Starting Spring Semester Strong!

We are already three weeks into our second (and final) semester of GMI! The GMI team hit the ground running when we returned from break and have been busy working on our design projects. As Jeannette mentioned in her recent blog, we have transitioned to a “sprint” work style, meaning the entire team focuses on one project at a time, for one week at a time. By doing this, it is expected that our team will be more productive and will be able to produce significant results after one week with all four of us working on the same project concurrently.

To become more familiar with the “sprint” work style, the team read a book from Google Ventures called “Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days”, detailing how the sprint method was developed and it’s successes and failures to date with various tech startups and companies. Additionally, this week the team will be receiving a formal 2-day training in the Agile method (quite similar to the “sprint” method described in the book from Google Ventures) where we will practice running one of our projects through a rapid product development cycle. Though this fast paced work style will be an adjustment from our typical work pattern (usually we work on a few projects simultaneously), I’m excited to see the outcomes after every “sprint”. Having the entire team focused on one project at a time will not only drive results for our group design and individual projects, but also provide us with more team experience and an opportunity to further develop team camaraderie.

Aside from the new work style we are adopting this semester, we have already begun planning out some international travel. Since our GMI group design project is based in Costa Rica this year, we are planning to travel there twice this semester, once in February (in about three weeks) and once in April. The first trip will be focused on information gathering, primarily through talks with field clinicians and dialysis clinics in order to validate the information we previously gathered, as well as to clarify a number of questions we have generated while working on the project. Our second trip will likely be to conduct some field testing of our functional prototype in the setting it is intended to be used in (within homes in rural northern Costa Rica). As of now, I will be going on both Costa Rica trips (the first with Luis, and the second with Erica). This year, each GMI student is allotted two international work trips. Because I did not go on any international trip last semester, I am fortunate enough to be able to join two work trips this semester.

We are moving fast this semester, so by the time I blog again next month, I will have a lot to share about all of the progress we have made on our projects! I’m really excited to jump into these “sprints” and see what my team will be able to accomplish every week in just a few days!

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