1. Early preparation and repeat communications are the keystones for high team engagement.
  2. A 2-days Hackathon is a good balance between team engagement, project complexity and business outcome.
  3. Sponsorship from external vendor is not essential, but good to have.
  4. Clear schedule and timeline will help all participant around when to do what.
  5. A Hackathon theme is necessary to guide team participations, even just ‘Have Fun’ is a good one.
  6. Post Hackathon communication is as IMPORTANT as the Hackathon event itself, especially for these who didn’t participant this time.
  7. Sometime, people just need a decision, no matter that decision is right or wrong, good or bad.



Preparation and proactive planning are the keys to have a successful Hackathon event. Different teams may have different timeline and availability, and it’s better to start Hackathon conversations as earlier as possible.

If you plan to organise your Hackathon event around end of quarter, or end of financial circle, people may get time constrains on rushing their KPIs or regular reports. They may still want to participant but don’t have enough time.

We started our planning session 6-month earlier before the actual Hackathon event. This is a good time frame to get sufficient time to participant to plan their workload, and also enough head space to prepare their Hackathon ideas.


Communication to wider team is also a key approach to get attentions from the organisation. Repeated comms plan will help you plant the seed into people’s mind, to gain people’s interests.


There are other general items that also need to be considered throughout your Hackathon planning phrase. Things like:

  • Hackathon project requirements
  • Award, Prize, Judges
  • Dietary requirement
  • Office location

Once you decide to organise Hackathon, these things can be figured fairly quickly. And you can delegate above responsibilities to each organiser.

Hackathon Days

All right, finally you are on your Hackathon Day! All the Hackathon event schedule should already send out to all participant beforehand. You just need to follow the agenda, and have fun!

During the Hackathon Days, just make sure you and other co-organisers are available for questions and problems from participants. Be pragmatic with things that may go wrong, and sometimes it’s okay if you don’t have a Plan B in hand.

Judging Criteria

Teams will be judged on these four criteria. Judges will weigh the criteria depending on Award type. During judging, participants should try to describe what they did for each criterion in their project.

What’s include?


  • How technically impressive was the hack?
  • Was the technical problem the team tackled difficult?
  • Did you find a new use for, or leverage, an existing piece of technology?
  • Did the technology involved make you go “Wow”?
  • Did you leverage other great techniques that already exist?


  • How innovative and groundbreaking was the idea?
  • Did it use a particularly clever technique or did it use many different components?


  • Did the team stretch themselves?
  • Did they try to learn something new?
  • Which technologies/APIs/products/methods did you use, that you didn’t know before?

Teamwork & Collaboration

  • We encourage you to have colourful teams.
  • As such we will give points for teams that are not solely formed of co-workers.
  • After all, we want to use this time to make new connections too.

What’s exclude?

These criteria will guide judges but ultimately judges are free to make decisions based on their gut feeling of which projects are the most impressive and most deserving. It’s important to note that these judging criteria DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • How good your code is. It doesn’t matter if your code is messy, or not well commented, or uses inefficient algorithms. Hacking is about playing around, making mistakes, and learning new things. If your code isn’t production ready, we’re not going to mark you down.
  • How well you pitch. Hacking is about building and learning, not about selling.
  • How well the project solves a problem. You can build something totally useless and as long as you’re learning and having fun, that’s a good hack! Sometimes a pointless project is one of the best hacks!

So don’t worry about coming up with the next big idea, you’ll have plenty of time for that outside the hackathon. just focus on learning, having fun, and making new friends. At the end of the day the skills you learn and the friends you make might lead to the next big thing—but you don’t have to do that to win a hackathon.

Post Hackathon

Completing your Hackathon Days is not just the end. There are also things that you need to do after the event. For example, an team survey around the Hackathon experience would be good one to have. Especially when participants still have their fresh memory and first-hand feelings about Hackathon.

Apart from the survey, it’s also necessary to send out another comm to wider team around the Hackathon results, so that you can close the communication loop and let others involve into this event. You can also ask for some dedicated time, and let each project team to have a 1-minute pitch session in All Team Meeting.



