April 27, 2016

Why We "Spliced" the Perforce DNA for 24 Hours


In February, several Perforcians participated in Splice, an internal hack-a-thon designed to give Perforce employees an opportunity to work on whatever they wanted for 24 hours. Participants spliced together different pieces of the Perforce DNA, creatively extending our Helix tools to find ways in which we can be more productive and provide a better experience for our customers.

In the weeks leading up to the Splice, we had a couple of brainstorming sessions where we shared ideas with each other and teams started to form. We used our internal wiki to write up ideas, evangelize them, and recruit others for help. We encouraged each other to develop ideas with the following goals in mind:

Be creative

Software professionals tend to be creative people, but sometimes keeping a focus on a particular goal can pull us out of touch with our creative instincts. Splice was a great opportunity to think outside the box and get the creative juices flowing- a practice that we know will be of great benefit to our ongoing product development.

Scratch itches

Everyone has that one script that they've always wanted to write which will make their daily work more efficient, or that one UI that they've always wanted to redesign, or there may even be that one bit of documentation that should have been written years ago! In a fast-paced environment with competing priorities, everyone has an itch that they've wanted to scratch for years, and Splice gave us the 24 hours we needed to finally get it done.

Spike out an idea

Sometimes our greatest ideas don't get traction simply because at first we don't know the scope of the effort. Splice was a perfect opportunity to dive into something without too much concern about the size of the commitment, and instead with a focus on the discovery process.

Have fun

Splice is just one of many activities which make Perforce a fun and exciting place to work. This project stood out as particularly fun experience because of the excitement that emerges from a large amount of innovation taking place in a small amount of time.

We collected feedback from Splice and it was overwhelmingly positive. Splice inspired people to be creative, to do things that interest them, and to work with people in new ways. Technical Support Engineers got their fingers into the code. QA Engineers analyzed trends in customer data. Developers with expertise in one product spent time working with other products and found novel ways to integrate them.

After 24 hours of hacking away at our ideas, everyone gathered in a common area where a total of 18 teams presented their work. The atmosphere was rich with innovation, pride, and smiles.

A month later, we have already begun to see the benefits. People are using the tools they created during Splice. People who worked together for the first time are now more aware of each other's talents and are collaborating in new ways. Some of the ideas, and the technologies leveraged to bring them to life, are now being considered for enhancing the Helix products in ways that will greatly benefit the Perforce community worldwide.

We are looking forward to making Splice a regular occurrence around the Perfortress.


Test Engineering Manager
Perforce Software