Making product decisions & learning along the way

Lumaki Labs, 2020 | Product: Lumaki Board

Role: Co-founder & CEO

What the role actually meant: A mix of product management, UX/UI design, sales, business development, & more (For the context of this piece, we’ll focus on the product and design side of things)

What I did through a product-focused lens:

  • Created user journeys, wireframed, created mock-ups, & created a clickable prototype in Figma

Background

Lumaki Labs is an EdTech startup on a mission to fill the gaps of education through experiences. Started by 3 UWaterloo engineering undergraduates during the peak of the pandemic, Lumaki Labs builds software to help companies engage early talent while levelling the playing field for students through focusing on making the most of remote work.

Problem

In it’s most simple form:

Running effective internships in a remote setting is hard.

Companies face challenges in engaging students while students find it difficult to stay connected and informed.

Looking more broadly:

75% of hiring managers do NOT feel confident that students are job-ready.

Even in normal times, employers acknowledged the gap that exists between academia and the workforce. Experiential learning opportunities like internships and co-ops are key to help solve this however, not all students have access to these opportunities and not all companies have the resources and tools to set up internship programs (especially in a remote setting).

Goal

Help employers support students in a remote setting and ultimately foster experiences that are mutually beneficial for both parties.

Product

The Lumaki Board is a SaaS platform that enables employers to create a dedicated remote internship workspace. Designed with efficiency and scalability in mind, employers can manage and track the progress of multiple interns in multiple different roles in one space to increase connectivity and decrease ambiguity during remote internships.

Design Process

While planning out the design of the product, this is the process I followed.

Setting the stage for our design process was difficult at first however, this process simplified things as it took a very user-centric approach. This process also made it easy to go back and iterate on the product.

Defining the MVP

What started off as a long laundry list of features and assumptions, evolved into a functioning MVP (minimum viable product). Our team went through multiple customer interviews, user tests, and more to inform our product decisions and positioning. During this time I learned a lot about what an MVP actually is and decided to cut our feature list by more than 50% to ensure what we were building was as simple (yet relevant) as possible for the first version. We were able to roll out our MVP much faster which gave us more time to gather feedback from real users to inform future product decisions.

Results

  • 100% of user testers (students and employers) mentioned that the platform was “easy to use” and had a “clean design”

Reflection & Key Learnings

Being able to launch my first product was an invaluable experience that taught me more than what I would have imagined. Being that this was a product for my own company and my first ‘official’ product role, I had to become very good at understanding what I do not know to be able to fill those gaps. Some of the key things I learned:

  • How to find a design process that works for my team and I.

Writing things while doing things | UWaterloo | Social Entrepreneur | Product Person

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