Bunsan Academy area has the challenge to encourage the constant learning and training for employees, customers and tech-allies. Nevertheless, full-time online working requires a special technology mediation.
After evaluating the market tools without finding a single one that covered all our necessities, we identified the opportunity to build our own virtual classroom product.
Our Product Discovery and Product Strategy services allowed us to validate the detected need, recognize its position in the educational market, and with this drew up the building route for a minimum consistent viable product: Tich.
- On direct feedback; the instructors and the students found an easy tool to use that accomplishes with main criteria necessary to carry out a successful session.
- The research process with users and the market increased the stakeholders’ perspective, which let us make a smart and progressive investment in a product whose market it’s not saturated.
- Successfully implemented a Beta program with +400 users.
- Tich team obtained a usable version in the first year of operation.
- Product Discovery
- Product Strategy
Tools and technologies
To strategically tackle the creation of this new product, we made use of the D-Model, a product development framework created by Bunsan. This model prescribes a series of strategies, activities and specific deliverables each stage of a software product life cycle.
The project started with a series of investigations thatlead us to understand specific user's necessities, define the project goals, and identify the most critical and complex components. The main activities consisted in:
Interviews with users
Interviewed teachers and students from schooling and non-schooling systems to find out their needs, motivations, frustrations and opportunities. In this stage we discovered no tool empowered the teacher, we discovered there was no tool to translate rich dynamic teaching strategies from real-life classrooms to online ones, nor any tool to augment the educative process. And in order to create the right educative environment, they mustcombine four or more tools.
- Synchronous communication tool
- Asynchronous communication tool
- Collaboration tool
- Resource library
Working sessions with the stakeholders
We were working directly with the project founders to identify the priorities, leverages, team capabilities, their main concerns and what kind of advantages we had to start.
- The budget to start the project was limited, so the projections and efforts had to be well directed in order to validate the idea in a short period of time.
- The management team indicated their preference not to use outside investors to finance the creation of the product.
- We had people who could use the tool from the first moment to provide feedback.
- Within our team, we had Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who we could trust to make key decisions on product functionality.
Knowing the market allowed us to position Tich as a Virtual Classroom solution, and to work on a Product Market Fit that would give us opportunities, since it would not compete with popular Learning Management Systems (LMS), and Tich focus would differentiate us from traditional video conferencing solutions.
In addition, knowing the size and trends of each of the markets gave us more certainty about a viable breakthrough of the product in the future.
Technical proofs of concepts
These allowed the initial technical team to explore the technological challenges that we may face to tackle the core functionality, as well as to identify the most complex and high-risk parts of the project. In this case, POCs were made from the online blackboard, as well as from the communication systems.
As a result of this initial process, which was neither linear nor obvious, Bunsan received a Product Brief containing the product vision, a value proposition canvas, a business model canvas and a market map, as well as identifying the initial functionalities for a minimum viable product (MVP) that could be launched on the market.
Our support work was constant throughout the planning, construction and commissioning of the product, allowing us to set the most appropriate priorities thanks to the context that this first stage of research brought, and the perspective of the entire life cycle of the product.
Next, the strategic plan was elaborated to create a minimum valuable product that we could launch to the market (MVP). Using the information previously collected, it was possible to dimension and plan the first stages of construction of the product. This strategy states:
Create a virtual classroom that integrates all the necessary tools for a teacher to guarantee student learning
Schooled or non-schooled instructors who teach live virtual classes, at the high school, university, postgraduate levels, or continuing education systems, with group sizes between 2 and 45 students.
Functionalities that provide more value to the user
- Real-time whiteboard using vector drawings
- Sending and receiving slides locally
- Sending and receiving many-to-many audio
- Straight forward course administration panel to schedule sessions
- Creating courses and adding students to the course
- To optimize the experience of sharing and having online sessions through the reduction in the data sent through the internet.
- To stabilize the sending and receiving services of audio for 45 students groups.
This planning activity allowed us to establish expectations about how effort should be invested in each of the stages and what would be achieved at the end of each of these. This permitted us to project the first stages of the product on a roadmap:
Thanks to the carried-out analysis, success criteria were defined for this specific product context. These same criteria were integrated during the creation, evaluation, selection, and prioritization of the plans to identify and implement functionalities in the future.
To date, the product team continues working on Tich as a fundamental part of the product’s counseling and operation, with a software ready for launching into the market in a progressive way and with a good penetration expectative. Working on Tich allowed the product team to pass through various growth stages of the product, contributing to the experience and development of all team members.
We also faced a variety of challenges, such as counting on a compact team to satisfy several needs, to balance the work from different apps that together make Tich at once, to develop methods of systematic prioritization that allowed us to identify the most important in certain time and finally to implement a development process for a successful product with the Product, Design, Development, Testing and Infrastructure teams.