Planning Harry’s 2019 Hackathon

Showie
Showie
Feb 6, 2020 · 4 min read

In December of 2019 Harry’s held its annual Hackathon. The two-day event has become a much-adored tradition that enables us to live some of Harry’s values including Look Left to Find Right, Improve Always, and All In All Together. As a new Harry’s employee and first time Hackathon coordinator (at any company) I was determined to make it a fun event. Here is how I went about it and what I learned from hosting it.

Preparation

Budget

With that number in mind we listed the expenses we had to have and the ones we’d like to have. Had-to-haves included lunches, stickers, and prizes. Nice-to-haves included additional swag, booz for the demos, and breakfasts.

Budgeting for most of these expenses was pretty easy except for prizes. The x-factor in budgeting prizes is that we didn’t know how large the winning teams would be. More on that later.

In the end we budgeted $1500 for two lunches, stickers, and prizes. All the nice-to-haves were dropped. About 30 people participated.

The Theme

Scheduling

Marketing the Event

Judging

The who. We felt 3–5 judges was appropriate. In our company there was a yearning to have the founders and other C level employees be the judges. These schedules can be difficult to coordinate so we cast a wide net in order to recruit them. We reached out to nearly a dozen executives and had some accept our invitation only to decline later and vice versa. In the end we had four judges but were scrambling to confirm that until the day of the Hackathon.

The how. In the beginning we had a vigorous debate about how to pick the winners. Most Original, Best Idea, and Top Implementation were all considered but we ultimately settled on First, Second, Third, and People’s Choice. We then spent time creating a detailed scorecard that each judge would use to rate the teams from 0–3 in four categories. We also created a simple Google Form to judge the People’s Choice winner.

The Main Event

In Retrospect

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