Snow Centre for Education at Canberra Grammar School, where GovHack 2017 is in full swing. I am on duty n the "Coach Pit", at the top of the building, which is a little like being on the bridge of a ship. I am looking down on the old red brick buildings of the school, and a winter landscape of bare trees in the fog. Business is not brisk at present with only a few teams dropping in for advice.
Coaching a GovHack team is a skill none of the coaches is entirely comfortable with and so we had a discussion of the "Coaching Kata".
But we are here for GovHack, so some tips for teams:
- Build a Team: You need people with a range of skills for your team: it is not just about technical computer skills (it is mostly not about technical computer skills).
- What is the Problem? You need to be able to clearly and briefly explain what problem you are solving. Practice by explaining it in a few words to people in the coffee queue (the coffee at GovHack is very good).
- What is the solution? With the problem identified, the solution is still not easy to explain. One way is by comparison to an existing product or service: "It is *** for ***.
- Who is this for? Consider who will ultimately use the application and who might be interested in providing the service.
- Has it been done? A quick web search will help see if what you propose has been done before. If it has, that is not the end of the world, as you can do it differently, or better, or both.
- Get Help: There are Mentors with deep knowledge of the data provided and Coaches with knowledge of tools and techniques. Drop into the Pits or post a query via the forum, or both.
- Do we have a plan? It helps to know what you are planning to do when, even if it almost never turns out that way. The GovHack has deliverables at fixed times and you need to work towards these.
- Do we have a clear presentation? GovHack is as much about explaining your solution s getting it to work. Keep it clear and simple.
- Get it in on time: It doesn't matter how good your solution is, if it is not submitted on time, it does not count.
- Learn and enjoy: GovHack is not a job: you can't tell your team to do something, you can only encourage them. Remember to take breaks and have a walk around outside. This will also make you more productive and ideas will pop into your head when wandering around.