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5 Lessons from the Hack for Western Mass


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How can you make the best use of your time at a Hackathon? Here are some of the key lessons I took away from my first hackathon, the Hack for Western Mass.

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5 Lessons from the Hack for Western Mass

  1. 1. 5 Lessons from
  2. 2. Read the Blog Post!
  3. 3. Feel Free to Remix These Slides! Creative Commons | by 4.0
  4. 4. 1. Questions Before Code 2. Know What You Need 3. Think Ahead 4. Be Ready to Train 5. Prepare for the Presentation
  5. 5. Questions Before Code
  6. 6. Some useful questions... What is the key objective? What are our team’s skills? What is just “nice-to-have”? How can our team work in parallel?
  7. 7. Know What You Need
  8. 8. Two Lists Need to know NOW! ➔ What are our constraints? ➔ What data are we using? Can we use it as-is? Need to know soon... ➔ Is there an existing solution we can use? ➔ What are the implications of [x,y,z]?
  9. 9. Think Ahead
  10. 10. Hackathon is just the start... Will they remember how to use it? How do they train new employees / volunteers? If it breaks, how do they ask for help?
  11. 11. Be Ready to Train
  12. 12. Technical Various coding languages Using Git / Github References for web languages (CSS, HTML, etc.) Useful Links Non-Technical Screencasts with Jing Sharing with Google Drive How to Give a Killer Presentation
  13. 13. Prepare for the Presentation
  14. 14. Why Bother? I could totally build [x,y,z] feature instead!
  15. 15. George Santayana Those who do not study the past are doomed to repeat it.
  16. 16. (including you, next year) Your experience will help other Hackers after you.
  17. 17. Challenge Move from paper data / forms to a digital format. Impediments Couldn’t test with real data due to confidentiality concerns. Produced large quantities of test data using baby name generator & lipsum text. One way to organize... Solutions Background Rick’s Place helps support grieving children and their families. Outcome Built Google Forms & Spreadsheets, and taught Community Partner how to use them.
  18. 18. One last thing...
  19. 19. HAVE FUN!
  20. 20. The best thing about civic hackathons? Organizations continue to benefit long after the volunteers go home! (cc by 4.0)
  21. 21. Thanks! (cc by 4.0)