We are happy that over a hundred people signed up to the Codegeist 2021 discussion we helped organize in partnership with Atlassian last week. For those who missed it, don’t worry! We took note of some key takeaways on how to build a promising hackathon submission. Read on.
These esteemed panelists and hosts shared their insider’s tips and tricks:
- Steven Kling, Head of Cloud Engineering at Appfire, with 26 years of IT and software development experience, including 8 years as Administrator, Consultant, and App Designer in the Atlassian ecosystem
- Roman Lustiv, Head of Product Engineering Agile and IT Service Management at Appfire, is now part of our family through our recent acquisition of Spartez and brings with him 20 years of IT experience
- Vitalii Zurian, active advisor at Appfire for the recently acquired Lizard Brain apps portfolio, is a three-time technical founder who has built dozens of apps throughout the past decade
- Daniel Wester, Head of Product and CTO for 55 Degrees AB. His prior projects include Wittified, an Atlassian apps portfolio acquired by Appfire in 2015
- Shana Rusonis, Head of Ecosystem Marketing at Atlassian, has worked on a range of products and solutions and is passionate about sharing the stories of developers and their teams, especially with others in the Atlassian community
- Sunny Manaktala, Senior Technical Partner Manager at Atlassian with several years in the Atlassian partner space currently managing a few of the top Marketplace partners, including Appfire, Gliffy, and Smartbear
Below are insights and learnings that will equip you in creating a successful Codegeist entry. If you haven’t registered already, there’s still time! Hackathons are a reason to work differently: encourage yourself to try something else, take on new roles, and team-up with different people. Sign up and enjoy this unique experience.
First things first
A project always begins with an idea. But where do you find inspiration when you have not yet found the perfect idea?
“…public issue tracker is a goldmine of ideas!”Vitalii Zurian, Advisor, Appfire
The panelists agree: one of the best sources of inspiration is your customers or active Atlassian customers, as they will always share their feedback and pain points — whether you ask for it or not. Vitalii Zurian points out, “If you do not know where to start, look for the customer pain points. Find the public issue tracker (JAC) and scroll through it. It’s a goldmine of ideas!”
Don’t forget that you are also an important customer. What are your needs? What affects your team or your company?
The best ideas are the ones you are excited about and that solve real user problems. The only bad ideas are the ones that never get to see the light of day so don’t be afraid to pursue and challenge all of your ideas.
Then pick the idea you like most, but do not be afraid to let it evolve. Can you see yourself still working with this product 6 months from now? Can you see it having customers? And can you build out docs and support it on an ongoing basis? If your answer is “No” then it is time to go back to the drawing board. In the end, you want your project to go beyond Codegeist and for it to become a successful app on the marketplace.
Project management is key for a successful Codegeist entry
A good idea is a start but there are roadblocks that can slow you down or keep you from meeting deadlines. Be wary of these and manage your project effectively.
“Be a process geek!”Roman Lutsiv, Head of Product Engineering Agile and IT Service Management, Appfire
Steven Kling shares his strategy to accomplishing big goals: “Tell EVERYONE! The shame of not pulling through will drive you to make sure you do it.”
Like in every project, organization and project management are key, too. Roman Lutsiv adds, “Be a process geek! Click through the submission form. See what you need to deliver and what is expected. Think about each step. Create a plan. Make sure you know everyone’s interests and assign tasks accordingly. Block time to work on your project and put important deadlines in your calendar.”
Become a profitable Marketplace partner
So, you made it through to completion and your Codegeist entry was successful — what’s next?
What are some important pieces of advice on transitioning from a hackathon project to a profitable Marketplace app? According to Daniel Wester, it is important to go back and revisit your tech decisions. Ensure you did not take any shortcuts just because no customers were involved. Do some fine-tuning and polishing on the documentation as well.
The first weeks will be crucial. It is the time when the customers will either fall in love with your product or move on. Roman advises to be ready to push feedback and reviews and update your product quickly. Vitalii adds, “Don’t be afraid to make your app paid — go get your first customer! Feedback from paying customers is worth much more than from free users.”
Try something new
Remember the tips and best practices shared by our panelists and you will be more than ready for your Codegeist journey!
Don’t forget: Hackathons are a unique opportunity to experiment, learn something new, and work with new people. Don’t be afraid to try something totally different and get out of your normal day-to-day work. Not everyone in a team needs to code — there are many other components to a successful submission. And most importantly: have fun!
Craving more inspiration? Listen to the full recording and hear it straight from the panelists.