What is an alternative name for a hackathon

Organize hackathons

  • 5 minutes to read

A hackathon is a fun way to get many people in your organization excited about a digital culture of change. The main goal is to develop sample apps and cultivate ideas to drive digital transformation. Teams come together, across the industry or on a global scale, from different roles and departments, to compete with each other and create apps that meet an organizational need.

The more different skills and roles are represented, the better. One or more moderators should be involved in organizing the hackathon and establishing the teams and rules. It might also be worth starting the day with a review and demo of Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, Power Virtual Agents, AI Builder, Microsoft Power Platform, and Microsoft Dataverse.

A successful hackathon usually includes team colors, prizes, food, music, laughter, and competition.

Planning and logistics

Preparation is key to a successful hackathon, so here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Securing an executive sponsor is critical to the hackathon credibility.
  • Set the dates and notify attendees as early as possible.
  • Choose your judges - choose a jury from corporate, IT and leadership teams.
  • For a personal event, find a venue or room that has enough seating, whiteboards, power outlets, reliable Wi-Fi, and projectors to showcase the solution. For a virtual event, set up teams with private channels for each participating team to collaborate and a bridge to dial into.
  • Obtain some prizes as an incentive to participate.
  • Set up a registration mechanism - Microsoft Forms, a SharePoint website, or create your own apps.
  • Determine your communication strategy - newsletter, intranet, Yammer / teams.


  • Offer training sessions for attendees - the more they know in advance of the event, the better the apps they'll send. Suggest they attend an App in a Day event or take a Microsoft Power Platform educational trail.
  • Before the hackathon, set up a call for teams and individuals to share their ideas and questions to discuss feasibility and fill knowledge gaps.
  • Find out which data sources the teams want to connect to, and make sure test data is available and that the teams have the correct access. An alternative is to provide dummy data in the form of an Excel spreadsheet that the teams can use to mock up their solutions.
  • Building trust is key; it maximizes the productivity of the hackathon.

Find your ideas and use cases

Before the hackathon, ask participants to think about the use case they want to solve - providing some information on a registration form can be a great way to think about what they want to achieve.

Ask the following questions:

  • What is the current process like?
  • What should the future process look like?
  • What are the pain points of the current process?
  • What data sources are required to solve your problem?

You could also ask senior stakeholders to vote on the ideas submitted and then - during the hackathon - ask the teams to work only on the best-matched ideas. This would increase managerial approval and ensure that the important solutions are addressed.

When attendees are looking to connect to third-party data sources for their solutions, ensure that data is available to them. This could be as simple as preparing test data in an Excel file or filling in a Dataverse entity with some sample data for students to use.


Either ask participants to form their own teams or choose teams themselves. Make sure team members know each other and can communicate before the event to prepare together. Setting up a Microsoft Teams channel for the hackathon and private channels for each team is a great way to make collaboration easier.

On that day

Make sure the day is fun - offer snacks and plenty of coffee. Designing a hackathon logo and making t-shirts, stickers, or buttons for the day can be an effective way of motivating participants. Set up some Microsoft Power Platform champions to help attendees with technical questions, as well as some moderators to help with logistics (“Are there more post-its?”). “We need a purple marker!” “We don't have access to xyz. ”“ How do I share my whiteboard with other members of the team? ”).

Your hackathon can last a day or several, but we recommend planning your agenda in advance and communicating it clearly to attendees so they know how much time to allow.

Here is an example agenda:

Team presentations and evaluation

Prepare a template that the teams can use in preparing the presentation. In addition to screenshots or process diagrams, the template should also contain the team name, the advantages of apps, technical considerations and visions.

Prepare an evaluation criterion that your judges can use in assessing the solutions. The criteria should range from business to technical to design categories, taking into account the level of innovation, short and long term vision and completeness. Suggest the award of bonus points for live demos during the presentation.

After the event

Don't stop at the hackathon - put together short-term and long-term plans:

  • What is the pipeline of apps to be built?
  • Will some of the apps that were developed during the hackathon go into production, and how can your makers be helped along the way?
  • After the event, create a buzz about Microsoft Power Platform by posting some stories in internal newsletters or on your intranet; get creative and ask participants for quotes or even interviews.