Sasaki recently completed a comprehensive campus master plan (CMP) for the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder. For this master plan project, the Strategies team was tasked with repurposing an existing campus planning implementation tool. The end goal was to create a master planning implementation metrics dashboard. The tool would examine the relationship between analytical & operational aspects of an academic campus master plan.
The CU Boulder campus comprises three proximate properties and 4 campuses, all of which are located within the City of Boulder: Main Campus, including the North Boulder Creek housing district; East Campus; and Williams Village.
The task was to design an interactive dashboard that would allow the user to manipulate construction, demo, and renovation projects in the masterplanning timeline window. The user would then see the output of an aerial visualization for all four campuses according to where the ticker is placed on the masterplanning timeline. Along with the 3D visualizations produced for each campus, the analysis tab would then generate key data benchmarks for the campus according to the user's inputs.
+ Main touchpoint for client
- Managing client presentations, client progress updates, and elaboration on next steps
- + Assisted the Senior Product Manager in the redesign of the user interface & user interactions
+ Created illustrative image assets for timeline scrubber
- + Collected & input individual building / project data (i.e GSF, ASF, project cost, building use, and funding type) into Excel spreadsheets
- To repurpose the implementation tool for the CU Boulder master plan, we held a team meeting and decided to scrap the old tool all together and start from scratch. We began inventorying each campus by analyzing new & existing buildings, program distribution, and 10, 20, and 30 year plans for potential projects.
Sorting Finance, Type, & Use Data
- Our next task was for Kai (our team's data analyst) and myself to transcribe the data into a master Excel spread sheet. Each project / building received a building ID, GSF, cost, project use, project type, and funding source.
Creating an Accessible Data Set
- Once the data was properly listed in the Excel spreadsheet, the data becomes accessible by the Dashi platform and is then used as a live file to store, edit, and update project data. Eventually, these data fields would be used to create the interactive data viz window and the bottom of the screen.
Structuring the Data Visualisation
- Before we could move forward with rebuilding the user interface, we had another team meeting to storyboard out the data viz aspects of the project. This was a rather complex problem to address considering how intricate the data fields were for each individual project. Then on top of that, every data field impacts the others via timeline. We focused out efforts on rooting out the most critical data points and simplifying the outputs to become digestible and useful graphs for the campus planning team.
+ Masterplan timeline scrubber
- CU Boulder's masterplan is a 30 year plan
+ Financial, project type, and building use data viz outputs
- Funding Type over time vs. Cost vs. ASF (Available Square Footage)
- Program Use over time vs. ASF
- Project Type over time vs.GSF (Gross Square Footage)
- Beds & classroom space available before, during, and after construction of any project
+ Four interactive / zoomable campus visualization windows
+ Ability to toggle data and campus visualization output for either project types or funding types
+ Double click timeline to add new project or double tab an existing project to edit project data
- After Timo (Senior Product Manager) and I built out the new UX/UI for the prototype, we held a team charrette to make sure we were hitting all of our target goals. The design charrettes were some of my favorite activities because it was a great space for every discipline to give incredibly useful feedback and suggestions.
This project was my deepest dive into product management and I absolutely loved it. One of the most important lessons I learned was how to communicate across multi-disciplinary teams on a single product. I am fortunate to have a decent knowledge of programming from my masters program to allow me to have fluent and productive meetings with the development team. Sifting the MVP features from the Nice to Have features may have been one of the most challenging aspects of the design because we kept finding ourselves building features outside of our scope of work.
Creating clear & achievable goals with your team is critical to providing your client with a realistic timeline.
One of the most valuable lessons & strategies I learned while in the product manager role was how to properly structure & plan for client meetings. I had incredible mentorship from our principal in charge, Ken Goulding, about how to build client presentations. Often I would review with Ken and find out that what I was going to present was far too much information for the client. Being deliberate, concise, and confident in the presentations lead to incredibly useful and productive discourse.
Protecting your team from unrealistic promises to your client is critical.
As the junior product manager of this project, it was my responsibility to manage the work load of our team. Considering we had quite a small team, it was imperative that I speak with each team member to find out what they can realistically accomplish in the given timeline. Once I had this information, I would set up a meeting with Ken to make sure we were on the same page. If there were features he felt were necessary to get completed but those tasks stressed the teams work load, it was my job to fight for their time and make sure we are delivering the highest of quality product on a realistic timeline without burning our team out. Sometimes these conversations resulted in us scheduling new meetings with the client to discuss alterations to the deliverables timeline or alterations to product features themselves.
If you're interested in this project and want to hear more, or just want to chat, feel free to contact me!