How to organize an online Hackathon
Insight
3
 min read
April 14, 2021

How to organize an online Hackathon

Marek Špalek
Marek Špalek
CTO

Create. Challenge. Together. You may not know, but these are our company values, and I could not find any event that embraces them all more like our hackathon.

Create

A hackathon’s primary goal is to solve some problem by creating something new, something unique, something you have in your head but never found time, resources, or courage to make. Whether it is some new product, shared template, development framework, or process optimization, the only constraint is the hackathon topic, but more on that down in my recipe.

Challenge

It is usually not so easy. If it were, you would already do it, right? You have limited time at a hackathon, only one attempt, which makes it even more challenging. But don’t worry, stay focused on your problem. You have to evaluate your solution; you don’t have to build the final product. Please don’t go into nitpicky details; it is only a waste of time.

Together

Taking aside company team building, I could not recall any occasions where you can do something together as a company at the same time. Use this time for all-hands team statuses and presentations. You can mix-up teams or try a whole different team role than you are used to.

our values
Do you want to read more about us and our values?

So this was the theory behind the hackathon; let’s get to the recipe part:

  • Preparation: 1 day
  • Cooking: 2 days
  • Additional: 4 hours
  • Servings: the whole company

Ingredients

  • 1 topic - community and knowledge sharing
    The topic is the central theme of a hackathon; try to choose something trendy or something that suits your company goals. Let it be broad enough to fit your whole company but not too open so that it can be almost everything. You can change the topic every year, so it does not get boring.
  • 1 or more places - at your home via Google Meet
    Usually, we use our offices, but we had no problem moving it online. You probably already have tools and processes to work remotely, use them for team communication and all-hands presentations.
  • 1 program - on Jira/Confluence with reminders on Slack
    Schedule everything well before the hackathon starts, from the welcome speech to final presentations. Include some ongoing status updates where every team can present what they have done and what are their next steps.
  • A lot of feedback - via Google Form
    After the hackathon ends, we publish an online feedback form to gain some insights from attendees, so next time we can fix the pain points and make it even better. We also include a question to suggest the topic for next year.
online hackathon tools
Chef notes:
That was the recipe for our hackathon we baked this year; you can change the ingredients and duration based on your taste 😉

How did the last year's hackathon look like? Find out more about our Hackathon 2020!

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