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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

Posted on

If your manager told you to spend the next two weeks working on any "fun and fulfilling" project at work, what would you do?

Given this freedom, what do you take on?

Discussion (69)

andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown 🇨🇦 • Edited on

I would finish up my AWS Star Trek Karaoke app where you can input a karaoke soundtrack and it would clip together video photage to make star trek character sing.

So I can make things like this:

It would cost $500 USD on AWS to transcribe the entire seasons of TNG but I have the credits to do so.

scrabill profile image
Shannon Crabill

Hello, fellow Trekie! 🖖

This is an amazing project and I hope you can get the resources to complete it.

nomangul profile image
Noman Gul

Maybe I'll turn "Sublime" into "VSCode" on all machines 🙃

iarmankhan profile image
Arman Khan

The hero we need!

itsasine profile image
ItsASine (Kayla)

Refactor the world. No new feature development -- just making the existing codebases cleaner and easier to maintain.

This may be because of my 3-year-old Tech Debt of Doom Confluence doc. Or maybe because it takes 2 weeks to get my data-driven tests functional again after the data changes... yeah, mostly that one (I'm currently on day 4).

maciekgrzybek profile image
Maciek Grzybek
ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

For me, extended periods of "therapeutic refactoring"

Perhaps with the added freedom to work on features or bug fixes that come up as I discover them. Lots of the best parts of the DEV codebase I've contributed were in these periods.

desi profile image

I think this would be mine too, but in a different way. Our copy has been written and rewritten by many different people in many different countries over many different years without any style guide, and I'd love to develop a style guide and get all copy up to a consistent standard!

intricatecloud profile image
Danny Perez

My upcoming work hackathon project will be a tool to aggregate JIRA ticket #'s from git log messages, and link them to a ticket to internally track all changes that are going out in a particular build.

Also, I can't believe that fun & fulfilling project at work would involve JIRA 🤦‍♂️

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author


molly profile image
Molly Struve (she/her)

Refactor our Elasticsearch searching code and make the specs run faster!

Last year I got the chance to overhaul our indexing code mainly to make changes to improve performance. The end result code was SO much cleaner and nicer than the original!!! I would love to do that again.

yashints profile image
Yaser Adel Mehraban

I would start working on a machine learning model with Tensorflow.Js and do something cool like creating complex/dynamic scenarios in a game with unsupervised learning 😍

The game can be used for useful stuff like teach kids how to code 🔥.

Oooops, did I give up too much on my side project? 😉

garrett profile image

We use a terrible CRM but being a small non-profit I can’t seem to convince them to get something better. So, I would spend 2 weeks working on an MVP of a custom one just for our org.

xowap profile image
Rémy 🤖

I would get a thousand ideas, run in circles and accomplish nothing

nareshravlani profile image

You got a company 🙋🏻‍♂️

isaacdlyman profile image
Isaac Lyman

Haha, too real.

ryibas_89 profile image

This hits closer to home than I'd like.

picocreator profile image
Eugene Cheah

Are you referring to DoorJam? - There is an entire guide on how to do so on a raspberry pi =D

You can see more details at

bbutlerfrog profile image
Ben Butler

Document the codebase of our apps. Refactoring is a long-term goal, but large parts of them work decently now. Like most development shops, though, people have come and gone and meant to do the documentation later. That's led to all the common issues (and actually contributed to much of the code that actually needs refactored, because people didn't use existing methods and did things twice).

Good documentation for the code would solve so many problems, but we're going to do it "someday".

mx profile image
Maxime Moreau

I have the same damn problem with documentation. We're dealing with data pipelines that aren't documented so it's hard to maintain...
I'm already trying to catch some time to do it because it's becoming a mess. No business rules documentation ect :(

chadnaz profile image
Chad Naz

They should have you do this anyway ha

winstonyallow profile image

Refactoring most of our kubernetes deployments to use helm charts (or add them to our rancher catalog so that other teams can reuse apps easily). I love building CI pipelines.

Currently most of our CI pipelines use kubectl apply to deploy to our old kubernetes.

