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MDPM 900/910

Digital Product
Capstone

Master of Digital Product Management

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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 nine-month 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 technology solutions that can be prototyped or developed using low-code/no-code platforms and tools. Students will use a set of pre-built components to develop mobile and web applications that involve little upfront investment, deliver through a focus on services, and require less customization. Although they are traditionally developed and operate outside the IT organization, they can (and often do) integrate with existing IT infrastructure (e.g., website, enterprise system etc.).

Each student team will be supported by a faculty member from the Smith School of Business, a faculty member from the 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 assess requirements or drive development of the final product.

Project Criteria

  • Projects must be structured around a clear business problem to solve with a digital product.
  • Project deliverables must be able to be completed within a 9-month time frame.
  • Projects must involve data for students to utilize for their solution (or publicly available data).
  • Project scope should amount to roughly 180 hrs of work.
  • Projects must involve ongoing communication and coordination with partner organization.

Process & Timeline

Sept 12

Submit a project proposal

  • Interested organizations are asked to submit an online project proposal by September 12th.
Sept - Oct

Project matching process

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

Project kickoff event

  • A kickoff event will take place the week of November 7th 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.
Nov - Feb

Phase 1: Discovery & Design

  • Teams will schedule a weekly meeting (one meeting per week maximum) with the partner organization and industry advisor. It is important to note that some of these meetings may be scheduled on Saturdays as students in the program work full time. The meeting duration will be 60-120 minutes depending on what activities the team is working on.
  • During this phase student teams will work to complete a comprehensive needs analysis, ethical review, and develop a high concept, low fidelity prototype.
  • A Discovery Report and 1st prototype will be presented to the partner organization by February 12th.
Mar - May

Phase 2: Integration & Development

  • During this phase student teams will develop a mid-fidelity prototype using a no-code development tool and support the development of an architecture integration plan and digital product marketing plan.
  • The Architecture Integration Plan, Marketing Plan, and 2nd Prototype will be presented to the partner organization by May 27, 2022.
Jun - Sept

Phase 3: Evaluation & Optimization

  • During this phase student teams will design and execute a data-driven experiment to evaluate the benefits of the digital product prototype and improve the mid-fidelity prototype.
Sept 3

Final presentation

  • Student teams will present their Final Prototype to partner organizations, along with a Testing and Evaluation Report.

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 financial commitment requirement from corporate partners

Partner Requirements

  • The ideal partners are small and medium-sized companies or community organizations that have IT support either in house or through an outsourced provider. Larger organizations can also submit a proposal if the opportunity sits within a specific business unit that is manageable for students within the program. Not-for-profit firms will be given priority as access to digital skills is especially challenging for this sector.
  • Partner organization need to have either:
    • A non-urgent problem (opportunity) they want to solve (leverage) with technology; or
    • A non-critical business process they would like to digitalize.
  • Partner commitment involves 15-20 hours of meeting time with the program and students, attending presentations (and providing feedback) in February, May and September.

Past projects have included:

  • Creating a virtual reality training module for Canada’s first live digital performance company
  • Creating an online community to offload existing WeChat communication amongst Chinese newcomers in Calgary

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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