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Silverstripers support Sustainable Coastlines: Building the "Love your water" website at impactNPO

In September, impactNPO held it's first Charity Hackfest in Auckland.

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In September, impactNPO held it's first Charity Hackfest in Auckland. One of the charities at the hackfest, Sustainable Coastlines, needed help with their SilverStripe site. We heard their cries over social media and weren't able to immediately respond, but it got us thinking about how we might assist in the future. We contacted the organisers and offered to send a scrum team to the next hackfest.

Fast forward two months to the end of November. Ben Manu, Luke Edwards, Paul Meyrick and I flew to Auckland for the weekend. We were joined by Ed Linklater and between us created SilverStripe's newest team — “5ive”. Literal but catchy.

Friday night

The hackfest kicked off on Friday night at GridAKL. The charities (Sustainable Coastlines, Rotaract, Pinc and Steel and Take My Hands) pitched their projects to a room of 40 volunteers. Volunteers then self-organised into teams to support the charity of their choice. It was a tough call. The charities present were doing amazing work and we wanted to help them all. However, we stuck with our original intention to help Cam from Sustainable Coastlines build the “Love Your Water” site.

Friday night was kind of challenging. 14 people in total volunteered to work on Love Your Water and we had to figure out how to turn a bunch of strangers into an efficient and effective team capable of designing and building a website within 21 working hours.

The team makeup looked something like this:

  • Product Owner
  • 2x ScrumMasters
  • Designer
  • 7x Developers
  • Tester
  • 2x BAs

We divided into three "squads". Then 5ive called it quits for the night and hit an Irish pub for more "planning".


impactnpo venue2

Saturday was a little noisy and chaotic. Dev environments had to be set up and the project had to be planned. We quickly established a Definition of Ready and a Definition of Done and we helped Cam create a product backlog. We drew kanban boards on the glass walls of GridAKL and started our “sprints” which were time-boxed to two hours. Ben, Ed and Luke led each squad pairing with developers who hadn't worked with SilverStripe before while Paul and I scrum mastered. By 11am each squad was developing features.


Sunday was focussed and caffeine-fueled as the three squads worked solidly to a 5pm deadline. By the end of the hackfest, we were able to design and develop a website for Love Your Water — the first feature being a place where people who are passionate about keeping our waterways clean can log into the site and create or find tree planting events.

Our team of volunteers:

  • Took the existing design for Love Your Water and translated that into a responsive web design using Bootstrap.
  • Set up the SilverStripe CMS for content management.
  • Developed the homepage with a carousel, call to action and upcoming events features using the SilverStripe Grid Field Extensions Module.
  • Used Anselm Christophersen and Colin Burns' new SilverStripe calendar module to manage events.
  • Added the Registration and Create Events forms so Love Your Water site visitors can log in and create their own events.
  • Added Google Analytics.
  • Created a Story Map and Product Backlog for future development of the Love Your Water site.

LYW Desktop Home 1

Last words

Working with SilverStripe was an entirely rewarding experience from start to finish. The team was highly coordinated, super well managed and dedicated to achieving results. Their developers showed true passion and worked with incredible efficiency. And their front-end gurus worked their magic to pull it all together in record time. We are extremely grateful for the generous support SilverStripe has provided, it truly is invaluable. ~ Camden Howitt, General Manager and Communications Director, Sustainable Coastlines

The organisations we met through impactNPOs Charity Hackfest are tackling big problems on tight budgets so it's a privilege for SilverStripe to take part in the event.

SilverStripers also got a lot of personal satisfaction out of it —  team building, professional development, good times and a chance to share our love of SilverStripe with others. Big shout out to our fellow Love Your Water project team mates. We really enjoyed working with such clever and committed volunteers. Thank you ImpactNPO for your warm hospitality. You did a great job of geek wrangling during the hackfest.


About the author
Clarion Coughlan

Clarion is responsible for the career development of SilverStripe's talented team of developers - overseeing things like recruitment, performance management and professional development. She also coordinates the company's internship and mentoring programmes, and describes her role as "supporting and growing the developers at SilverStripe".

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