Day 17: Product Hackathon

South Africa Summer 2017 Blog

Written by: Jayanthi Jayakumar

July 16, 2017

Hi Team,


Great job on the Hackathon yesterday!! Every single person was working at a 100% the whole day and it showed in the amazing results you were able to produce. We are very proud of you and are excited to see the changes you make to your apps/websites by Demo Day. 


Here is the link the slides from the Hackathon:


There are a couple of main takeways from the day:

  • Spend the time to develop milestones for your team. Milestone help the team stay focused and aligned
    • Develop subtasks for each milestone. This helps translate goals and ideas into concrete tasks required for execution.
    • Assign each subtask to one or more team members. Delegating tasks not only allows team members to take ownership of particular areas of the project but also allows everyone to focus
    • Assign the expected number of hours for each subtask. This is particularly difficulty, but will be an incredibly step in the longrun. As a start-up, assigning each subtask to a time duration helps keep all of the team members motivated and achieve goals faster. It also helps elucidate the subtasks that are taking longer than expected and brings to forefront the underlying challenges associated with those tasks that were previously unrecognized. Lastly, as you grow from a start-up to an established company, being able to do the steps outlined here will help you identify the number of people your company needs to hire and how to delegate tasks to them.


  • Product development helps translate words (i.e., your ideas and feedback from primary and secondary market research) into a tangible outputs. But it is NOT a one steps process. TEST. TEST. TEST. Test your app/website with each other and your future customers. The more you test and iterate over your product, the better it will be by Demo Day / your launch.
    • Although the tendcy to be a perfectionist is understandable, do not postpone the testing process. If helpful, breakdown your product by components and test the components. Components can be functional (e.g., test the payment page, test the landing page, test the way advertisements will be shown, tests the way the map function works). But you also test just the design (e.g., color theme, logo, font type and sizes), content, the logic of the flow from one page to another.


  • Don't forget business / tech operations. Product development should not happen in isolation of thinking through the operations. Ultimately, each of you are aiming to build an app/website that will reach hundreds, thousands, millions, or even billions of people one day. Operations is the process through which a company will be able to do it. A focus on operations can differentiate a company in a competitive market place (e.g., Amazon) or break a company (e.g., UPS/FedEx during the holiday season).


Good luck with continued product development over the coming days. As always let us know if you have any questions!



Nupur, Chinasa, Erin, Jayanthi