7 Major Hackathon Organizing Challenges & How to Overcome Them

7 Major Hackathon Organizing Challenges & How to Overcome Them

The organization of a hackathon, like any event, is always a long process that requires thinking through everything to the smallest detail. At first glance, it seems to beginners that this is very easy. This article will tell you what you may encounter, how to avoid problems, and how to provide for absolutely everything.
The organization of a hackathon, like any event, is always a long process that requires thinking through everything to the smallest detail. At first glance, it seems to beginners that this is very easy. This article will tell you what you may encounter, how to avoid problems, and how to provide for absolutely everything.
What does Hackathon solve?

All hackathons solve one of three blocks of problems. The first block is innovation. It searches for projects and ideas, tests the API.

The second one helps the company hire the best developers, product managers, in general, those you desperately need and choose them from among the best, without burdening yourself with extended interviews and conversations, but by testing them in action. It will also help improve your employees, give them new insights and generally cheer up those bored in the office. Also, this block forms an important component - a community in which specialists can interact, speak the same language and share their ideas.

The third block is increasing brand awareness. You can endlessly pour budgets into articles and interviews, or you can hold a hackathon that will give you the necessary info-reasons, and improve the image of your brand, and solve problems, and increase your level as an employer. Win-win.
What does Hackathon solve?

All hackathons solve one of three blocks of problems. The first block is innovation. It searches for projects and ideas, tests the API.

The second one helps the company hire the best developers, product managers, in general, those you desperately need and choose them from among the best, without burdening yourself with extended interviews and conversations, but by testing them in action. It will also help improve your employees, give them new insights and generally cheer up those bored in the office. Also, this block forms an important component - a community in which specialists can interact, speak the same language and share their ideas.

The third block is increasing brand awareness. You can endlessly pour budgets into articles and interviews, or you can hold a hackathon that will give you the necessary info-reasons, and improve the image of your brand, and solve problems, and increase your level as an employer. Win-win.
Typical Challenges when Organizing a Hackathon

What problems can you face while planning, organizing, and conducting a hackathon? Let's figure it out. There are a few of them, but the absence of a solution for at least one of them will make your hackathon less effective.
  1. Lack of an insufficient number of experts and consultants in the task at hand. This can lead to the fact that participants come to the hackathon in vain, and, ultimately, they create something completely different from what is expected of them. Therefore, selecting the correct number of experts, mentors, and consultants most competent in your task is very important. Plus, the more famous they are, the higher your hackathon rating.
  2. Information and data. The developers who participate in the hackathon must have the maximum possible amount of data, documents, resources.
  3. Venue and technical equipment. Now there are two methods of running a hackathon - online and offline, and it seems that gathering people online is much easier. Anyone can participate from home, office, anywhere. But there are also some nuances here. The site you choose should withstand that many connections and the start and end times should be convenient for everyone. For offline hackathons, it is essential and requires high-speed access to the network, office equipment, presentation capabilities, ports, and adapters. Computers with the ability to work with heavy programs, files, and data will not be excessive.
  4. Clear conditions, deadlines, chat. It is crucial to be in touch with the participants during the hackathon. Information on the subject, types of end products, how they are accepted and dispatched, time frames limiting development should be clear and clearly articulated. There must be a chat and consultation of participants, both online and offline.
  5. Preliminary summary from the participants. If your goal is to select more qualified developers or search for specific skills, then a resume will help you choose the most suitable candidates from the initial stage.
  6. Breaks. We are all human, and we all have the right to rest. Don't forget to take breaks, coffee breaks, lunches. Besides the fact that the developers will take a break, they will be able to communicate with other participants, i.e., form new teams and make business contacts.
  7. Reward. Participants, regardless of their level, must be motivated to win. And the motivation must be tangible. This can be internships, training, monetary rewards, participation in forums, providing a place in a coworking space, technical devices.
    Typical Challenges when Organizing a Hackathon

