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ADPlist Projects

Project overview

This was a collaboration between me and my friend, designer, and mentor @ADPlist, Sandeep Baskaran.

We hope to give back to the community with this ideation exercise. Enjoy the read!

On a mission to democratize mentorship

Mentorship is essential. Companies have built it into their culture as a practice, schools have implemented it in their curriculums, and businesses are being built about it because it truly is paramount to form a professional and help them develop.


And the fruits of the relationship between mentors and mentees for both are compelling too; you get to work on your communication, leadership skills, confidence, collaboration, problem-solving skills, and many more, such as networking. That’s how Sandeep and I connected, in a mentorship platform, volunteering for hosting a session during a Product Week Conference.


The way we enjoy all these great facts about mentorship is through ADPlist. Founded by Felix Lee and James Baduor in 2021, with a mission to democratize mentorship for all. Born from a list called Awesome Designer People List, ADPlist had accomplished its mission and has a thriving community of over 9,741+ mentors from 60+ countries.


The features inside the platform keep coming, a new talent pool was recently launched, there are annual conferences, and always a new update to keep track of and take advantage of each 1:1 mentorship session.


But everything already good can become great. As part of the community, talking to mentees and mentors, and wearing our product designer hats, we’ve encountered a very familiar need. From the mentee's point of view, it’s how can I apply everything that I talk to my mentor? Or how can I practically execute things that surge over the mentorship session? From the mentor's POV, it’s like: How can I be more hands-on with my mentees? How can I help them with practical stuff?


That’s how Sandeep and I started on our quest of how we can help mentors and mentees work together. Thinking about this need of tackling practical work: build a case study, improve portfolio, gain work experience, have guiding tools, etc.


So, after 5 months of meeting, researching, ideating, and working on a prototype, here’s ADPlist Projects!


I worked as a UX Designer, and Sandeep besides the UX also designed all the UI of the project. Visuals in this article were brainstormed by the two of us and designed by me.

  • mentorship is essential for personal and professional development.

  • ADPlist has grown in users and features, and today offers 1:1 mentorships, group sessions, conferences, and a talent poll.

  • Thinking about better ways mentors and mentees can work together to grow their skills and gain experience, Sandeep and I have come together to work on this project.

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Connect with Sandeep:

The problem

The two groups of people we are trying to help with this case study, have different concerns, but a lot in common. 

Both Mentors and Mentees are after experience, practice, and development. Mentors are after more senior experience and one that allows them to work on their leadership skills. Mentees, on the other hand, are after practical experience that can stimulate the kind of hard and soft skills they will need in a professional environment. 

Experiencing mentorship ourselves, and talking to other mentors and mentees, here are some of the mentors' and mentees’ concerns:

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There’s a similarity between both groups' needs, the kind of similarity we find between two ends of the same process. So it was clear to us that the answer would involve both groups working together, in order to optimize resources and outcomes. 


Another problem in common, especially for mentees, is finding resources and making use of them. There’s no doubt the internet has a lot of resources, and more coming up each day. Great content in many places, and this might be the issue. There are so many learning resources and platforms, working tools, that mentees struggle to find their way to navigating every resource.

Having a framework and finding resources were among mentors and mentees needs.

Going out and about the internet be like

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And choice overload might generate decision paralysis. This is exactly what Hick’s Law teaches us:
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Wrapping up the research phase, we knew we needed an answer that could attack mentors' and mentees’ problems and concerns, not only allowing them to tackle them, but also guiding them through the process, to avoid paralysis and reduce friction which could jeopardize their development process.

The objective


There are already great features for mentorship sessions and beyond; video conferencing, notepad, chat with mentors, group sessions, festivals, talent pool, achievements…


Currently, @ADPlist we can find mentors, have 1:1 mentorship sessions, take notes of our sessions, and exchange messages in the chat. So we just needed a feature that already takes advantage of all these great resources and helps mentors and mentees work on projects together, peer-to-peer, and with a mentor.


We first started off thinking about design jams. They are great for ideating, collaborating, and receiving feedback. The issue we would face going for with this idea would be scalability and involving a large number of people, which happens to be the case for the large ADPlist community.

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Then we realize that what we were doing, starting out a project, meeting, researching, ideating solutions, and hopefully coming up with a nice case study, would be a great answer to other mentors and mentees as well!

This new feature can live on the lateral menu, and guide mentors and mentees to choose a project, invite people in, have them work on priorities or steps, put together a case study, and a place to showcase their work.


So, recapping our priorities:​​

the feature needs to take advantage of the already existing resources on the platform for mentorship

provide guidance and resources for mentors and mentees

provide a framework for mentees and mentors to connect and work together

show designers’ improvements and involve the community

We’re happy to announce the solution we were working on:

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With ADPlist Projects you have a clear roadmap to guide you through working on a project with a peer and a mentor, supplying both mentees and mentors' need of working together, and not losing any time while planning, as all the prompts, templates, and guidelines are provided by the feature :)


Mentees can start off a project, have a prompt generated if they don’t have one already, invite another mentee to work on the project, and call in a mentor at any time. 


When they complete the suggested steps of the project, they can elaborate on the case study and post it on the Forum page. At the Forum, other mentees review and upvote the projects they like for visibility. It’s also possible to share the links, so you can even use them on your Linkedin or Resume!


In this way, mentees have a clear guideline of the framework they might follow to come up with a case study and improve their portfolio. This eliminates the fatigue of going elsewhere for feedback or resources because they can find all of it inside ADPlist.

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For the future of this feature, there are a lot of opportunities! It could possibly be expanded to other areas of expertise, like marketing, project management, and development, including the option to work in a sprint-like timeframe, or event agile methodologies. The sky is the limit!

You can check the prototype link here:

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And if you would like to know the mentor’s perspective on participating in this project, please find Sandeep’s article about it here.

We hope you enjoyed this case study as much as we did working on it. Please, comment, share your insights and feedback, and let’s grow the mentorship space together!
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