The short time period in which we have chosen to test our idea might be the cause of some nail biting for the team, but it was intentional for a few reasons:
- To fail fast: We want to know if other people think our idea is good as soon as possible. In the tech industry we like to ‘fail fast’ so that as little money and time is spent on bad ideas. However, failing fast doesn’t mean giving up. It means ‘learning fast’, so that if something needs to be changed then we can make that change and move forward.
- To be staffed by interns: A full-time graduate internship form the University of Wolverhampton’s STEP scheme is 12-weeks. A big part of our project is about creating employment opportunities and giving people a chance to get work experience. Our app is being designed, built and promoted by recent graduates. We want to show that in 12 weeks an intern can achieve a lot and contribute to something meaningful. It’s not an easy time for them, but the skills they are gaining are invaluable.
- To remain focused: There are no luxuries in 12 weeks. We cannot spend hours tweaking small details and trying to implement peripheral features. We have to remain focused on the goal, which is to test the core idea with our target audience. If they like it then we can make it better, but for now we just need to make it.
It was also a reality-check to realise that 12 weeks is considered end of life care for many young people with terminal illnesses. Our graduates are having an intense 12 week period to kick off their careers, whilst some young people are having an intense 12 weeks that will end their lives.
To make the best use of our 12 weeks we have divided our time into fortnightly sprints, coming together after each one to reflect, discuss and plan the next 2 weeks. This is helping us to stay focused and manage our time in this short period. It is refreshing and sobering to know that we started in September and by Christmas we will be finished with our prototype phase, hopefully with the answers we need to begin moving forward in the New Year.
By Russell Goffe-Wood, Project Director.