A virtual hackathon happens exclusively online. It is based on the traditional co-located hackathon principles, but the online medium requires different process and tools to plan and facilitate such event.
|Reach wide audience, geography not an obstacle|
|Output quantity, this correlates with higher participation numbers|
|Cost reduction – reduced attendee costs for travel, no venue and catering costs|
|Faster, easier organisation, no venue/travel/catering/on-site-staff, etc planning and management|
|Good for teams that already work together|
|Good for idea generation as oppose to production|
|Lower output quality|
|Lack of engagement|
|Lack of changing culture and habits|
|Atos standard tooling (Skype, Circuit) falls short for effective hackathon remote workflow|
|Potential trouble of consistent team-work i.e. getting everyone online at the same time, articulation, brainstorming, etc activities are harder whilst remote and heavily rely on quality tools and internet connection|
|Loosing out on f2f benefits (relationship building, knowledge sharing, etc)|
When to organise a Virtual Hackathon?
Consider organising a Virtual Hackathon in scenarios where:
- Hackathon’s target audience is geographically diverse
- Achieve huge numbers of participants (focus on quantity), e.g. from 600+ people onwards
- Keep the organisational costs low
Things to consider when organising a Virtual Hackathon
- Platform: as in a collaboration platform accessible for all participants, no matter their OS (Mac, Windows, Linux)
- Cost: as in either a free/paid tool that’s equally accessible to all
- Audio: as in the headset available to the participants
- Video: as in the web camera available to the participants
- Speed: as in capability to transfer large files
- Consistency/stability: as in capabilty to ensure quality conference calls
- Advanced Collaboration features (real-time whiteboards, screen sharing, polls, etc)
- Channels (private team channels, general hackathon channel, etc)
- Supported number of participants on a call, chat
Prototype sharing / pitchingHow will the final pitching happen? Depending on the scale of the hackathon, consider teams doing presentations over video conference or pre-recording their pitch and submitting to the jury.
Code sharing platformsEnsure the code sharing platform has been agreed, i.e. bitbucket, github, etc.
To ensure a quality communication process and people management/enablement remotely, consider the following:
- How will you deliver hackathon’s core communication (theme, problem statement, etc)?
- Hackathon signup (participant registration)
- Hackathon idea evaluation and team forming
- Webinar delivery
- Conference call delivery
- Team collaboration tooling (file transfer, chat, voice, video, collaborative whiteboard sharing, screen sharing, polls, on-call notes, etc)
- Final solution evaluation method
People enablement:How will you ensure people are enabled, eg:
- Available information (research, customer-validation, etc)
- Available tooling (collaboration covered above)
- Knowing where to seek help
People management process:
- How will you check and ensure all teams progress freely across the hackathon?