Monzo Magic hackathon: 3 days, 120 ideas, 333 Monzonauts

Hey everyone :wave:
I’m Bianca, I work as an Engineering Manager here at Monzo. We’ve taken some time to write a blog post about Monzo Magic hackathon.

This blog is about the hackathon we ran internally this summer, where we got to build things for customers, while collaborating and learning from people across the business. You can read more about why we did it, how we structured it and a few examples of the outcomes.

Would love to hear your thoughts, and let me know if you have any questions :pray:

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The easy turn-on biometrics is a great add!

Haven’t seen it a little while but there’s been a bug for a while which would turn them off every now and then, so have felt the pain of a surprise pin-request and then having to go through settings to turn biometrics back on many a time!

And sounds incredible that US joint accounts have come out of this!

Feel like tackling iOS/android parity should be a core app thing… but would be lovely for someone else to do so in the meantime next time you do one of these… Android-iOS Parity Wiki

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Thanks for the feedback! The team has continued to iterate and improve the Biometrics flow, but if you still come across issues, please raise them with us so we can investigate :pray:

Another example project that has started during the hackathon, and teams picked it up to continue the work is Seeing your mortgages in Monzo. So lots of exciting things!

And thanks a lot for sharing the Wiki on platform parity, I’ll forward to the team!

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Thanks @bianca! Others have definitely said it but the community engagement (and pace of updates) recently has been incredible and is definitely appreciated :blush:

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This is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

I have a few thoughts / questions:

  1. I’m sure the Monzo team is brimming with ideas, but if you let the community know before the next one, I’m sure we’ll have lots of suggestions to stimulate thought!

  2. Riffing off that vibe, a community ideas session - might be super cool. Provide a bit of structure (and some food/drink) and let the community loose!

  3. And again, relatedly, what about bringing trusted third party developers in to actually hack on the back of the API. I know @while-loop is Monzo staff, but creating an ecosystem that supports third party tools like DasBudget is really a significant Monzo differentiator (and think down the road of all the app store revenue you could bring in by taking a very small cut). Folk like @Sherlock used to do a lot of this in the UK. It’s a pity that that ecosystem has died a bit.

  4. Back to the matter at hand! Tell us about your failures. We love to read about the good stuff that you’ve built on the back of it, but true leadership is being honest about your failures. Tell us an idea that was excellent but didn’t work - and what you learnt!

  5. I’d love to see a list of projects (I know you won’t give me a list. That makes me sad). More seriously though, I think being confident enough for Monzo folks to come on here with permission to say “there’s a new hack day coming up, here’s what I’m thinking about, what do you think?” would be super powerful.

  6. Do these regularly! Once a quarter minimum! And focus on some of the small things to make the experience smoother and better rather than just the big stuff (but do that too plsthx)

But this is great. It shows that Monzo has really got its mojo back.

(And invite me to the next one! I can MC and even do a guest blog!)

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I’d love to play more with the data and capabilities Monzo has!

Early on they really embraced the API, and it was one reason I chose Monzo, but for one reason or another (mostly legal constraints mixed with lack of priority and passion) it’s really slipped away and is now a challenge to use.

I do believe there’s so many small/quick-win quality of life ideas that could be churned out in a community hack!

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Those are some excellent points, @Peter_G ! I genuinely love the community engagement that Monzo has, and we do regularly check in with things that are posted here, either as means of getting direct, early feedback, or to see the ideas you all have.

  1. I’m sure the Monzo team is brimming with ideas, but if you let the community know before the next one, I’m sure we’ll have lots of suggestions to stimulate thought!
  2. Riffing off that vibe, a community ideas session - might be super cool. Provide a bit of structure (and some food/drink) and let the community loose!
  3. I’d love to see a list of projects (I know you won’t give me a list. That makes me sad). More seriously though, I think being confident enough for Monzo folks to come on here with permission to say “there’s a new hack day coming up, here’s what I’m thinking about, what do you think?” would be super powerful.

I think those are great suggestion! I can’t promise that we’ll involve the community in generating ideas for hackathons because there are so many different ways to structure such activities, with their pros and cons. But I’ll prompt this proposal to my team specifically as we will look after a wide areas of core personal banking experiences - so you could impact our roadmap more directly, if that’s something you’d be keen to do!

  1. Back to the matter at hand! Tell us about your failures. We love to read about the good stuff that you’ve built on the back of it, but true leadership is being honest about your failures. Tell us an idea that was excellent but didn’t work - and what you learnt!

I fully subscribe to this leadership style! In this first big hackathon iteration the big learnings were around how we can organise the event better: from team forming around ideas, to finding a more specific theme to guide the ideas we put down, to the timing of the event such that ideas can easily be integrated into roadmaps.

I couldn’t say there was an idea we tried and didn’t work, mainly because we didn’t define strict requirements to what a completed idea would look like, so we ended up with a variety of things that we actually shipped, things that are being worked on now (and you’ll hear about them), and things that stayed in the backlog for next time. All of those are good outcomes, and, as I said, the huge learnings are around how we organise the event next times, stay close for those updates!

  1. Do these regularly! Once a quarter minimum! And focus on some of the small things to make the experience smoother and better rather than just the big stuff (but do that too plsthx)

We will do, that’s definitely part of the plan!

I can’t personally address the point around API development, but if I find out more about the topic, I’ll circle back :smiley:

Thanks a lot for your thoughts!

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