Welcome, friend. You are here because you are the kind of on-the-ball, organized, inspirational individual we need to lead our production team. You are a rare find and we are grateful to have your consideration.
As a way for us to see you in action, we have prepared a realistic exercise where you will orchestrate the creation of a new microsite. The exercise should take between 2 and 3 hours. If you hit 3 hours, we encourage you to stop and let us know, as we don’t want to waste your time.
You can complete the exercise whenever is convenient for you. You can do it all at once, or in chunks. Because it is not interactive, each stage may not make total sense with regard to the last. That’s OK. Roll with it and if something is too confusing, feel free to reach out to Nikki.
You will receive a $250 stipend to complete the exercise. If you do not feel that this is a fair stipend for your time, let us know and we can figure something out. We want you to feel fairly compensated for your effort, as if this was a real-world gig.
Once you agree to do the exercise, please complete it within one week.
At each stage we have provided light instructions for how to move forward. Our handbook provides guidance on the normal manner of communication we use at Cantilever, which you can certainly take into consideration, but we are also interested in seeing how you “naturally” do things. So please interpret the prompts however makes the most sense to you.
Please note that this exercise also puts you in some tricky spots. This is not intended to be a simulation of what it’s like to work here 😂 There are deliberate errors and gaps in the workflow which we want to see how you deal with.
Part One: Planning
You are the Head of Production at Cantilever. You receive the following email from the Head of Sales:
Dearest Colleague, We have been asked by Hasbro to create a microsite for the My Little Pony virtual PonyFest! PonyFest is held every year in Austin, TX. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic it is being held virtually this time. For this reason they feel that they need a great microsite for the event to promote attendance and get signups. They want the design to match the look of the show, with lots of pastels and character illustrations. They have a total budget of $25,000 and they have asked for the microsite to be live 30 days from today to allow registrations. The event is in 90 days. They expect thousands of MLP fans to attend and they will all sign up via this website. We would like to propose a small diagnostic phase so that we can assess their needs in more detail before signing a final scope. How much do you think we should charge them for the Diagnostic, keeping in mind the overall $25,000 budget? What are the questions that you would like to touch on and who would you like to talk to in order to answer those questions?
- Please write back to
firstname.lastname@example.org if she was the Head of Sales, answering her questions. The subject of the email should be “MLP Exercise Part One”
Part Two: Diagnostic
You agree on a $5,000 fee for the diagnostic. You and the sales team conduct several interviews with the client and some MLP fans. You find out:
- The event will be held on a platform called Hopin. The MLP team is managing that side of things.
- The goal of the site is to get people to a signup page which is held on the Hopin platform. The client wants the signups to happen on-site. There is an iframe embed available for the Hopin signup form. The signup form is pretty short, it just asks for basic information and payment.
- They don’t really care about the stack for the website. It can live independently of their servers. Their IT team will have to coordinate pointing a domain or subdomain to the site.
- They want the site to be able to serve as the basis for future event sites (live or in person)
- They want to be able to update information on the site (seminar schedule, etc) rapidly without asking us for help
- Fans are really excited about the event and are ready to sign up as soon as the site is live.
You asked Sheila (they/them), a designer at Cantilever, to put together an estimate. She comes back with:
New Repo, Server setup
Main page development
On staff you also have:
- Hank (he/him), a hybrid designer/developer who specializes in Webflow.
- Blessing (she/her), a backend developer who specializes in Laravel
- Sasha (she/her), a UX/UI designer who works mainly on product design
- Bastian (he/him), a senior frontend dev who specializes in React
- Christian (he/him), a creative director adept at logo and identity design
- A network of consultants with various specialties and skills. Using a consultant tends to be more expensive than someone in-house.
There is one major problem – we don’t have room in our schedule to start right away. We need two weeks before any of our in-house designers can start on the project.
The client, Ty, is ready to kick off any time next week. Be careful, the client is not very technical and doesn’t understand the web very well.
You spoke to Juan, our lawyer, about the project and he wrote up an SOW:
Please write one email with the subject line “MLP Exercise Part Two” to
- What is your overall vision for the project at this stage? What do you think are the top features we should definitely include? What is a rough schedule you could envision?
- Given all the staff listed above, what would your team look like and how would you allocate the hours? What will you do about the problem with staffing?
- Write an email to “Sheila” (include in line with the same email to Nikki) with questions and feedback on her estimate
- Write an email to “Ty”, the client, discussing next steps. Assume you have been introduced and working together throughout the diagnostic.
- Write an email to “Juan”, the lawyer, discussing the SOW.
Part Three: Post-Launch
Congrats! Thanks to your hard work, the site launched on time and everyone at PonyFest was thrilled. The client was super happy and grateful for everything you and the team did to pull it off.
While you were reviewing the site, you also noticed that there was a mistake made during development. When clicking "follow us on Twitter", instead of leading to the Client’s twitter page, instead the site is pointing to the Twitter account for Hank. Oops. Hank seems to have a bunch of new MLP-related followers even though they mostly tweet about vintage N64 games.
Hank is one of your direct reports. You have been working with him on his accuracy because they made another bad mistake on a project last month. You have given him positive feedback lately that they dealt with those situations and seemed to be turning a corner.
While you are diagnosing that problem, you get the following email from Ty, the client:
Thanks a lot for everything you did with the MLP microsite. We just found out that Corporate wants us to hold another event next quarter for another one of our brands, Magic: The Gathering. How easy would it be to replicate this site and change the design to match that brand? Let me know what kind of effort that would be.
Please write one email with the subject line “MLP Exercise Part Three” to
- An email to Hank about the bug
- An email to Ty about the site clone and what your next steps would be.
- A list of any additional next steps you would want to take.
- Your payment information and preference (check/paypal/Zelle) for the $250 honorarium for this exercise
Thank you for taking the time to do our exercise!!