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Frequently Asked Questions about being a client

What are requirements of projects?

Projects are expected to take 3-4 students 10-12 weeks of work at 4-6 hours per week. Projects are expected to need a multi-disciplinary team of students needing students from two different colleges. We currently include students from engineering, business, education and letters arts and science. Asking for a team that is just doing marking from a company supplied detailed marketing plan or asking for an app development team with just CS majors is not likely to be accepted. The goal is multi-disciplinary analysis to help the company figure out what to do, not just to do what the company believes is needed. We have done “marketing projects” that includes both market analysis, producing a marketing film as well as a digital/social marketing campaign. We have done multiple app development projects, but they were combined with other objectives, e.g. customer/market validation or educational objectives. After you submit a form, we may contact you to refine the description.

What are expectations of clients?

Clients are expected to communicate with the team weekly, approximately 1-hour is normal for a meeting with email or another communication tool midweek. Think of this as a consulting team you want to keep them on track and provide the information needed for them address the problem. The client and team will work out the formal statement of work for the term. The client can suggest an agile approach, where the high-level and the agile process is described in the SOW, with detailed deliverables for each spring, to be set during the term.

Are there a cost to have a team?

The BI program manages the innovation teams classes for student learning, not for client success. Hence, we do not have an upfront cost, but we do ask that clients that found the students provided real value, the client donate back to the BI program. Donations levels are up to the client, but $1000 is common for small companies; we ask larger companies to give based on the value provided.

Can a project span multiple terms?

Yes and no. A client can apply for teams multiple terms in succession, and a team may suggest the client project continues. But the client should design maximum 12-week chunks and recognize that the team members may change in between terms.

Can a client be guaranteed a team, or guaranteed a particular set of students?

No. Even if the faculty discuss the project and approve it, it is still subject to student signup and section assignments. The process is that we present the potential projects (currently ~40 per term) and students select their top six choices and list their skills. We then do a complex matching process to match projects with students. If we cannot staff a team with the skills the client has listed as needed we may not allocate a team to that project.

Can a client have multiple teams or a larger team ?

Multiple teams for the same client has been done multiple times, but because of the timing we request either different client point of contact for each team or will allocate the teams to different classes so each time can meet with the client. Teams with size > 5 have been tried but do not work well so we no longer do that. If the project can be decomposed into multiple teams while still retaining the multi-disciplinary nature of each subteam, then we will consider multi-team assignments. The multi-team groups can still interact but are to operate largely independently.