Newbie’s Insight in the World of Product Development
4 minute read
Product development feels like learning to ride a unicycle while juggling flaming torches – it’s a process where you’re constantly learning and making mistakes. But imagine trying to do that with zero experience in business analysis or product development! It’s like trying to fly a spaceship without knowing how to turn on the engines.
And if you are asking yourselves who was flying – the answer is ME. 😊 A young student in the dynamic business world. But hey, everyone’s got to start somewhere, right? My start was in CROZ at Summer Accelerator 2022.
Summer Accelerator Program
Every year, CROZ has a summer internship program for students. Interns work on different projects and past few years they were working on various projects for NGOs (Nonprofitable Organizations). In 2022, CROZ got 50 applications from NGOs and all applicants had similar needs. Since CROZ didn’t want to choose only a handful of ideas and reject most of them, they decided to do exactly the opposite – build one product which could be used by most of the applied NGOs who had similar needs. The product was named Altruist and one of the student teams became responsible for bringing it to life in its full form.
Altruist – Supporting NGO's Daily Work
When I came on my first day of the internship, we had to choose our project. There were diverse types of projects, but when I saw Altruist, I knew where my heart lies.
Altruist was the biggest team in the internship. Consisted of 12 students, 2 product owners and 1 product manager but on top of that, there were a dozen mentors who helped in different stages of product development. It was dynamic and challenging, but also fun to work with a lot of different people. Right now, you are probably thinking: “Why would a newbie decide to start in such an environment?”
Well, my thoughts were that Altruist was a great opportunity for me personally, because as an intern, I got a chance to get to know diverse types of roles in a team, work in a dynamic environment, know the process and get to know different types of users. I was one of the three BAs, covering research, and end-users’ needs analysis.
As a team, we have had the freedom to co-create the vision of the product and be creative about the features and all to be built on the latest modern technology. This freedom has helped me to use all my skills and knowledge to the best of my ability, but also to improve and expand upon them.
We didn’t have strict user requirements which gave us the opportunity to think outside of the box and make the sky our limit.
Of course, as you can imagine, there were multiple iterations in designing features, but for me personally, this was very crucial. I learned how to be more analytical and think about every little detail one feature can have, but also how my best “partners in crime” are developers. I have always asked them about their opinion, even though the features were in the analysis phase, mainly because they had a different perspective which helped me cover more details and options.
Furthermore, I had a chance to take part in usability testing and it was one of the most interesting things I did. Why did I like it so much? – I loved the ability to see face to face, (or zoom to zoom :), our users. We usually had usability testing after we made a prototype for some feature. To be sure we are on the right track, we had the practice to test our feature idea with users. Their feedback was useful not only to know if we have the green light to start the implementation phase but also to see their way of thinking and get to know more about their needs and wishes about the application. Also, I really love to talk so every chance to communicate will be one of my favorite things. 😊
On the other hand, it wasn’t all smooth sailing, especially at the beginning. As I sad before, I felt like flying a spaceship without knowing how to turn on the engines, but it challenged me to be persistent and continuously learn. The hardest part was catching the pace of work and starting to manage my time and obligations, but even though it may seem hard at first, it’s possible. Altruist had dynamic atmosphere and a lot of going on, but it taught me how it is important to find a way to adapt and after that, everything was easier. 😊
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to start with product development because of its freedom and creativity, I got confidence in my work. It taught me that what matters the most is the user. Even though product development has a few challenges, being able to see your users satisfied and happy with the product is more than worth it. There is something special about the feeling you get from their smiles and words of praise, especially because the team owned the product from day one.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so let’s cut to the chase and see the final masterpiece! Get ready to be blown away (or at least mildly impressed) and go to Altruist see the final goal of our product development process.
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