Action Checklist

Month - 6

  • Team survey on team’s interests around Hackathon. Make go/no go decision.
  • Get approval from key stakeholders.
    • Budget holders with event and prize costs.
    • Project Manager with Hackathon time allocation.
  • Setup regular session for Hackathon organiser.
    • Slack channel.
    • Confluence space.

Month - 4

  • Prepare Hackathon Posters (3 sets for each month)
  • Prepare Hackathon Promotion Campaign.
    • Should be regular Hackathon updates at least monthly.
  • Call people to contribute Hackathon project ideas.
  • Contact with external vendors for potential sponsorship.

Month - 3

  • Confirm Hackathon dates and location.
    • Book meeting rooms for each location.
  • Inform all stakeholders on Hackathon Plan, date, people numbers, budget etc.
  • Prepare sign up page and form.
  • Inform people that Hackathon project ideas are ready to choose.
  • Call people to sign up teams.
  • Wider team Communication
    • Print and post Hackathon Poster 1.
    • Publish wider team announcement.

Month - 2

  • Confirm teams and projects.
    • Identify skill requirements for project.
    • Identify any data requirements for project.
    • Plan technical environment (i.e. sandbox environment) for project.
  • Determine prizes and awards.
    • Confirm prize and swag sponsorship from external vendor if possible.
  • Determine judge committee structure
    • Business values.
    • Technology.
    • Wow impression.
  • Confirm all participants are invited to Hackathon events in calendar.
  • Identify responsibilities and delegate to each organiser.
    • Food Catering.
    • Office area preparation.
    • Event Host (intro, break, mini game, award ceremony).
    • Technical support.
    • Contact person with external vendor.
  • Wider team Communication
    • Print and post Hackathon Poster 2.
    • Publish wider team announcement.

Month - 1

  • Determine mini games to play during lunch break.
  • Collect dietary requirements from people.
  • Organise training and upskilling sessions for Hackathon project if necessary.
  • Inform team to clean up calendar during Hackathon.
  • Prepare skills, data, and other identified needs for Hackathon projects.
  • Confirm Judge Committee
  • Find paparazzi
  • Wider team Communication
    • Print and post Hackathon Poster 3.
    • Publish wider team announcement.

Day - 7

  • Confirm roles for Hackathon days.

Day - 2

  • Re-confirm attendee list.
  • Order catering for each location.

Day - 1

  • Prepare office area for Hackathon.
    • Visual outline Hackathon area with tape.
    • Dedicate tables for snacks and beverages.
  • Prepare Sandbox environment access for Hackathon

Hackathon Day 1

  • 9:00am. Check-in.
  • 9:30am. Opening ceremony: detailed Hackathon schedule, places, judging criteria.
  • 9:45am. 30 seconds pitch from each project.
  • 10:00am. Start hacking.
  • 13:00pm. Lunch break.
  • 13:30pm. Continue hacking.
  • 17:00pm. Day 1 wrap-up.

Hackathon Day 2

  • 9:00am. Check-in.
  • 9:10am. Continue hacking.
  • 13:00pm. Lunch break.
  • 13:30pm. Continue hacking.
  • 15:30pm. Project Demo.
  • 16:15pm. Judge Discussion.
  • 16:30pm. Award Ceremony.
  • 17:00pm. Day 2 wrap-up.

Post Hackathon Check-in

  • Team survey for good, bad, continue.
  • Wider Team Communication.
    • Publish team announcement with Hackathon results.
    • Project pitch.

Mini Game Ideas

  1. Typing Speed Races.
  2. Paper Plane Contest.
  3. ABC Challenge. Name a technology for each letter of alphabet.
  4. Stuff quiz.
  5. Draw and Guess.

Idea Registry

Prepare yourself by giving prompts in advance. For example, you can ask yourself to finish the sentences:

  • I wish I could …
  • How might we …
  • If only I could take the time to fix …
  • It’s such a pain that …
  • Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if …
  • If I have a magic ward, I want to …
Idea NameBrief DescriptionInterest
Time-sheet trackingUse xxx to replace yyy for time-sheeting, with zzz integration to make time-sheeting & reporting easier.Alice
automatic on-leave notificationAutomatically post a message to your colleague to notify you will be on leave.Bob, Cathy