You Hacked and Now What?: - Exploring Outcomes of a Corporate Hackathon

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Abstract: Time bounded events such as hackathons, data dives, codefests, hack-days, sprints or edit-a-thons have increasingly gained attention from practitioners and researchers. Existing research, however, has mainly focused on the event itself, while potential outcomes of hackathons have received limited attention. Furthermore, most research around hackathons focuses on collegiate or civic events. Research around hackathons internal to tech companies, which are nearly ubiquitous, and present significant organizational, cultural, and managerial challenges, remains scarce. In this paper we address this gap by presenting findings from a case study of five teams which participated in a large scale corporate hackathon. Most team members voiced their intentions to continue the projects their worked on during the hackathon, but those whose projects did get continued were characterized by meticulous preparation, a focus on executing a shared vision during the hackathon, extended dissemination activities afterwards and a fit to existing product lines. Such teams were led by individuals who perceived the hackathon as an opportunity to bring their idea to life and advance their careers, and who recruited teams who had a strong interest in the idea and in learning the skills necessary to contribute efficiently. Our analysis also revealed that individual team members perceived hackathon participation to have positive effects on their career parts, networks and skill development.

Recommended citation: Nolte, A., Pe-Than, E.P.P., Filippova, A., Bird, C., Scallen, S., and Herbsleb, J.D. (2018). You Hacked and Now What?: - Exploring Outcomes of a Corporate Hackathon. In Proceedings of the ACM on Human Computer Interaction, 2 (CSCW’18), Article 129, 23 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3274398