    What problems can you face while planning, organizing, and conducting a hackathon? Let's figure it out. There are a few of them, but the absence of a solution for at least one of them will make your hackathon less effective.
    1. Lack of an insufficient number of experts and consultants in the task at hand. This can lead to the fact that participants come to the hackathon in vain, and, ultimately, they create something completely different from what is expected of them. Therefore, selecting the correct number of experts, mentors, and consultants most competent in your task is very important. Plus, the more famous they are, the higher your hackathon rating.
    2. Information and data. The developers who participate in the hackathon must have the maximum possible amount of data, documents, resources.
    3. Venue and technical equipment. Now there are two methods of running a hackathon - online and offline, and it seems that gathering people online is much easier. Anyone can participate from home, office, anywhere. But there are also some nuances here. The site you choose should withstand that many connections and the start and end times should be convenient for everyone. For offline hackathons, it is essential and requires high-speed access to the network, office equipment, presentation capabilities, ports, and adapters. Computers with the ability to work with heavy programs, files, and data will not be excessive.
    4. Clear conditions, deadlines, chat. It is crucial to be in touch with the participants during the hackathon. Information on the subject, types of end products, how they are accepted and dispatched, time frames limiting development should be clear and clearly articulated. There must be a chat and consultation of participants, both online and offline.
    5. Preliminary summary from the participants. If your goal is to select more qualified developers or search for specific skills, then a resume will help you choose the most suitable candidates from the initial stage.
    6. Breaks. We are all human, and we all have the right to rest. Don't forget to take breaks, coffee breaks, lunches. Besides the fact that the developers will take a break, they will be able to communicate with other participants, i.e., form new teams and make business contacts.
    7. Reward. Participants, regardless of their level, must be motivated to win. And the motivation must be tangible. This can be internships, training, monetary rewards, participation in forums, providing a place in a coworking space, technical device.
    What you need to avoid for your hackathon to succeed

    A list of aspects that can be frustrating for participants in both the hackathon and the sponsoring company. Here we also advise you to sharpen your attention and exclude them during the organization and development of the hackathon:
    • The victory of ready-made solutions - no one will be pleased if you invest in development from scratch, and your competitors come with a ready-made solution. It's not athletic.
    • Officious HR - good when they keep in touch with participants, bad when they become intrusive.
    • Businessmen and top managers who are poorly versed in technology - we have already written about this point above. Be careful when choosing speakers and mentors, their reputation and competence is an indicator of your professionalism.
    • Rigid terms of reference that do not give room for creativity - a clearly defined task and a task with rigidly established frameworks are very different. Allow developers to create.
    • Lack of standard technologies and attempts to get the end with NDAs - no one likes a rigid framework, and even fewer people want to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
    • Boring tasks can destroy any ambitious and vital project if it is too dull, too easy, or useless.
      What you need to avoid for your hackathon to succeed

      A list of aspects that can be frustrating for participants in both the hackathon and the sponsoring company. Here we also advise you to sharpen your attention and exclude them during the organization and development of the hackathon:
      • The victory of ready-made solutions - no one will be pleased if you invest in development from scratch, and your competitors come with a ready-made solution. It's not athletic.
      • Officious HR - good when they keep in touch with participants, bad when they become intrusive.
      • Businessmen and top managers who are poorly versed in technology - we have already written about this point above. Be careful when choosing speakers and mentors, their reputation and competence is an indicator of your professionalism.
      • Rigid terms of reference that do not give room for creativity - a clearly defined task and a task with rigidly established frameworks are very different. Allow developers to create.
      • Lack of standard technologies and attempts to get the end with NDAs - no one likes a rigid framework, and even fewer people want to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
      • Boring tasks can destroy any ambitious and vital project if it is too dull, too easy, or useless.
      Examples of Hackathon Tasks

      What tasks do hackathons face? In any case, the organizers will need to write as clearly and understandably what results in they expect. Will it be a prototype for further development or a finished product? Will it develop later? What is the use of solving this problem?

      Hackathons are short-term (1-2 days) and long-term (up to several months). Depending on the duration, the tasks are easy, medium, and challenging. The tasks can be very diverse: from a prototype application for marketplaces (recognizing and searching for clothes in markets with the most favorable price) to developing software to ensure the smooth operation of an industrial complex. But not all hackathons look like participants, gathering in a large room equipped with technology, with a stage, speakers, and tension in the air. For example, Hacktrain took place on the train. At that time, 150 people were solving tasks to improve the railway system in Great Britain or Comedy Hack Day - a hybrid of a hackathon and an open mic.
          Examples of Hackathon Tasks
          What tasks do hackathons face? In any case, the organizers will need to write as clearly and understandably what results in they expect. Will it be a prototype for further development or a finished product? Will it develop later? What is the use of solving this problem?

          Hackathons are short-term (1-2 days) and long-term (up to several months). Depending on the duration, the tasks are easy, medium, and challenging. The tasks can be very diverse: from a prototype application for marketplaces (recognizing and searching for clothes in markets with the most favorable price) to developing software to ensure the smooth operation of an industrial complex. But not all hackathons look like participants, gathering in a large room equipped with technology, with a stage, speakers, and tension in the air. For example, Hacktrain took place on the train. At that time, 150 people were solving tasks to improve the railway system in Great Britain or Comedy Hack Day - a hybrid of a hackathon and an open mic.