4 April 2018 (updated: 24 July 2020) by
Kamil Janus Kamil Janus
At EL Passion, we had one of our quarterly Hackathons — an opportunity to learn new skills, utilise already developed skills and channel the energy and creativity of employees.
As we’re all cryptocurrency enthusiasts, we decided to build an app that would help us track exchange rates in our wallets. We called it ‘Coin Tracker’.
Let’s turn this idea into a working product, we thought, and that’s how our two-day adventure began.
Our team consisted of one designer, and two developers (frontend and backend), all of whom have a good working knowledge of cryptocurrency tracking apps. This saved us a lot of time, because we didn’t require much additional research.
Where to begin?
First, we had to create a framework that we would stick to during these two days. We based our work schedule on Sprints, which means we split each day into four blocks of working hours.
It was also important we chose the right tools to use for this project. We decided to settle on using a whiteboard, sticky notes, Sketch and React Native.
Defining our Cryptocurrency App
Once our work schedule was organized, we had to define our goal and key features for the app. We decided to list the core functionalities for the MVP, which included:
Adding new cryptocurrencies
Manually adding a wallet
QR code scanning
Manually adding a wallet value
Live wallet tracking
Currency Exchange Rates
Account status display
With a two-day time-limit, we agreed that these features were sufficient to provide a valuable product for potential users.
Once we defined our goal and key features of the app, we could mock up application screens on the whiteboard. It was crucial that the wireframes met all of our expectations and that we were all on the same wavelength as to how the application should work.
When we were sure that our perfect loop was ready, it was time to bring out the big guns and get to work. We had a 2-hour long Sprint, so we really needed to stay focused, to make sure we stayed on schedule.
Phases of the Project
We kept up a steady pace of work and finished most of what we had planned by the end of the first day. It was a really productive day! We made a summary of our progress and made sure we were on track.
On the second day, we started early in the morning with a short 5-minute stand-up. Taking a fresh look at what we had already done, we developed a plan for the work we needed to complete for the final day. It turned out that we had more than half of the work behind us already, which was a weight off our shoulders, and helped to motivate us.
The visual designs were ready, most of them even well implemented, screens were connected to each other and clickable through the whole application. Everything was going great, but like in every great story there must be a catch…
We had a technical issue related to the API functionality that we wanted to use. It was limited to 100 sessions per hour, so we had to move around this blocker and find another solution. Finally, we found an API that listed all available cryptocurrencies and that helped us a lot.
Finally, we left the office in the late afternoon, with our to-do list nearly completed. We knew that we needed a few more hours during the week to finish the app completely but were satisfied with the results from our two days of hard work.
Two days, three people and one working app — sounds like a success to me! This experience taught me that it is possible, in a short time, to turn my ideas into a working product. Having knowledgeable team members, like-minded goals and a well-organised work schedule were the key to our success. Hackathons and short-term projects like these are also a great way to learn new skills and develop soft and hard skills you already have.