One of the biggest challenges for newer and self-represented entertainers is to manage their administrative tasks associated with bookings so that they can focus on securing clients and their performance. Currently entertainers manage the administrative aspects in many different platforms. For example, they use a separate calendar app to book shows, manage payments on a case by case scenario (cash/etransfer/cheque), and align on booking details via email or social media and the process is very manual and details are likely missed.
On average, self represented entertainers spend ~3hours on administrative tasks which are not billable. It costs hundreds of dollars to hire a representative so it’s not economical for early stage entertainers. An automated all-in-one tool can help solve this problem at a much lower cost.
Through conducting user focus groups, we noted these sentiments from prospective users:
“I love what I do and want to spend my time focusing on my art/performances, so I put off administrative tasks and sometimes I forget about some pieces. I don’t currently have an agency to help me manage these.”
“I manage my bookings in Google Calendar, booking notes in a notebook, and payments on a case by case scenario.”
Our participants shared a theme of pain points:
1. All of their booking administrative tasks are on different platforms and don’t sync up with one another. For example, calendar bookings are on Google Calendar, event details are discussed over the phone, and payments are agreed upon over email.
2. Our users would rather focus their efforts on their performances rather than project management but acknowledge the importance of staying organized if it were more frictionless.
Based on our target users’ pain points, we knew we wanted to work on a simple to use platform which would encompass all the basic event management tools that would be necessary to run a successful event.
Given the 5-week period to build this product, we only wanted to focus on the most value added features that our user would want which includes a profile of their work, a calendar booking feature, and a payment request functionality.
Login & Signup page:
Client’s request for event booking:
Payment requests from clients:
The biggest technical challenge faced was working with the Google Calendar API. There was a lot to learn in terms of authentication, scope and getting it initially set up. Thankfully there was great documentation to help with the process. Another challenge was the structuring of files in React. As our app grew and we added more components it felt like the structure was getting messy and at times it was hard to find specific code blocks. I think if we had mapped out our folder structure from the start we would have had an easier time navigating through files and wouldn’t have had to spend as much time cleaning things up.
Our product doesn’t have any scaling issues at the moment. If we were to hit a larger number of users we would need to look at upgrading our Firebase to a paid plan to accommodate usage. Our product is also very scalable in terms of the various features that we can add to enhance a user’s experience.
Our biggest key takeaway is to really take the proper time needed to create a plan before diving into the code. This will help immensely with efficiency and prevent having to spend time going back to fix bugs, restructure files, or refactor code. Another takeaway was everything we learned through the research lessons. It was fascinating to gain an understanding of best practices when learning about our users, identifying problems, and creating solutions.
Our team plans to continue the development of our product. We have achieved our MVP, but would love to add some additional features that we had initially thought of including that were nice-to-haves but not essential to solving the problem. We’ll continue to keep in touch and provide updates on what we’ve accomplished independently, and identify any areas for collaboration.
As a PM, I learned to be user-centric especially when discussing product features with the team. I was able to work collaboratively with the team using agile methodologies to create a product with the user in mind at all times. This meant being hyper focused on solving the pain points for our user and making tough trade-offs when necessary.
2. Trade offs with developers
3. Brainstorming with the team
1. I learned how to work in a cross functional team to develop a project from concept to completion, and have a deeper understanding of everyone's roles within a team.
2. I have a greater understanding of approaching problems and coming up with solutions that best meet the users needs.
3. I was able to further my knowledge and experience with various React concepts and become more familiar with working with databases through Firebase.
Prior to Co.lab, the team has had experience in their subject matter and specialty; however, Co.lab gave us the opportunity to work cross functionally and taught us the tools to work in an agile environment. As a team, we were able to collaborate effectively and solve problems with the user in mind at all touchpoints.