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MDPM 900/910

Digital Product

Master of Digital Product Management

Apply Now Practicum Projects (PDF 1.4MB)

Call for Project Partners

The Digital Product Capstone Project is an opportunity for organizations to access top talent to lead through digital transformation efforts. Student teams will work to design, build, and optimize a digital product prototype (or full simple solution) designed to be seamlessly implemented by your organization.

Project Description

This is a ten-month comprehensive industry practicum that will match teams comprised of 6-7 students with a partner organization to design, build, and optimize a digital product prototype. Projects are to be lightweight digital solutions that can be prototyped or developed using low-code/no-code platforms and tools (e.g., Figma, Wordpress). Although most capstone projects are inspired by business problems that operate outside the IT organization, they can (and often do) be designed to integrate with existing IT infrastructure (e.g., website, enterprise system etc.).

Each student team will be supported by a faculty member from Smith School of Business, a faculty member from Queen’s School of Computing, and a dedicated industry advisor. This “learn by doing” practicum will empower students to apply knowledge and application learning outcomes to the discovery, design, build, evaluation, and scale phases of a digital product management lifecycle.

Partner organizations benefit directly from the work that students conduct over the duration of practicum as any deliverables that the student teams produce can be adopted and implemented by the partner organizations. Some projects may be directly deployable whereas others will serve as high-fidelity prototypes that can be used to incubate and accelerate the development of a digital product or service.

Project Criteria

  • Projects must be structured around a clear business problem that requires technology in order to be solved.
  • Project deliverables must be able to be completed within a 10-month time frame.
  • Projects must have a non-urgent business opportunity that is relatively low risk and suitable for technology to solve.
  • Projects must integrate into backend technology and provide students with relevant details about existing infrastructure and security.
  • Preferred projects will be consumer-facing; business-to-business problems will only be considered if companies agree to secure contacts required for usability testing.
  • Projects must provide students access to a small subset of plausible data (real, test) to develop their prototype.
  • Project scope should amount to roughly 180 hours of work.

Process & Timeline

July 15

Submit a project proposal

  • Interested organizations are asked to submit an online project proposal by July 15.

Project matching process

  • Follow-up interviews will be conducted with MDPM academic advisors and a final decision on participating partner organizations will be made by the end of July.
  • A ranked matching process will be used to connect student teams to the partner organization’s project.

Project kickoff event

  • A kickoff event will take place the beginning of October that will include the partner organization, industry advisor, and faculty. This will be a 2-hour virtual meeting for all stakeholders to discuss the project goals and objectives.
Oct - Feb

Phase 1: Discovery & Design

  • During this phase student teams will work to complete a comprehensive business model and user needs analysis, analyze the system and ethical considerations, as well as develop a high concept, low fidelity prototype. Partner organizations will provide the student teams with access to current or potential customers to participate in interviews.
  • Partner organizations will help students identify and recruit potential users to participate in usability testing. Providing funding to support a small honorarium (e.g. $25-50 gift card) for each usability tester is the program norm.
  • A product vision, product plan, 1st prototype, and video walkthrough will be presented to the partner organization at the end of February.
Mar - May

Phase 2: Integration & Development

  • During this phase student teams will turn their attention to internal design and complete an architecture and security plan. They will also update their prototype to address insights captured during usability testing.
  • Partner organizations will help students identify and recruit internal employees who can evaluate and identify barriers associated with the business model change.
  • Partner organizations will provide student teams with feedback on their internal design documents and updated prototype.
Jun - Aug

Phase 3: Optimize & Scale

  • During this phase student teams will develop a product marketing and scaling plan, design an experiment to evaluate the potential impact of the digital product, and improve the fidelity and usability of their prototype design.
  • Partner organizations will help students identify and recruit business partners who can evaluate and provide feedback related to product-market fit.

Final presentation

  • Student teams will present their Digital Product Roadmap, final prototype, and product documentation to partner organizations.

Partner Benefits

  • Access top talent from Smith's MDPM program, the first program of its kind in Canada
  • Leverage student knowledge and expertise to design, build, and optimize a digital protype or simple solution
  • Strengthen relationships with Smith students and faculty
  • Raise your organization's visibility at Smith
  • Access to an expert industry advisor to provide students with guidance and support of consulting services
  • The project is a possible audition for a career opportunity with the partner organization
  • No required financial commitment from corporate partners. However, as described in Phase 1, it is recommended that corporate partners provide funding to support a small honorarium for each usability tester.

Partner Requirements

  • The ideal partners are companies or community organizations that have access to a broader team of resources (marketing, architecture, IT, security) to support the MDPM student team.
  • Be willing to help students identify and recruit potential users, internal employees, and business partners to participate in usability testing, technical and business assessments, and product market analysis.
  • Donation of small honoraria (e.g., $25-50 gift card) for users that participate in product testing.
  • Commit to a maximum of 4 hours/month to support information gathering and meetings. It is important to note that some meetings may be scheduled on Saturdays as students in the program work full-time.
  • Attend all practicum presentations and support program-related events when possible.
  • Provide timely and detailed response to team inquiries and requests.

Past Project Sponsors & Industry Advisors

  • Project Sponsors

    Cineplex Digital Media, Shelterbox, Future Health Services, Sobeys, PandoPartner, Markel Canada

  • Industry Advisors

    Toast, Loblaw, RBC, BMO, BestBuy, Air Canada

Ready to get involved?

Complete and submit the following project proposal. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Nick Gregg, Experiential Learning Advisor.

Briefly describe your organization and activities.

The problem or challenge that this project will seek to address.

Provide a description (3-5 sentences) of the proposed project as it relates to the problem or challenge, including the high-level requirements of the digital technology solution envisioned.

What do you hope this project achieves? List all relevant goals and objectives.

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