About Us

We are the University of Manchester’s student software company. We create beautiful and useful software for paying clients, using the skills and experience we’ve gained during our time at University.

Our Business Model

We run several types of project, to fit around the needs of our clients and the demands of the academic year.

Software Development Projects

We can build, trial and deploy MVPs and 1st release versions of software systems, either as a full-time or a part-time project. We can help with early stage market-testing, as well as writing articles and creating demo videos or talks about the tool, as needed.

  • Full-time projects running between June and September, typically lasting 10-13 weeks. We recommend a team of 4 students for full-time projects, but can adapt to smaller or larger teams to suit your needs and budget. Contact us by March in each year to discuss availability.
  • Part-time projects running October-December and February-May. Students work for 1 day a week, alongside their studies, with optional periods of full-time working during vacation periods. We recommend a team of 4 students for part-time projects, giving approximately 1 week’s worth of person-hours per calendar week. Contact us by July (for autumn projects) or November (for spring projects) to discuss availability.

New for 2023: we are trialling an additional maintenance package for our development projects, providing on-demand resource to keep your deployed system up and running for 1-3 years after the end of the project.

Researchers: Our full-time summer projects are ideal for costing into research projects – we can turn your research ideas into an app or web application that can generate data and impact. Contact us to discuss your requirements and get costing details for your proposal.

Code Improvement and Hardening

We also have experience with taking existing code bases and making improvements to fit your requirements. Typical projects include increasing test coverage, migrating to more flexible architectures, adding software analytics and dockerising for more reliable deployment.

Researchers: we can help prepare your research code base for open-sourcing, including documentation, testing and updating to more recent library/framework versions.

Early Stage Market Testing and Technical Feasibility Testing

We can run week-long Design Sprints at various points across the year. Again, we recommend a team of 4 students (of whom at least 2 will usually have experience in running design sprints for other clients), who work during the sprint week, plus 3 days of preparation/training time beforehand and 3 days of follow-up/handover time afterwards.

For testing technical feasibility, we run 3 week technical spike projects. The student team can explore different technical approaches to your problem, and will report back with proof-of-concept approaches and prototypes.

Our Software Development Approach

We use industry standard agile approaches to developing high quality software tailored to your requirements. We use value-based planning techniques, and aim to deliver features early and frequently to maximise feedback from clients and users, and to give us chance to adjust our focus to deliver the best results.

We take quality assurance seriously, using automated build, test and deployment pipelines to ensure good test coverage and industry standard tools for assessing fit to non-functional requirements, such as accessibility targets. All our teams practice buddy reviews as standard, with more formal code review as needed.

Our expert academic team will run paper prototyping and story mapping sessions to kick off the project, and help you understand what you need from the software. We also coach the team throughout the project, helping them to create an agile process that works for you and your project.

Why “Imago”?

The imago stage is the final juvenile stage of an insect’s development, and in many species is the first winged stage. The word ‘imago’ shares a Latin root with ‘imagination’.

Our student employees are Manchester’s imago worker bees: already able to fly, and just about to burst out into the world.

Our Story

Imago was formed in 2019, as a pilot project funded by the Office for Students and The University of Manchester, as part of an initiative by the Institute of Coding to grow the number of student enterprises like ours throughout UK universities.

More information about the initiative can be found at the Student Enterprise Hub.