Documenting your process
If you’re planning to host your hackathon again next year, taking detailed records during and after the planning process can help your team avoid common mistakes, and improve the experience for next year’s organizers and hackers.
For example, if you went over budget because snacks for hackers cost more than you expected then you should note that for next year’s team to help them avoid making the same mistake.
We recommend keeping all your documents in a central Google Drive folder, so future organizers can easily reference old resources as needed. If you have a central email for your hackathon like [email protected] use it to create the Google Drive folder, so you don’t have to worry about transferring folder ownership year after year.
It’s incredibly valuable to keep email records with mentors, sponsors, and any stakeholders supporting your event. For example, you can use past sponsorship email correspondences to strengthen your sponsorship outreach strategy.
Hey Company! Based on our correspondence last year, your team was interested in sponsoring at our event but the timing didn’t work out. Would you be interested in chatting again for this year’s event?
To keep all of your email records in one place, I recommend CC’ing a central email for your hackathon like [email protected] on all of your emails. All of the emails will end up in one inbox for future teams to easily reference!
Below are some tips to help you get started with recording keeping!
- Schedule a 1-hour event reflection with your team a few days after the event to talk about what went well and what could have been improved. Review this document with next year’s organizing team, so you can answer any of their questions and provide them with any additional context. Below are some questions to get your discussion started.
- What were the main themes of the hacker feedback we received? Based on this feedback, what actions can be taken to improve their experience next year?
- What were the three biggest challenges we can into while planning the event? What can we do to overcome these challenges next year?
- What three resources were the most helpful? How can we help next year’s team better leverage these resources?
- Create a document for your team to dump feedback and challenges during the event and event planning process, so you don’t forget them. After the event, you can organize the document and either directly share it with next year’s team or use it as a reference for your reflection call mentioned above.