Mashing things together

10 February, 2015 by Kamal Wood | Around the OfficeDesignEngineeringEvents

Here at Deloitte Digital we really value innovation creativity and collaborative working which is why we created Deloitte Digital Mashup days!

Mashup Days are an opportunity for people across Deloitte Digital to build and demonstrate a software idea of their choosing. Mashup Days are part of our push at Deloitte Digital to encourage software development creativity among our people, and to promote innovation by catalysing our people’s ideas. Ideas must be of practical or business benefit, and since participants only have a day it must be possible to build some demonstrable, core functionality within 24 hours.

As with any software development project, successful Mashup Day productions require more than just engineering genius. That’s why we encourage teams to include members from across our three capabilities in Deloitte Digital – from Creative/eu/UX and Advisory as well as Engineering. These cross-capability teams can effectively support an idea from its conception through to implementation. The variety of skills and perspectives – sometimes in the same person – are meant to ensure that good ideas become great ideas, that focus is kept on what is doable given the time, and that what’s doable gets done.

Kicking off

The third Deloitte Digital Mashup Day kicked off at 6:00 PM on Thursday, and ran until the presentations at around 4pm on Friday. It was our first 24-hour Mashup Day; we decided to try the 24-hour format in response to feelings from previous days that a little bit of extra time would improve the polish on what we built.

Five teams participated in the Mashup Day: four in our offices in London and one at our Belfast office. The ideas were:

  • iBid: Automatically generate well-formatted, print-ready documents from a Wiki Engine
  • Xamaroids: Cross-platform development for Android and iOS.
  • International Migrant Workers: Interactive Voice Response system for migrant workers seeking assistance under conditions of employment oppression.
  • UberSheet: Digital project expense management.
  • Deloitte Digital iPad app: for demonstrating Deloitte Digital’s offerings and skills at graduate recruitment events.

The teams kicked off that evening, with some hitting the ground coding while others spent a few hours huddled around and whiteboards and flipcharts. Refreshments were brought in to keep people going, but by midnight all but a few vibrant souls had gone home. Some of those souls made it through till 5am, but only one of them was able to capture the full spirit of the 24hr Mashup Day and make it through to the next morning.

The teams spent that morning building their solutions and came together for lunch and to hear how the others were getting on. The teams then dispersed to put the finishing touches on their work, their mock-ups and their presentations, before reconvening at 4pm for the final show and tell.

Image slide show

The Mashups

Xamaroids - The Xamaroids team trialled Xamarin, a framework for developing cross-platform native apps on both Android and iOS using the same C# code. Their test case was an app for use with the management of issues in an agile software development project: ie, viewing (including filtering and searching), editing and creating development tickets.

iBid - The iBid team aimed at making it easy to collaborate on documents while still producing high quality branded PDF/eu/print outputs. Their system uses a wiki for collaborative editing in an effort to do away with the nightmare of emailing around huge Word files.

UberSheet - UberSheet was a JavaScript-right-down web app for tracking project expenses. The app was based on a spreadsheet for doing the same, hence the name!

Deloitte Digital iPad Demo App - This was aimed at making a previous Mashup Day-winning idea production ready. That idea was an app that combined static information about Deloitte Digital, dynamic information from a Twitter feed, and a form to allow interested students to sign up for more information from Deloitte Digital.

International Migrant Workers - Team IMW implemented an interactive voice response (IVR) system using an integration of Force.com and Twilio. Using demo accounts for both platforms, Team IMW built a simple IVR system that provided and gathered information similar to what a human rights group may want to deploy in the field.

Closing impressions and the winner

In the spirit of democracy, everyone who was present for the presentations was able to cast two votes for their favourite ideas. When the ballots were counted iBid came out the winner, with IMW placing a close second.

This was my first Mashup Day, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it! I can’t wait for the next one!