So you’ve just participated in your first - or fiftieth - hackathon. Now what? If this is a question you cannot answer, you'll have to think this one through. Remember, just because a hackathon is over doesn't mean that your efforts stop right there. There are so many things that can be done that can elevate the hackathon's value and even help you further accomplish the goals you may have set for the hackathon itself.
That being said, if you want to know what you can do to maximize your hackathon's outcome, here are the things you can do:
1. Celebrate the Ending
You've worked hard, and you and your team deserve to celebrate the conclusion of the hackathon. As such, before you start your post-hackathon meeting, why not plan a tiny celebration? Whether virtual or physical, bring a few drinks and some food (you’re probably starving!) to celebrate the occasion. Also, during that time, thank every member of the hackathon for their hard work, and congratulate them on any achievements they have made.
2. Reflect on the Learnings
With the celebration over, now's the time to get a little more serious. Put away the drinks and talk with your team about what they've learned to form the hackathon. This kind of exercise is beneficial simply because revisiting experiences can help individuals improve and grow.
3. Align Everyone's Expectation
On their own, people will have their separate expectations of the post-hackathon meeting. To ensure that everyone is aligned with the same vision and goals, it is vital to answer questions such as "do you want to turn the project into a startup" or questions like "what is it exactly that people want out of the meeting" and such. When you understand what people expect from the meeting, you can get everyone on the same page and ensure that the meeting satisfies everyone.
4. Check If Participants Want to Continue
Not everyone will want to stick around after the hackathon is done. Some will want to leave for something else once they're done with the hackathon, and that's fine. Everyone has the right to stay or go after a hackathon. However, your job is to identify those who want to stay to ensure that the ones in your team are ones that are already committed.
5. Set Up Roles and Divide Responsibilities
Once you have a group of committed individuals in your team, it is time to start assigning roles and setting responsibilities. Remember, everyone in your team has a part to play in the project, and whatever your goal is, you need to maximize everyone's skills and talents.
Some other key things to consider:
- Update your resume - potential employers love to see hackathons as experience.
- Post a blog about your project, your team, and the hackathon itself.
- Post photos to social media and make sure to tag your teammates and the hackathon!
Always remind yourself that even when the hackathon is done and dusted, there is still much to do to make the most out of the hackathon itself. Things like understanding what you've learned to see what can be done to take the project down the road further are just some of the many things you can do to maximize your hackathon efforts. That said, remember to always start small and dream big! With talented individuals by your side, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals and dreams.
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