Why Code Sprints? And How?

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self intros

General topics:

  • How are people using hackathons
  • How to bring in people (non-coders)
  • sustainability.

What is the win?

Maybe not the code produced. Everyone agrees sprints are good, but it is hard to put finger on specific results.

  • sand drawings / mandelas made by Tibetan monks get destroyed after use
  • pizza oven sprint, masons get together and* build an oven.


  • design of pizza ovens
  • practice of building.

What is sustainability?

* does the code get supported 
* does the code get reviewed / commited. 

What is a hackathon ?

Getting people together for a short amount of time 3 to 24 hours who care about something to work on goals

example: DrupelCon codepsrint after every 'Con, issues are identified people go to room to classes of

Drupal Media Module code sprint was committers only for 5 days.

Commonality, is bringing together people ordinarily not physically together.

Examples: code sprints

Mapping parties.


  • Access to core contributors.
  • getting people in same room to improve
  • easy entry for new people
    • limited commitmen

  • get a lot of work done in short amount of time (debtable: )
  • Energy --requires building on ongoing
  • build community
  • somebody reading your code 10 minutes later
  • face to face contact

Cons (caveats?)

  • civic hackathons by boston city to design apps build apps for selves
    • pub crawl app won.
  • need to have people in room who aren't developers or designers but users
  • focus is hard to come by
    • walking in with a goal is needed but rare
  • need incentives to focus
    • money in contest incentive
  • sustainability is huge
  • be clear on goals: sort ideas ? sort solutions ?
  • proof of concept good.
  • contest
  • goals important
  • What are you going to do with half finished thing.
  • don't think about getting a product.
  • tough to get city staff involved on saturday

future code sprint ideas

  • define problems

Important things for good sprints

  • organize , have things for people to do
    • easier with established projects with issue queues
  • get in designers not coders
    • designers won't sit behind screen for 18 hours
  • think about setup to attract diversity of people


Contests vs adding to code base hackathons where developers more built around publicity than results.

  Here's an event we're great

Getting users & coders together winds up as design sprint 24 sprint for web site development

Layers maodule

Took code in sub optional

Contest hackathons

  • when city has contest doesn't create product because it doesn't fit RFP

=related issues

app contests that offer $1000 for a year's work.

TS people

Still inclined to do a sprint but manage expectations, focus on RFP