After creating a tournament, you might find yourself wondering how running one actually works. This article has advice on what to do during the lead-up and on the day of your tournament to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Check out the video below for a quick run-through of how this can work for you. Keep scrolling to view the rest of the article for more in-depth tips, links, and examples.
To prepare for your tournament here’s a quick rundown of what we’ll cover
- Determine tournament format
- Create an agenda
- Communication and promotion plan
- Organize prizes for winners
- Create a feedback survey for participants
Hot Tip: Check our ready-to-download themes HERE. Each theme includes Posters, Certificates, Intro comms template, checklist, and more stuff.
Look at your development groups (where they’re located, how many there are, etc.) and determine if your tournament can be held in a single location, or if it will need to include participants remotely.
For single location or on-site tournaments
- Organize the room and ensure, accessibility, strong Wi-Fi and power access
- Consider a large screen or projector for viewing the tournament leaderboard
- Organize refreshments during and after the tournament
Follow the above recommendations for remote tournaments, but also
- Plan for the tournament to run over 3 - 5 days so all locations can participate
- Ensure all facilities have the same or similar accessibility and connectivity
- Have dedicated tournament admins at each site to keep things organized
Create an agenda to plan what tournament day will look like. You can adjust it as you go along.
- Consider overall tournament length (across locations if required)
- Include time for set-up, login, troubleshooting, and demonstrations
- Book time with a CISO, CTO, or Security team lead to send an introduction email and give a small speech on Tournament Day
Ideal Days to Host
Tuesdays - Thursdays (Avoid days around weekends)
Ideal Times of Day
10:00 am -12:00 pm (Provide Lunch & Drinks)
3:00pm - 5:00 pm (With Refreshments & Drinks)
Create a communication and promotion plan for the lead-up to your tournament. This is often overlooked, but rather than trying to remember to send email reminders and, planning or drafting them beforehand will make it a lot easier to stay on track.
Organize prizes or incentives for tournament winners. This is budget-dependent, but consider practical items or experiences.
For more prize ideas, check out this article.
Create a feedback survey you can send to participants once the tournament is over. This will give you some good insight and help make future tournaments even better.
As an example, check out the one we use.
A good communication and promotion plan can help get tournaments off to a strong start, especially if it’s your first one. Ideally, 2 - 3 weeks ahead of the actual date is a good time to start sending out information.
- Send tournament introduction emails and reminder emails
- Include promotional info posters with emails
- Consider printing posters and putting them up in common areas
- Use your internal channels or social networks to promote tournaments
- Send calendar invites for the tournament date
In your communications, remember to include
- Overview and purpose of the tournament
- Date and time (for all locations if there are multiple)
- Location or remote participation information
- Tournament Join Code (if applicable)
- Sneak-peek at prizes
Encourage developers to play the Training module in the Secure Code Warrior® platform to increase their chances of winning the tournament.
If you're feeling really stuck, we’ve got some ready-made promotional materials to help get things started.
Check out the Tournament in a Box article.
When Tournament Day is upon you, there are still a few last things to do. Mainly sticking to your agenda. Here’s an example of a typical agenda.
Demo of a challenge
Developer Onboarding (if not done earlier)
2 - 3 hours
Winners & Prizes
15 - 20 min
Keep your agenda handy on the day so you know what’s coming up and how you can help keep things moving on schedule. Staying organized will make it easier and more enjoyable for developers as well.
Finally, some last tips to consider while you’re planning.
Duration and Languages
- 2 to 3 hours is recommended for tournaments
- Keep in mind languages and frameworks can affect the overall time
- Ideally, tournaments should be completed in one session
- Can cover a longer period (1 or 2 weeks) to allow more flexibility for larger global teams
- Getting participants into the same room is better for engagement
- Participants can also join the same tournament remotely
- Recommended minimum number of participants is 15 just for good competition
- No maximum participant number
- Offer prizes for winners
- Promote with posters and emails
- Announce winners within teams or the organization
- Publish results on the intranet, newsletters, social media, etc. to point out strong developers
Feedback and Results
- Use tournament results as input for future training and to help identify “Security Champions”
- Carry out a survey at the end of the tournament to get feedback from participants
Tournament Engagement Cheat Sheet
Security Champion Program Overview
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