So, your workplace is having a hackathon. You recruited all the top guns around you and all that’s left is to build the product that will take your team to first place. These are my tips on how to do it. I can only guarantee that you will enjoy the ride if you follow them.
1. Be original and take it to the edge
Don’t go to the obvious product most people will do. This is your time to go crazy and push the limits.
2. Surround yourself with people you enjoy working with
Hackathons can be stressful sometimes, and it’s important that you have people you enjoy to work with and have good communication with.
3. Travel to the past
If it’s not the first time your company is conducting a hackathon, then it might be a good idea to learn what was done in past hackathons and what were the winning products.
4. Start working
Brainstorm while you work, even if you haven’t finalised the product. Hackathons have a time limit and I truly believe that a winning product is determined from the first hour of the hackathon.
5. Make decisions happen
Lead the team to make the decisions. In hackathons, you make decisions as a team, but you need to make sure a decision is made and fast when any issue comes up.
6. Professional presentation
Sometimes, it’s all about how you present it. I’ve seen cases where products that weren’t delivered in hackathons hit success because there was a good presentation of the idea behind it.
7. If you fail, don’t
Sometimes, it doesn’t work out the way you want it. Present your idea and your failure. I’m sure people will value your team effort and give you some points.
8. User experience
The best way to present your hackathon product is to let your judges and audience experience the product you created first hand.
People like freebies. If you can give something that will make your product memorable, do it. Don’t give money; that’s called bribery.
10. Last but not least, have fun!
Hackathons are meant to be fun. If you’re not having fun, you are doing something wrong.