Emily McAllister
Chief Marketing Officer
3 mins read

Narrowing Scope: Learning To Budget For Product Dev

A startup used the skateboard method for their mvp

Last month, Turtle kicked off a unique new project with Cornell University. Graduate students at the Johnson School of Management were paired with freelance software developers through Turtle, and began working together on a semester long project for their Strategic Product & Marketing Intensive (SPMI) course. Over the next few months, the students and freelancers will work together to develop a custom app.

A key aspect often missing from real world experience offered by graduate programs is not only time and resource budgeting skills, but the budget itself. Professor Clarence Lee set out to design a product course that cultivated the conceptual, technical, and human skills required to lead a product team, through partnering with sponsor companies like Adobe, Johnson & Johnson, and Under Armour. The team working with Turtle will go through the same curriculum as those working with other companies, alongside a university sponsored budget to build software with Turtle, in the form of a custom app to be used by SPMI students and alumni.

Clarence came up with the concept for this project from Ray Dalio’s book Principles:

“In this book, he outlines the set of principles that he used to build the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates. What’s interesting is that he has a companion app that makes it easy for readers to access (in the future) the specific principles in the book. I would like future SPMI students to be able to access SPMI related content with the same, if not even better, ease of use.

Using Turtle’s budgeting and task management tools, the students learned how to create and handoff quality specs, to set priorities and manage subtasks, all while honing collaboration skills as they worked with professional engineering talent.”

An early semester success came when Turtle’s CEO, Vlad, visited Ithaca and shared Founder Lab, Turtle’s product development education resources, with the student teams.

“The founder lab sessions were fantastic”

Clarence reflected after sharing with his students, as part of his efforts to deepen their understanding of how to effectively lead a product team.

All Founder Lab sessions sessions are available publicly here for anyone working on becoming a stronger leader or founder.

The real world experience that comes from working with a real budget and professional collaborators has been an amazing trial to work with students on, and the whole Turtle team is excited for the potential impact similar programs could have across the university system.

With the SPMI project off to a great start, we’re excited to see what kind of prototype the students and freelancers create together, and how they iterate from there.


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