How We Work

Each semester, we partner with four or five organizations to fulfill their technical challenges. As a partner, you will have a dedicated development team working towards delivering a finished product. Your primary points of contact will be a product research member, product manager, and technical lead. Our solutions are carefully planned beginning with our product research phase wherein we identify project fit. Moving forward, a product manager further refines the scope while a technical lead works out implementation details. During development, you will be kept in the loop to provide feedback culminating in a project handoff.

How We Work

Project Timeline

Product Research (3-4 Months)

Product Research aims to deepen our impact in the communities that our work serves by pushing the boundaries of our products’ quality and fostering a community for intentional product thinking and exploration. Our team sources and scopes compelling and impactful projects for the following semester in a timely manner, while also gaining insight into the product experience without needing to be a full-time PM.

Development

Development starts in the first few weeks of the semester, with developers/designers either creating a new product from scratch or working off an existing codebase in order to add features or further refine it to meet our nonprofit partners' goals and feedback.

MVP & Feedback

Teams present their mid-semester Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) internally to the rest of the chapter, where they are able to receive feedback from their peers on the problem the team is tackling as well as the way in which they aim to solve it.

Product Showcase

Development continues after MVP with more challenging or lower-priority features, as well as iterating on feedback from MVP itself. At the end of the semester, teams present at Product Showcase, where their finished deliverables are shown to the rest of the organization as well as to a public audience.

Hand-Off

Soon after Product Showcase, teams will hand off their work to their nonprofit partner. For some projects, work will resume in a future semester, in which case this initial handoff may focus on generating feedback from our partners as well as potentially serving as an initial pilot.

Our Project Teams

Software Developers

Software developers constitute the majority of a Hack4Impact team and code together to make the product come to life. We commonly utilize the MERN stack (MongoDB, Express, React, Node), though we have also created some mobile and data science applications in past projects. Software developers don't only program though; they also participate in many user experience and product decisions.

3-5 per team

Product Designers

Designers collaborate in cross functional teams to design the product from ideation to creating wireframes, mock ups, and user interface designs with a core emphasis on user experience for the final product. They are responsible from the holistic design of the product down to the granular details of the UI, and work closely with Product Managers and Software Developers to bridge ideation and execution.

1 per team

Tech Lead

Tech Leads take technical ownership of the product, and are responsible for architecting the software each team develops to meet their nonprofit's needs as well as setting technical standards, delegating work, setting guidelines, and mentoring developers in the tech stack used by their project. Tech Leads work most closely with Software Developers, and along with Product Managers are responsible for leading our project teams.

1 per team

Product Manager

Product Managers act as the bridge between our project teams and our nonprofit partners, helping distill the needs of our partners into actionable solutions that the other members can execute on. Product Managers oftentimes find themselves handling a variety of responsibilities, as it is ultimately their role as a co-lead to ensure that an impactful product is delivered in a timely manner.

1 per team

Frequently Asked Questions