In 2015, I went along to Sync the City as part of a university module. I studied Computing for Business at UEA and didn’t really know what I would end up doing at the event or much about it.
After the 1 minute pitches everyone chose the team they wanted to be part of. I went for one that I thought I could put my stamp on. I was in a team with Iain. We were in a team called Sox Suk. The idea was a wishlist website for children to share with their parents/guardians what they wanted for Christmas. Two children (12&13 years old) came up with the concept and wanted to learn more HTML and CSS.
The possibility arose for someone to take on the role of Project Manager (PM). I decided to put myself forward as I had always considered Project Management as a profession and believed it would give me an insight as to what it might be like. The first day was a bit of a whirlwind with lots of ideas flying about. This was my first challenge at the event as a PM. But after many discussions, a fuller concept began emerging. Just before 10pm we came up with something like a plan!
After not much sleep and a cold morning, the team came back together. The idea began to come alive through a brand logo. We got feedback on our concepts from over 200 people online. The two children were getting involved in all parts of the project, from coding to design to doing market research with their peers. Each of the mentors hosted workshops for all areas aiding a start-up. I went to one on managing time and relationships which gave me some useful techniques to use to help the team achieve our goal. Progress was being made in the aesthetic and functional design and it was all starting to come together.
The final day of the event was a bit crazy! Developers were frantically trying to finalise the prototype, whilst the rest of the team prepared for the final pitch. As the idea came from the two youngest members of the team, we decided it would be best for them to pitch the idea. Neither of them had given a presentation to such a large group before. With the help of their parents we coached them to engage the audience but still get the point across effectively. Once they knew what they were talking about, it was practise practise practise! Our pitch was the 2nd presentation, so we didn't have to wait long. They gave a great presentation especially as it was their first time to a big audience. The pitch can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze7WvuT05YI.
During the event I asked Iain if Earthware had any jobs going. Iain directed me to Brian (a mentor at the event) to ask about opportunities. Brian suggested that he would speak to the team at Earthware to see if they had a role for me.
At Sync the City I found out some of the challenges that a Project Manager might face. But after I asked for advice from some of the mentors, I learnt a lot from their expertise. Bringing together industry professionals, children and students together was an interesting experience. As a first time PM it was insightful to see these relationships thrive.
The event helped me enormously with my prospects after university. None of this would have been possible without #SyncTheCity.