My project would include making a docker image that teams can use in their gitlab CI runner. It would have all tools needed to test and deploy helm charts to our new rancher kubernetes cluster. In an ideal scenario this would lead to a consistent way to deploy to the cluster across all teams. The image would also include the tools to add apps to our rancher catalog and to deploy apps available in the catalog.
The image would be cluster agnostic, it should be possible to configure which cluster to use (we have integration, staging and production clusters).

I already implemented some of this. Sadly there is no time to finish this in a clean and nice way. If I could I would definitely work on this project more!

danjconn profile image
Dan Conn • Edited on

I still need to play with Kubernetes properly!

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

I'd make a narrator bot.

This will be a device that listens to you speak, in a similar way to Alexa, but without a wake world. Screw privacy for the narratorbot.

Narratorbot would listen for your use of superlatives and imperatives and reply in appropriate fashion:

Me: I will definitely refactor this code later
NB: He did not refactor this code later.

ioana__b profile image
Ioana Budai 💬

It's not exactly 'work' related, since I'm currently a marketer dabbling in coding. But I'd learn to use Netlify to create a website. This will allow me to create a book review platform (the fulfilling part) where I can deepen my knowledge in HTML/CSS, Git, and UI/UX design (the fun part).

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

That sounds great! I was once a marketer dabbling in code. 😄

ioana__b profile image
Ioana Budai 💬

OMGGG! I didn't know I needed this info but damn! 🤩

danoswalt profile image
Dan Oswalt

I was going to be unique and say "refactor code", but it looks like that's everyone's work fantasy already...

thefern profile image
Fernando B 🚀

I have been working on a VR project with Unity3d I come on my days off and get paid for it too. Before that I've done mainly python utilities to improve workflow for my department. It's very rewarding I must say. 😁

absinthetized profile image
Matteo Nunziati

Experimenting with svelte on the frontend and with go on the backend.

Hosting it on a custom setup made with a managed k8s and with a self installed/managed istio+knative.

Managed postgresql on the data layer.

Tons of coffee :)

aut0poietic profile image

I have been itching to play with golang as the api layer myself. Haven't really dug too far into as our admin crew start twitching when I say "The API won't need Apache, the golang app contains the web server/service." ;-) It's sort of fun to watch.

Going to have to make time to play with this. Such a fun idea.

nicpolhamus profile image
Nicolas Polhamus • Edited on

I've got a couple of game side projects I'd work on. Specifically a self-playing rogue clone in node, and a medieval sim that I was prototyping with typescript and blessedjs (I was really into TUIs back then).

adnanrahic profile image
Adnan Rahić

Jump head-first into building an MVP of a Log Management feature for AWS Lambda and CloudWatch, that's deployable with a single command / bash script and that does not require any changes to your codebase.

  • Yes, I like serverless architectures.
  • Yes, I like proper and structured logs.
  • Yes, I like automation and bash scripts.
  • Yes, I'm a nerd.
aswathm78 profile image
Aswath KNM

Try to automate my job

bugmagnet profile image
Bruce Axtens

Microsoft is currently jumping up and down on the grave of VB6 with hobnail boots yelling, "Die! Die! Die!". HOPL runs on a language called Protium that was written in VB6 (with subsystems written in others like Ada, Fortran and Perl).

Eventually HOPL is going to stop running. With the successor to Protium (called Peloton) still a while away, I would want to convert the site to run on some other language so that the historical material stays available.

Even though my manager is never going to say that to me, I've already started researching how.

arnaudmorisset profile image
Arnaud Morisset

The first week, I will start a new blog for the company. We tackle so many interesting problems related to cloud-native applications but we didn't take the time to share our knowledge. 😞

The next week, I will update the learning path we offer through our coding bootcamp. We used to offer tech education for executive (and non-technical people) inside big companies. This way we promote "intrapreneurship" by teaching the needed skills to build software prototypes but we didn't work on that since a long time...

sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

I'd probably call the doctor.

danjconn profile image
Dan Conn

I've wanted to get involved with the Apache Tika project for a very long time but never got round to it. That's what I would do.

winstonyallow profile image

I would love to do that too! It sounds like a really nice project.

danjconn profile image
Dan Conn

I've used it for 4 years but always not felt secure in myself to be able to contribute. I went to Activate conference in Montreal last October and met some of the people who do open source and they were really friendly and awesome. I want to contribute before a whole year has elapsed!!!

rachelsoderberg profile image
Rachel Soderberg

I need to ponder this, because I realize I've never actually considered it... and this is an excellent thing to figure out because I occasionally do have a 1-2 week lapse in "productive work" to do as I move between projects.

ronancodes profile image
Ronan Connolly 🛠

I would build an Angular CLI schematic for the business unit.

