Pega Hackathon: Crush Complexity in 2021

Stephanie Louis,

Last year, we hosted our very first Pega Community Hackathon which attracted more than 750 registrants and saw 75 final projects focused on helping organizations navigate the COVID-19 crisis with better customer and employee experiences. Thanks to your creativity and enthusiasm, our 2020 Hackathon was a huge success.

Let’s do it again!

What’s different this year?

Opening on March 1, 2021 the theme of our next Hackathon is “Crushing Complexity: Bringing Business and IT Together.” This Hackathon is your chance to help design and deploy critical applications, quickly and collaboratively, for powerful business outcomes.  For those of you who participated last year, the format of this event will look familiar. But we have also made several changes that we’re pretty excited about:

  1. More prizes – In addition to the five prizes that we offered last year, we’ve added several additional award categories like a Novice Award for individuals and teams that are new to Pega, a Pega Express Award for individuals and teams making the best use of the Pega Express Methodology, and a Top Student Award especially for high school, college, and university students.
  2. More education – In conjunction with Pega Express Month, every week of the Hackathon is aligned with a phase of the Pega Express Delivery Approach. What this means is that each week, Hackathon participants will have access to Tech Talks, blog posts, “Ask the Expert” sessions con Collaboration Center, and Office Hours to assist them at every stage of the application development process.
  3. More judges – this year, we’re excited that Angelo Mermiklis, winner of our 2020 Hackathon, will join a panel of Pega esteemed judges consisting of Stephen Bixby (VP, Product Development), Eric Musser (GM, Intelligent Automation), Bandita Joarder (Sr. Director, Pega Delivery), Carola Cazenave (Global Partner Ecosystem), and myself.  Sure, it may sounds like a lot of judges, but more judges means so much more diverse feedback. The reason for participating in a Hackathon is not just in order to win, but also to learn. The feedback you will receive from our panel of judges will help you to improve the app you submit and help you to become more effective in your Pega projects more generally.

The changes we have made this year are designed to decrease barriers to participation while increasing our investment in education. Whether you are a client or a partner, a student or a seasoned professional, there’s something here for everyone. No matter how experienced you are with Pega today, you’ll increase your skill as a result of your Hackathon participation.

You’ll also have a ton of fun!

Why participate?

Despite prizes, education, fun, and the chance to deepen your relationships within the Pega community, Hackathon participation may still be difficult to justify. You have a day job, after all, right? There are only so many hours in the day, right?

While you could absolutely use this year’s Hackathon to solve a problem that has nothing to do with your work life (like Angelo Mermiklis’s winning entry last year), there are several ways that you might consider using the Hackathon to increase your effectiveness at the organizations you serve.

  1. Accelerating a project you already have planned – Do you already have an app development project planned in the next year? Why not use the Hackathon as a way to accelerate your progress? Not only would you and your team benefit from being time constrained (you have 6 weeks), but you’ll also have unique access education, support, and community feedback.
  2. Prototyping a new solution – Following the Pega Express Delivery Approach, Hackathon participants will be led through the entire process of creating a Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) from discovery through to adoption. Used in the right way, Hackathon participation could help teams to develop a prototype solution in response to a clearly defined business need. With an MLP and adoption plan in hand, the 2021 Pega Community Hackathon doesn’t have to be a fun and educational diversion. Instead, the Hackathon could be used by teams to drive real business value.
  3. Team Building – The 2021 Pega Community Hackathon is all about bringing Business and IT together. If you are looking to establish high impact habits, the Hackathon could be used as a way of creating highly effective and collaboration delivery teams. If most of your Pega projects have been delivered by Pega consultants or partners and you have been talking about how to bring more of your delivery capacity in house, use the Pega Community Hackathon to become practiced at co-production.

Registration for the 2021 Pega Community Hackathon opens on March 1, 2021. That’s just two weeks away!

Now’s the time to start thinking about potential projects. Do you have an idea for an application that could make a big difference in the service of public good? A project that you think could make a big difference at your home organization? Something already planned that the hackathon could accelerate? An organizational challenge in search of a solution?

And now’s the time to think about your team. Individual contributors are welcome. And so are teams including Business Architects, System Architects, and any number of other Pega project roles. Let’s build apps to bring business and IT together by bringing business and IT together!

Check out the Pega Community Hackathon web page for complete details of our upcoming event. Start brushing up on the Pega Express Delivery Approach, marking your calendars for the large number of supporting activities we have in store. If you are new to Pega, it’s easy to get started thanks to the Introduction to Pega Platform mission on Pega Academy.

Got questions? We want to hear from you! Join us on Pega Collaboration Center.

About the Author

As the Senior Director of Community & Developer Programs, my #1 job, and most importantly my passion, is to help individuals change their lives and careers through the Pega technology. I truly believe that enabling, engaging, and growing our ecosystem of users, developers, and business experts is THE priority.... and I am committed to drive that purpose every minute of every day.

I joined Pega 11 years ago in the product organization. In my tenure as Director of Mobile Technology, I launched and matured Pega’s mobile capabilities, including acquiring Antenna Software and integrating the technology into a cohesive single offering. I have over 15 years of experience in the software industry, in both startup and large enterprises. My previous responsibilities included developing enterprise software, managing full scrum teams, project & release management, rolling out agile to a 500+ person organization, and mobility consulting. I’m from Minnesota, where I received a B.A. in math & computer science and an MBA. (But I no longer live in MN because it's WAY TOO COLD)