Hackathon Project Management

The Western Massachusetts Civic Hackathon had a burnout problem.  The organizing committee took responsibility not only for soliciting donations to fund the event and all logistics, but also identifying, vetting and refining projects across the reason.  Because of this centralization, it was difficult for Hackathon teams to set appropriate delivery expectations for project completion.

I proposed that Hackathon developers in major towns self-organize teams to surface and manage local projects before, during and after the main event.  Each group had a Team Organizer who pulled meetings together and kept everyone abreast of requirements, and multiple Project Managers who prepared challenges for consideration, gathered data for approved Challenges for the Hackathon, and brought Challenge work back to their nonprofit organizers for implementation.  On the day of the Hackathon, decided on which Challenges to join, and made their decisions based on slideshow presentations by Project Managers. This approach was much easier to manage, and other Civic Hackathons across the country soon adopted it.