In Agile software development, engineers think of time in terms of points & 1–2 week sprints. How many points is this API going to take? Are we halfway through this sprint yet? It's a useful framework for setting goals and maximizing your time.

Since you're building and pushing code every couple weeks, it may seem like your team is killing it and everyone else is slacking off. They're not, I promise. They're just working on a different time scale.

Actually, each department operates on its own cycle. Think about Sales. It can take more than a year to close an Enterprise sale. There are multiple stakeholders involved, lots of back and forth, proposals, negotiating, etc. As a result, your sales team is probably setting their goals quarterly.

This also means they might sell an idea or product that you haven't built yet, and might not build for another six months. Don't get too stressed out about it, that's Product's job. :)

In B2C retail, sales cycles are shorter because the prices are lower and transaction mechanisms are easier. Online Marketers work weekly or daily. For example, I get marketing emails from online retailers 3–5 times a week, even though I'll only make a purchase once a month.

At startups, CEOs spend a lot of their time fundraising. A round is supposed to last 12–18 months or until you become profitable. And it can easily take 6 months to close one. That means every 6–12 months, your CEO will be out trying to secure new funding. If you haven't seen your CEO in a while, this is probably why.

Do you think Account Managers & Operations are a little harried or brusque? It's because they're working on a daily if not hourly cycle. Keeping clients happy and the company running is their entire job. They're looking for immediate and definitive solutions. Issue resolution / bug fix time matters a lot to these folks.

And if you're in a SaaS business, don't forget about your buddies in Site Reliability. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) levy penalties against your firm for every minute your product is down. Not only are SREs thinking in terms of minutes, they're often on call 24/7.

Lastly, Research & Development. The time scale for this department is likely measured in years, but the expectations are equally high. Google X isn't known for "deadlines" but it is known for taking big risks. Good R&D takes time, and it'll be reflected in your colleagues' attitudes and goals.

I don't have enough space here to cover Product, Design, HR, or Finance. Instead, I leave it to you to investigate them on your own. Talk to your colleagues in those departments and ask them what time scale they're on. Ask them how they set their goals. Ask them how they measure their successes.

The better you understand your colleagues and their motivations, the better you can work with them and the more productive you'll be as a team.

Online hackathons


Amazon Aurora Database Challenge

In the first ever Aurora challenge, Amazon is challenging developers around the world to build an application that can reach internet scale using Amazon Aurora, a MySQL and PostgreSQL compatible relational database. Prizes include $24,000 in cash and AWS credits!

Judges will be looking for scalability, performance, security, and resilience while making use of the AWS ecosystem. They'll reward good development practices, including continuous integration & continuous delivery, microservices, serverless computing, and other modern design ideas.


PropTech Challenge—presented by REBNY

During the PropTech Challenge, you'll develop cutting edge solutions to solve real world challenges for NYC’s real estate market. There is a grand total of $50,000 in cash prizes, which will be awarded to twelve finalists at Demo Day on November 8th in New York City.

Bonus: Thanks to REBNY, you will have ongoing access to representatives from many of the largest real estate firms who can provide mentoring, insight, and guidance about the industry & major pain points.


The AWS AI Hackathon

Put your skills to the test by applying language and vision intelligence to a new or existing application and win $10,000 in prizes!

Use language and vision APIs including Amazon Comprehend, Amazon Transcribe, Amazon Polly, Amazon LexAmazon Translate, and Amazon Rekognition to gain customer insights, personalize content recommendations, identify celebrities, objects and scenes, and much more!


TokBok Live Video and AR Online Hackathon

Have some summer fun with Live Video and compete for $2,520 in prizes! Build a new mobile and/or web app that connects people together in an original business or socially relevant way, wherever they are, over live video using the TokBox OpenTok APIs.

With TokBox, it's easy to embed high-quality real-time interactive video, voice, messaging, and screen sharing into web & mobile apps.


AWS Serverless Apps for Social Good Hackathon

Win $22,000 in prizes by creating new serverless applications that support nonprofits working to end human trafficking.

Your app can be a stand-alone asset or an input to other applications. All apps will be published to the AWS Serverless Application Repository.


Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge: Tech for Good

Build Alexa Skills that have a positive impact on the environment and local communities. Your skill can be in any category, as long as it delivers a seamless voice experience and solves a customer problem or inspires customers to take action.

There are $122,000 in prizes across multiple categories, including a direct donation of $20,000 from Amazon to one of 11 nonprofit organizations and 500 Echo dots for participants!


Local hackathons in September–October