Hackathon 2018

Thought behind hackathon.

In my Org. we always have a really good opportunity to grow our workspace with talented peers. And a need to make sure we have apt people to get the job done.

I made few suggestions to select great people and make sure they join us, we need to first attract them towards us by

Brand ourselves as a great place to work.

We are trying to do the same via Org. website though, sharing public updates to all alumni employees on last known contact monthly.

Presences in tech festivals/tech conferences with developers. e.g. Web-dev summit as sponsors / as participants / as speakers - - Active planning for participation and identification of individuals to participate needs to be in place to start with it.

Showcase the work life

Showcase the solutions we are building. The scale and impact of those products in the real world.
Again this is done via the website. We could include demo/discussion/ presentation before starting interviews for both in-house and drives.

We could conduct interviews of the people who built the innovative things/things which are already posted on the website/ open sourced projects. The interviewer can ask about Who, What, Why, When, Where? In 10 - 15 minutes. All case studies can be covered in this fashion. Post it on social media.

Hosting Hackathon

In a hackathon, people spend time at the company. There is a possibility that they like office /facilities/ infrastructure/ location. We get an opportunity to display it without spending on the travel of people or machines.

We get to see people in action, their thought process, problem-solving approach. It could help us spot the talent.

The things which are developed could be adapted to internal use, keeping everything open-sourced.

Management agreed to host a hackathon, starting with employee-only first.

The committee to take care of event was formed, including HR, Recruiting, Marketing, Admin.

The format was finalised

A deadline of 26 hours. Accept commit to git / any place to deploy till deadline. With 2 hour rest time in between.

Initial hour introduction, branding, explaining the process.

Next hour we put-up our topics -- Teams finalise topics. ( discuss with teams -- query resolution, some initial approach sharing how and what could be implemented in 24 hours )

Last 2 hours evaluation and understanding of the things each team have built, what they have built. Presentation and demos.

We will need to provide facilities like free food, snacks, tea/coffee, internet, empty desks to code.

The final execution was

The date finalised was 29th June 2018 -- Friday. It was going to be an overnight one.

Another change was to announce categories for problems and have some specific pre-stated problems. Review proposed, pre-thought solutions so that they can be developed in 12 hours. After all, it was the testing bed with a lot of first-timers.

We decided the judgement criteria. Prizes were finalised though we kept the undisclosed to keep the focus of hackathon on mob programming.


The marketing began based on a week-on-week plan, we had a target of 50 footfall for the day. We made a motivational video. Played it in the coffee-machine display, cafeteria. Even on the development floor between lunch hours. We had posters on doors. We had put up the registration website.

On the last couple of days, we had counters in the cafeteria to explain the concept, format, and take registrations.

The night

We managed to meet our exact target. We got 12 odd teams with 50 participants.

We started with influencers addressing participants. Went with format initial introductions, team formation, in-house git repo setup. Regular 2 hour check on development so far, any help required, tech/design/non-tech guidance. Regular food snacks break, some singing and comedy in the second half to keep them awake and motivated.

At the end of it, we had 4 finalists, out of which 1 was declared the winner and another runner-up. We got amazing solutions coded. The judging was really difficult.


Making the judging panel.

Crucial decisions like time, format, judging criteria.

Projecting budget.

It was the hell of an experience!

This was the first step, hope we move with our external one soon.

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