Later this week I'm attending a hackathon for an open source project I use a lot, and I am hoping to lead a small team on a feature that people seem excited about. I have plenty of experience on agile teams, but this will be a fairly broad group of devs. How do I help lead a hastily assembled team toward a shared vision?
Having coached several hackathon teams I can share this learnings:
- Make clear your willing to lead, and be prepared to sell yourself and your idea to the others, people come there with the same level of expectation you have (can I contribute to this? Will I learn something? Will it be a good experience to work with X or Y? ...), they will choose you as a leader for a reason, and it has to be a good one ;)
- Be open to the unexpected, that's the point of a Hackathon. Getting off the beaten track is both expected and welcome. You might find people who have a better idea, or that could be better leaders, and that's fine
- Work on the engagement more than on the process. Whatever agile flavor can be good, but only if it's functional to the team and the goal, and people feel comfortable with. Do not force people to do something in a particular way (they won't follow you anyway if they're not convinced)