Guide: Creating Your Timeline

Schedule and Stages - Tips & Best Practices

When does your challenge open? When are submissions due? When will the winner(s) be announced? These are all key milestones that determine how long your crowdsourcing project should run. If you have a special event that you will want to announce the winner(s) at, use that date and work backwards from there. If there aren’t any events you want to tie to your project to, it allows for a bit more flexibility. Below are recommended time frames for each of the following stages:




Enter to Submission Deadline

Low complexity: 30 to 45 days


High complexity: 60 days to a year


Take into consideration what you’re asking innovators to submit when determining this timeframe. More complexity = more time. Also, it’s always best to extend your deadline rather than have the project run for too long and run the risk of innovators losing interest.


3 weeks to 1 month

This is to give you enough time to narrow down the total number of submissions received to the high quality ones you want to pass on to your judging panel. Your judges are probably busy people as well so give them ample time to effectively evaluate their assigned entries.

Voting (optional)

2 to 4 weeks

Give the voting finalists and yourself enough time to promote this stage. It also gives the voters themselves time to cast their vote when it’s convenient for them.

Winner Announcement

2 to 3 weeks 

after judging or voting

This adds in a buffer in case your judges need more time, and if you wish to complete any due diligence (i.e. background checks) on your winner(s)

HeroX also recommends the following best practices for your Timeline:

  • 9am PST as your ‘Enter’ time.
  • 5pm PST as your ‘Submission Deadline’ time.
  • Don’t launch on a Monday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
  • Don’t have your submission deadline happen on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
  • Don’t launch or have your submission deadline happen on any major holidays.

Lastly, there are optional stages you can weave into your schedule as well. Some of those options include:

  • A registration deadline: only allow innovators to sign up for a set amount of time.
  • Qualifying round: this would require innovators to submit an entry on a designated date prior to the final submission deadline to prove they are qualified to move on (mainly for proof of concept projects and when there is a deliverable related to the end goal). It also allows the sponsor to give feedback to innovators and keep them engaged.
  • Leaderboard update: this is usually utilized during Proof of Concept projects. If yours requires competitors to submit multiple entries throughout the competition, you can provide updates on your HeroX page to let everyone following it know who is in the lead. This is not always an applicable stage, but it can be a great way to drive competition and keep those not participating in it engaged.