Hosting a successful internal hackathon with < $6k budget

Balki Kodarapu

Sr. Director of Engineering at SupportLogic


The Success of the Hackathon

"I proposed that we do an internal hackathon at our company based on my previous experiences doing the same at smaller scale. As I was the most enthusiastic about this concept, I became the de facto lead for running our first-ever internal hackathon with nearly 80 members in engineering, product and design."

The challenge was a tiny budget of $6000. This limited budget meant we definitely could not do it in-person with our team members spread across 10 countries and more than cities! We had to get creative on how to build a strong sense of bonding and community while running this hackathon remotely.

Thorough Preparation for Success

The hackathon's success was predominantly attributed to the thorough preparation by the organizing team. Prior to publicizing the event, specific goals were set and guidelines on project themes were established. Matchmaking was facilitated to ensure each project had a suitable blend of skills, experience, and expertise.

"A special logo and corresponding merchandise were designed. Participants were encouraged to formulate and refine their proposals, with some even creating pitch videos to exhibit their ideas. Additionally, suggestions for a catchy hackathon name were sought after and the team of engineers came up with various creative options. The name 'SupportOverflow' was chosen due to its playful connection to the company name."

The engineering executives and leaders held a preparatory session the day before the hackathon's start to lay out expectations and offer guidance. Throughout the 2-day hackathon, the teams received support through regular check-ins from their team leads, who assisted with overcoming challenges and provided expert guidance.

Key Features of the Hackathon Event

  • Presentations of all finished projects to the entire company.
  • Award ceremony attended by the entire company, with personalized awards for each team.
  • Option for winning teams to display their unique awards as profile pictures.
  • Networking opportunities for all participants to connect and collaborate with others from different teams and departments.
  • Exciting chance to try out new technologies and innovative ideas.

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Balki Kodarapu

Sr. Director of Engineering at SupportLogic

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