May 11, 2017 Project Managers, Designers, Jack of all Trades – Topcoder Copilots: Part 2

We were so excited to interview some of our amazing Design Copilots for Design Month that we couldn’t fit all of the great content into one blog post. Read part one here.
Please enjoy part 2!
What’s the most difficult thing in being a copilot?
lunarkid: When some members appeal their submission when it’s not properly scored by the reviewers.
mahestro: Definitely having to fail a challenge, that breaks my heart apart in pieces. Luckily, it’s not something that has happened to me more than two times, I think, but it’s something I try to avoid even in the most complicated situations. I know what it feels like to cancel a challenge after putting lots of effort and investing time into it, so it’s no can do for me.
chekspir: For me the most difficult sometimes is to answer questions really late at night; like 2AM or 4AM in the morning. I try to answer as fast I can, but on challenges like UI Prototypes we can get a lot of questions coming at any time. It is critical for the competitor to get their answers fast.
quesks: Time management; especially when there are multiple challenges.
fajar.mln: Keeping your perspective to stay balanced for both sides (customer and members) so you can understand what kind of expectation that client and designer needs in order to solve the project problem. Analyzing this is quite challenging.
systic: Copilots have a great responsibility in running a project/challenge to make it a success. I have always had difficulty in managing my time…there are times when I used to work from morning and stay past midnight!
Many times I wonder if copilots ever sleep, as the answers on our questions on forums come so fast. How do you deal with this? Considering different timezones and that most design competitors are from Asia.
lunarkid: I live in Asia, so not much problems with the member timezone for me. Just need to shift my sleep time to follow client schedule.
mahestro: Fast? Are you sure you’ve competed in my challenges? I take days to reply! Nah, communication is kind of rule #1 for a copilot. Replying fast is a priority, to members, clients and PMs. Good communication is the key to succeed. When I’m online I get my forum notifications through email and I reply directly in the email. As when I’m sleeping, I’d like to have a clone who helps me with that but sometimes I let designers know why I didn’t reply so they don’t feel they’re being ignored. My timezone is very convenient, I’m between Asia and America, the time difference is not that much.
chekspir: Well when I have a challenge, I set my mobile phone to “ring” as loud as possible when an email comes. So I have been awakened several times in the middle of the night to answer questions, especially in the Development track challenges, where having a quick response is critical.
fajar.mln: So first, as copilot, we need to understand the project in and out. Once you understand the requirements, answering any questions will be easier. Second, I arrange my sleep using interval method, so every 2-3 hours, I will wake up and check forums. Third, I always have my mobile close to my bed with notification sounds on so I can easily answer or update once it appears.
quesks: I think most of the designers are working from the afternoon to late at night and since I live in part of Asia, I start to sleep between 2am to 5am and wake up between 8am to 11am. I believe that is the ideal schedule for me to have support in the challenges that I run and also meet the PMs and client’s availability.
systic: Being dedicated! Say when we have a question for a challenge ending tomorrow and when we need client’s/PM’s intervention on that we communicate the question to client/PM and look to get the reply sooner, so members can continue working on their submission!

How would you describe the design community in 2 words?
lunarkid: Fresh ideas!
mahestro: Tough one, let’s stick with Forefront and Family.
chekspir: Incredible Talent
quesks: Simply amazing.
fajar.mln: Awesome People
systic: Design Guru’s!

What’s the most funny thing you saw in a submission?
lunarkid: Not sure I have see one, but we need teach them to do better on Topcoder life.
mahestro: There was one time a designer had a listing table in a dashboard page, where all the names he used belonged to the Manchester United Football Team players, literally, Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Patrice Evra, etc. I always find cool user names they add. I’ve seen Friends (TV show) and Star Wars characters references, it’s refreshing.
chekspir: Once in a Car related challenge, I saw a newbie guy who submitted his portfolio of old sites rather than a design with the requirements, and he added a note like “I have many more templates that can be adapt it to the client brand”. He did not design anything for the challenge, just submitted some old designs for old clients from him. Of course he failed the screening. I sent him an email explaining how to compete on Topcoder.
quesks: We had this game idea challenge and we got this submission about the egg hunter, I find it funny because of the character, its name, and the concept of the game. It is funny in a sense that it is too good.
fajar.mln: 200MB++ file size from one single submission. Please Note, it is a zipped file and it just the JPG/PNG files for client review. It’s really funny, it almost make me fall of the chair!

Fantasy Matchup

There are two fun challenges running right now for Design Month! Learn more about the Topcoder process, have some fun, and earn prizes too!
Tinker with the Topcoder Logo and Topcoder Stock Photos Challenges are now open and with rolling checkpoints. Get feedback and maybe a win!


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