This would allow new Angular projects to be preconfigured to our units liking instead of manually configuring post app generation.

It's something I've wanted to learn/do for a while now.

Second to that, build some service using NestJS, and show my unit the power of NodeJS! 🛠️

roelofjanelsinga profile image
Roelof Jan Elsinga

I would work on one of my side projects: Flat File CMS. The core of the product is finished, but I keep finding new uses for it, so it'd spend more time into building modules for it and making it easier to add and extend functionalities by writing comprehensive documentation.

quoll profile image
Paula Gearon

A few years ago this happened to me.

I had been spending my free time working on a hobby project: a rules engine for graph databases. (Yes, I need better hobbies).

During some free time I showed my manager what I was doing and what it was already capable of. He got really excited, and outlined a way to integrate it into our product. He asked if I would work on it for the company instead. I explained that it was open source and I didn’t want to lose that, and he said that was fine, but did I mind if the copyright belonged to the company? I was good with that, so off I went. I spent the next few months working on nothing else.

Here it is 3 years later, and I’ve been able to spend nearly half of my time on that project and related systems ever since. I even talk about it at conferences 😊

nickylewlew profile image
Nick Lewis

Some of the team I work with had this opportunity last year. Together with a couple others in the studio we created this.

We wanted to both learn some new things and challenge ourselves whilst creating something meaningful. This was the result!

terabytetiger profile image
Tyler V. (he/him)

Work related: Build something for the Safety Dept. that's been recently requested that I've been hoping to work on for a while now.

Non-work related: Reworking my personal site & working through the PR's on Gridsome.

luciagirasoles profile image
Mayra Navarro

I would make something to add to my portfolio... with a lot of CSS included

kgoralski profile image
Krzysztof Góralski

I would ask him if this project will bring any business value or will solve any problem because I don't want to build anything which nobody is going to use ;)

moaxcp profile image
John Mercier

I would make an assertEventually library which combines assertj with resilience4j. I would use this to replace all of our verbose Probe concepts in tests.

j_mplourde profile image
Jean-Michel Plourde

Either do some RnD or just build any tool that would dramatically improve how we develop code.

tammalee profile image
Tammy Lee

I would totally tackle something fun with variable fonts!

mxoliver profile image

I want to build a flexible styled component library for my company with good documentation and some kind of theme provider for customization.

jwkicklighter profile image
Jordan Kicklighter

Probably write a few series I'm prepping for here/my personal site. It's been therapeutic to work on teaching others some basics and doing fun experiments for sharing with the community.

fischgeek profile image

I have been digging deep into Trello manipulations lately. I have some ideas I would like to get moving on, but until given this freedom, that's all they are at the moment; ideas.

rezabojnordi profile image

sleeping project:)

loseagle profile image

I wanted to try flutter for a while now so I'd make the ultimate meme aggregator for mobile devices.

nolansym profile image
Jordan Gilliam

Spend the whole time trying to capture some sweet flags in

agrothe profile image
Andrew Grothe

Finally start that low-code saas framework bouncing around in my head.

dgbrewer1989 profile image
David Brewer

Learn CSS animations and make custom spinners.. cause why not

alvaromontoro profile image
Alvaro Montoro

Explore the different web APIs and see if/how they could be applied to our project.

nazimboudeffa profile image
Nazim Boudeffa • Edited on

I will finish to code all the phaserjs games shocase and books translations I've started on my GitHub account, but two weeks is too short, I need like more then a year or maybe more then that 😹

matthias profile image
Matthias 🤖

I guess I would do nothing in that two weeks 😱.

There's a dangerous mixture of too many ideas and a fear of the white sheet living inside me.

sturzl profile image

Check out this person who is conducting the experiment with groups of people all over: