We are building a centralized platform to digitalize processes and registrations for clubs and organizations in our university.
Google DSC — Loyola
Product Management, Product Strategy, UX Research, Wireframing, Prototyping, UX Writing, Usability Testing
I'm currently the product owner of the platform, working together with the product managers for strategy and roadmapping.
On the first year of Pavilion, more than 70% of the Ateneo undergraduate population joined at least one club or organization.
With over 90 organizations ranging from tech, theatre, sciences, maths, to student publications, the university is widely known in the country for its org culture and active involvement in extracurricular activities.
One of the biggest events we hold as a student body is the Ateneo Recruitment Week — a program that exposes students, both current and new, to the 90+ organizations and clubs they can join in the university. Before the pandemic, the RecWeek was known as one of the loudest and fun events, with student leaders and members from all organizations going around an area in campus to promote their initatives and recruit members.
When the pandemic came, organizations became limited to the online setting, making it difficult to replicate the full org experience in the Ateneo.
As a quick solution to this problem, we created a centralized org information hub for the student body. For Pavilion’s first iteration, I led the team as a product manager, conducting research, working with our designers, and managing our sprints to develop and ship the mobile app. Our main goal was to help students, especially freshmen, learn more about the different organizations the university has without having to go to their pages one by one.
After designing and testing the product, we were able to deploy it to the App Store and Play Store, releasing it to our student population right in time for RecWeek 2020.
While we did succeed in fulfilling our initial goal of increasing conversions for org signups, we failed to create a scalable product that helped orgs even after RecWeek. The app immediately died after the event, getting a retention rate of less than 4% after one month.
This mistake led to us creating a one-time success: a product that had no clear direction, and only set out to solve one minor problem in a large landscape of problems in club management that could have been tackled.
Our team and organization decided to move on to other projects after RecWeek, focusing on other services and events to help communities within and outside the university. Pavilion was stashed away into a vault, and we had little intent to bring it back the next year, considering another fact that only 2 out of our team of 6 would remain (the rest of the team were either graduating, or retiring from club involvement).
As org leaders ourselves, our (new) team had a clearer idea of what needed fixing. Throughout the year, we had a difficult time handling registrations, generating certificates, emailing participants, and reminding them about events. As students as well, it was harder to find events we wanted to join and to keep track of events we were interested in.
This led us to a few assumptions — ones that needed more research. As the solo researcher and designer in our team, I set out to talk to a few org leaders to learn more about the problems they’ve encountered from an operational standpoint throughout the past online year. From these talks, we started finding more common patterns:
We understood that the product we’re setting out to do is end-to-end, so I also talked to a few students who were not involved in org leadership positions. I focused on asking them about their experience with orgs and clubs online, and a few common patterns were uncovered too:
After understanding the problems more and coming up with solutions, we summarized the initial services Pavilion could offer for organizations and clubs into three main points:
To accommodate the opposite end of Pavilion, we also summarized the initial services it could offer for the general student population into three main points:
Not everything can be released at once — we’ve emphasized this multiple times to our product team of 14. To visualize and guide us through this, the PMs and I are worked together with our designers to identify priority through the value-effort framework. This helped us map out our releases with a balance of user need and implementation complexity.
Now, we have a team of designers constantly communicating with different users from the student population, consistently doing research and understanding their needs as they design the next parts of the product. Personal note, I am truly amazed by the work they’ve done so far and the ownership they’ve taken with the direction of our research and design.
We also have a team of developers building the product with integrations to speed up the process. We’ve successfully split the team into front-end developers, back-end developers, and data scientists to work and own different parts of the product. Our PMs and data scientists are also working together to integrate Mixpanel analytics into our workflow to ensure we get a good feedback and behavior loop from our users.
Our overall vision for Pavilion is for it to become a SaaS ecosystem for organization and community management for universities around the Philippines. We could eventually tackle a more granular member management system, operational processes with university admin involvement (e.g. forms submitted to club moderators), payment processing through integrations, and many more.
Our product managers have been focused on implementing scrum with our design, engineering, and data science teams, while working with me as a product owner to strategize and prepare sprints and roadmaps.
It’s been a year and a half since I started working on Pavilion. In that time, I’ve learned a lot as a designer, researcher, and product manager.
This case study was last updated on December 29, 2021. More results and insights will be added as the product releases into the market.
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