Having fun @work: AWS GameDay



Joining an AWS Training allows you to learn new things for your daily work. Attending a training commonly happens in groups of up to 13 people and has more of a frontal teaching character. An alternative event are workshops are more practical and done in a small group. And now, a third solution brings teams and people together and plays a competitive game: AWS GameDays.

What is an AWS GameDay and how is it structured?

An AWS GameDay is a hands-on learning experience that simulates real-world examples within AWS. During a GameDay, teams of 1 up to 4 people solve challenges in different flavors like security, sustainability, MLOps, cost optimization, and more. Depending on the topic, they span a time of 1.5 and 8 hours. Each challenge has an unknown scoring system that won’t be public facing. Play it and find out more about it ;-)

AWS GameDay Scoreboard

A typical day starts with a meeting where every attendee joins an online meeting to get more information from Unicorn.Rental. When the kickoff meeting ends, each team switches to its team channel and gets its dashboard with the tasks, scoreboard, and all other relevant information for the day. Based on the maximum time for the GameDay, the game stops at a specified time, and everyone moves back to the initial meeting. Now, as everyone is back, we will have winners!

Why is tecRacer thinking about it?

We, as tecRacer, are a modern and flexible Managed Service Provider, Development, and Consulting company. So a lot of people have moved into their HomeOffices since the pandemic started. All meetings (even team meetings) moved into the online world. We still know each other, but personal interaction in an offline way still needs to be added. So a lot of side information (like unique ideas, private life, etc.) has become harder to sustain and is at risk of getting lost. Some of us love our home offices, while others have never used them and love to be in the office.

What about bringing each office into an interaction with fun? Right, run an AWS GameDay!

Tour de Machine Learning

To run the first internal GameDay ever, we had to decide which one to run. In our case, I started a short list of possible directions and created an internal poll for this. The largest interest was in MLOps. So the GameDay was chosen by my colleagues, and I only needed some more minor event preparations to be made. Everything for the GameDay was on the AWS side from now on. I just had to organize bringing the people together and finding fantastic prizes for the winner.

The starting signal was given on Friday, the 17th of March 2023, at 10:00 AM German local time. 34 attendees came together with different levels of knowledge (maybe half of them without any knowledge in that area), found themselves in 9 teams, and started playing!

The teams were so mixed that we were able to have colleagues from a lot of different locations in Germany (Hamburg, Duisburg, Hannover, Frankfurt), Switzerland (Geneva), Austria (Vienna), Portugal (Lisbon), and India. Yes, India. We had a colleague who decided to work for a single day to attend our AWS GameDay during a longer vacation. Only reading the different locations brings a massive smile to my face.

One of the benefits of playing a game is the team names:

  • Rainbow Riders
  • U3 - United Unicorn Union
  • Robot Unicorns
  • ChatGPT_power_users
  • Team Elastic
  • It’s just statistics
  • Team Y
  • Dummycorn_Ice_Cream
  • Unicorn Cloud Crusaders

Each team is allowed to choose its team name, so no one knows who is personally behind that name. When the game was closed, it was surprising to discover the people behind those great names.

The winners

…. and the winners are:

  • 1st Place: Unicorn Cloud Crusaders (Sebastian Möhn, Oliver Wolf, Gernot Glawe, Uwe Strahlendorf)
  • 2nd Place: Robot Unicorns (Chrishon Nilanthan, Roman Korneev, Anna Danilova, Alexey Vidanov)
  • 3rd Place: It’s just statistics (Jessica von Janta, Meike Liedtke, Ralf Neumann, Maurice Borgmeier)

AWS GameDay Winners

Feedback

I received so much positive feedback from colleagues who were amazed about our AWS GameDay—even those who have already attended a public one. The feedback was so positive, and everyone, even the very experienced (more than five years working with the specific services), learned more than expected.

Everyone asked me about the next GameDay. Of course, it is in the works, but as you all know, there are multiple projects, vacation plans, and many more things to be brought together to find such a date. Right now, I plan on having a GameDay in September this year.

Contact me if you are also interested in starting an internal AWS GameDay.

— Patrick

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