to fill in forms for user tasks but don’t want to log into Workflow Accelerator? You can do it entirely via Slack. It’s a good option for those times when email simply takes too long.

Oops, did I do that?

When a bug is discovered, it can sometimes be a challenge to locate where exactly it is in the code. When you’re collaborating with many people on a team, it can also be a bit tricky to find a solution, because it’s not always easy to figure out how the bug happened or what caused it or if it was caused by a change someone else made.

That’s where this system comes into play. How it works is that as soon as a bug occurs, the developers and support engineers get an automatic notification and can track the exact place in the code where the bug has occurred. The system tells use the name of the engineer who is most likely to know how to fix it. The goal is to locate and fix bugs before users can even notice them.

Confluence BPMN Diagram Plugin

This is a plugin that allows the user to integrate Confluence with our Signavio suite. It displays diagrams alongside the standard Confluence content, while also embedding the decision assistant (see below).

Gmail Signature Updates

Keeping the company email signatures up to date is always a challenge, especially when the company is growing as quickly as Signavio. At the moment, our process is to have the Marketing team send us emails with new signature formats every few weeks. The problem with this method is that many of us are simply too lazy to update our signatures, even with consistent reminders. ;) This group came up with a better solution–create a centrally managed program that works with Google Drive to make it simple to update email signatures.