Radial Development Group recently collaborated with Women Rising to release a significant update to the mentorship feature for the site. Women Rising is a non-profit organization created to help women collaborate and grow in technical and business fields. One way it does this is by matching mentors with mentees.

Radial became involved in Women Rising when a member of our staff joined a hack night supporting the project at a Girl Develop It meetup.  Since then, our staff has actively worked on the Women Rising open source project, supporting its founder, Kate Catlin, as she builds the organization.

Prior to this release, Women Rising supported mentor matching for qualified participants. But the feature was limited, because it required that a mentor match be available at the time of request.  We built two new enhancements to the feature that will help to identify needs and to ensure that matches happen more often.

Previously, when a mentee submitted a mentor request , if no compatible mentor was available, the system did not log the request and the prospective mentee could not be matched.  Now, if no mentors are currently available, the user is placed on a waitlist and the system looks for a match daily.

The second and related enhancement allows the potential mentee to view and cancel her waitlist status if she desires. While the mentee is on the waitlist, the mentorship is displayed with a ‘pending’ message and a user can cancel at anytime to remove herself from the waitlist.

Re-thinking Data Models To Achieve Success

We’re really excited about the feature because of the way it allows us to practice a key skillset at Radial. We often have to deal with existing or legacy code that may need to be re-imagined to meet client specifications. This involves listening and collaborating with the client in order to truly understand the client’s needs for the present and future. Sometimes this requires that we take bold steps and rethink the data modeling so that we can achieve success building new features.

In the case of Women Rising, this listening/collaboration process allowed us to exceed expectations for Kate by capturing the entire experience and releasing a very complete feature.