Before the hackweek#

Project Leaders Kick-off Meeting#

The purpose for the kickoff meeting is for organizers and project leads to meet and discuss what projects are being created for the hackweek. Typically, each hackweek has about 10 projects that are offered. Most will begin development during the kick-off meeting, but it’s possible that the organizers might identify missing projects in need of development that could have wider-ranging benefits to the research community, such as a database or community library.


  • Identify projects and discuss scope and possible content

  • Identify project lead and co-leads

  • Identify gaps in project portfolio and decide if will solicit additional leads

  • Discuss timeline, milestones, check-ins, and individualized project development support

Project Development & Support#

After the initial meeting, project leads will work on defining their project and creating a GitHub repository from the project template. This includes defining the project tasks and outlining the anticipated skills that participants will apply in the project. This information will be posted to the website for participants to review before the hackweek.

Think about the following as you begin to formulate your project idea:

  • What problem do you want to solve or explore with your project?

  • What would you and your team like to learn from the project work?

  • What tools or datasets might your team use?

  • What mini-tutorials/demos could be useful to some/all team members?

Hackweek event organizers will reach out to each project lead team to schedule a project check-in meeting. Feedback from previous hackweeks indicated that check-ins would help keep project development on track avoiding scrambling to bring all the pieces together right before that hackweek. A check-in offers an additional thought partner with someone who has experience with previous hackweeks to talk through design decisions such as scope, tasks, and skills needed/nice to have. It is best if you first try to document some of your initial project ideas (such as creating a first draft of a project README document) prior to this meeting.

Project Facilitation Training#

Project Facilitation Training will be held a few weeks before the hackweek. Project leads will give a brief overview of how they are organizing their projects and the mini-tutorials team members might need to work on the project. During this time project leads will have an opportunity to learn from each other and identify any overlapping tutorial needs that might be co-organized.

During the second half of the meeting, hackweek organizers will present information on how to effectively facilitate a group project with a diverse team. The goal of this training is to chat about some of the common scenarios that project leads might encounter and to offer suggestions so that leads can feel better equipped and more relaxed to work with what shows up.

Project Development Milestones:#

  1. Project Leaders Kick-off Meeting

  2. Create a project repository from the template before your first check-in meeting

    • Begin filling out basic project information in the README file:

      • Title and Introduction

      • Add your name to the list of Collaborators

      • Describe the Problem

      • Provide an initial description of Data and Methods

      • Outline Project goals and tasks

  3. Project Development & Support: Schedule and hold your first check-in meeting with hackweek organizers

  4. Continue project development with feedback from your check-in meeting(s):

    • Update project information in the README file before next meeting

    • Begin preparing other content required for your project (e.g. write sample code and Jupyter notebooks, organize and clean datasets, provide additional reading and learning resources for background information)

  5. Project Facilitation Training

  6. Continue project development with feedback from the Project Facilitation Training:

    • Update or change project information in the README file

    • Ensure that project materials such as sample code, documentation, and data files are accessible (e.g. sample code and environment file in your project repository on GitHub, data files uploaded to an AWS S3 bucket)

    • Prepare any mini-tutorials needed or that will be co-developed with other leads

    • Share project information with interested participants to recruit team members

  7. Hackweek: Form your project team and get to work!