Facebook Mixes Engineers' Work up with 'Hackamonth'

Susan Hall

I've written a couple of posts lately on working on projects that scare you, that force you to stretch and grow. In the latest one, communications guru Jodi Glickman at Harvard Business Review suggests that one way to create new opportunities for yourself is to take your talents to a different group or department.


Facebook's taking that tactic to heart, a move CNN.com says is an effort to re-energize its engineers. Those who have been working on a project for more than a year will tackle new projects with a new team for a month. It says:

It's like a cultural exchange program with the cube pod next door.

The idea's taken from its "hackathons," short, intense (often overnight) sessions in which developers come up with a prototype of a new product. This effort, called "hackamonth" will be a bit less intense, but says Facebook engineering manager Dave Ferguson in a blog post:

As Facebook continues to grow, we think that this will be a really healthy way to move engineers to high priority projects, to give engineers a chance to try new things and to keep our engineering culture vibrant and dynamic.

This sounds like it encompasses three things mentioned in my post "What Do Engineers Want?" - variety, challenge and flexibility.


Facebook's fourth Hackamonth starts Monday.

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