Hack24 is this weekend and even though you can't start coding until midday on Saturday there are some simple things you can do and bear in mind now to maximise your team's chances of winning some of those awesome prizes...

Plan ahead

You can't start coding yet but you can start figuring out what you're going to do. Get together with your teammates, check out information for hackers, review the challenges. Be sure to sign up to the Tech Nottingham Slack group and join the #hack24-2016 channel. @Hackbot will help you put your team together, and if you’re still looking for teammates, there’s the #hack24-pick-teams channel!

Simple & working beats clever & "oh we didn't manage to finish this bit" and done is better than perfect

Make something really simple really quickly and then build on it, that way if that clever feature you thought of takes you down a 12 hour rabbit hole, you still have a minimum viable product to show to the judges. The best hacks aren't polished - you might not be able to logout without clearing cookies, they might pretend to have a database but instead have a big wobbly pile of JSON hidden under the hood, maybe it only works if your name is :Watermelon: - what matters is that it's a smart idea and that smart idea is done well, don't worry about the stuff around the edge.

Pick the challenge that inspires you

Coding for 24 hours is tough, but the great thing about having a good idea is that it energises and inspires you - powering you through the 24 hours. All of the sponsors putting forward a challenge are on Slack and they have their own channels - chat to them and ask questions about the challenges - they’ll be very happy to help!

Get everybody on the same page

The hardest part about coding as a team is making sure you’re all on the same page - who’s doing what bit and when? How will the different bits talk to each other? A short planning discussion every hour or two and a very simple Kanban works wonders for co-ordinating your coding - we’ll provide big A2 sheets of paper and copious amounts of post-its sticky notes for you all - remember to bring a pen or two. Trello is great too - we’ve used that for organising the whole of Hack24!

Take regular breaks

If you don’t don’t get away from the code regularly, by 8pm on the Saturday your brain will melt and dribble out of your ear and you’ll be good for nothing. Head to the Union Square Relaxation Lounge to get away from the code and relax. Play a board game, build a Lego model, give your brain a break. The best ideas come when you’re thinking about something else.

Spread your bets

You can enter as many hacks as you want, and one hack can be entered into as many challenges as it meets the criteria for so be creative and maximise your chances! And remember there’s a special prize this year for best Hack video submission :)

Have fun!

Probably the most important advice! Hack24 is primarily about having fun and building cool stuff with your friends - if it stops being fun you’re doing it wrong. At about 21:30 on the Saturday we’ll be running a programme of entertainment with prizes to be won - we can’t tell you what we’re doing yet but rest assured it’s going to be awesome :)

Good luck everyone and see you Saturday - it’s going to be awesome!