Skip to main content

Floop Intern Spotlight: Silvia Calinov

Silvia Calinov (LinkedIn) interned with Floop from June - September 2020, working as a Program Management intern on our feature development process. She is a junior studying Industrial Engineering at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo graduating June 2022, after which she will be looking for opportunities in industrial design. We loved working with Silvia because of her focus on user needs, openness to feedback, and collaboration. Learn more about what Silvia accomplished in her internship with Floop.

Silvia brought her expertise in Industrial Engineering to her Program Management internship at Floop, analyzing our company’s needs to redesign our operation processes. During her internship, she demonstrated initiative to improve her work from feedback and sought creative opportunities to collaborate with team members across functions. Silvia was a joy to work with, and the tools she created have streamlined our operations and saved our team valuable time.

Top Accomplishments

  • Analyzed company’s customer feedback to deployment system to understand the downfalls

  • Created data analysis tools and action plans for optimal internal system operations to reduce time spent making larger company decisions

  • Developed specifications for company’s public roadmap to increase transparency between Floop and its customers

Top Strengths

  • User-Centered Focus - One of the most important attributes in Silvia’s future career as an industrial engineer is a focus on the end-user. In this case, Silvia designed systems for the Floop team to improve our processes. She approached her project with curiosity, taking the initiative to connect with individual contributors on the team to understand needs and pain points. After interviewing team members, she compiled everything she learned into concrete recommendations that guided her approach. When all the stakeholders were pulled together for Silvia’s final meeting, everyone was impressed by how thoroughly Silvia addressed company and individual needs with her solutions.

  • Openness to Feedback - Silvia demonstrates a high level of feedback literacy with her openness to feedback. Whenever we met for 1:1’s, Silvia was always ready to share her progress and ask specific feedback questions. After taking notes on feedback, she translated the feedback into specific action items. Every iteration of her work saw significant improvements. As a result, her final proposed process and all her documentation was easy for all team members to understand and follow.

  • Collaboration - Despite not having direct teammates on her project, Silvia found opportunities for cross-functional collaboration with the larger team. When creating a Pareto Chart template to automate analysis of high-need customer issues, Silvia got blocked in some of the final touches of the coding logic. When research didn’t result in answers, she set up a meeting with one of our developers to talk through the issue. Silvia was able to overcome this obstacle and others because of her ability to find creative collaboration opportunities.

Summary of Work

The rest of the sections were written by Silvia about her experience working at Floop.

Throughout my time at Floop, I focused on 3 main tasks:

  • 1. Analysis of Floop’s systems around customer feedback to deployment. Deliverable included:

    • Flowchart

  • 2. Create and document a system to help Floop decide how to implement features based on constantly changing external research and metrics analysis. A system that keeps communication open between Floop and its customers. Deliverables included:

    • Flowchart

    • System action plans

    • Data analysis tools

  • 3. Create specifications document for Floop’s public roadmap to be developed in the next months

I started by interviewing Floop’s team about downfalls and frustrations around the current system. I also explored the tools Floop was using to work: Productboard, GitHub, Freshdesk, etc. With that, I created a flowchart of the system, to help visualize bottlenecks.

From there, I created a new system to reduce bottlenecks while keeping all requirements: account for ever-changing research and metrics, keep open communication between Floop and its customers.

I documented that system using system action plans: documents that specify the who, when, and what in order to keep the system running smoothly. Additionally, I created a flowchart to show when each of the system action plans (SAP) are needed.

Below is an example of a system action plan. In the end, this plan’s goal was to decide which feature idea to be designed next.

As part of the action plans, I also developed tools that the Floop team can use for decision making. For example, Floop needed a way to compare all the helpdesk tickets created. They wanted to see which issues to focus on fixing in order to eliminate the majority of tickets coming in. I created a tool that automates pareto chart analysis on the tickets coming in. A pareto chart separates the vital few from the trivial many. This video shows how the tool works: Pareto Chart Walkthrough.

Also in line with Floop’s company ideals, the managers and I agreed that Floop needed a public roadmap. The roadmap needed to provide one place for customers to check the status of upcoming features and to increase transparency to keep Floop accountable. I designed mobile friendly wireframes and created specifications for the roadmap to be developed. The images below show my hand-drawn wireframes which I sketched to enhance the larger specifications document.

Biggest Challenges

Being in a virtual environment, I never met the people I worked with in person (except for one). I needed to send strangers messages and communicate with them having little sense of their personality or background. Additionally, I felt that they had the same thought when communicating with me, so I needed to be extra careful with the persona I showed in messages and the tone that they gave off.

I had to present myself in a different way than I am used to: a way that gave me more control. This was the perfect combination for overthinking. I would write out a Slack message and read it 10 times over to make sure it sounded right. I would hesitate hitting send for another few minutes just to be sure everything was up to the standards that I wanted to send off.

This is something I generally struggle with: overthinking.

However, Floop’s working environment was also the perfect place for me to explore changing. As the internship continued, more and more opportunities presented themselves for chatting with the team. Check-ins every two weeks, and one on one meetings (still all via video conferences) gave me a chance to get to know the people behind the Slack message a little better. Additionally, the amount of messages I had to send increased.

Writing messages daily and putting myself out there is what gave me confidence to change. Writing messages became easier and I realized I didn’t have a reason to be stressed when writing them. Mistakes can be fixed, and the people on the are side are just that: people.

Intern Takeaways

Here is what I learned during my time at Floop:

  • Systems Optimization - Learned to apply traditionally factory based industrial engineering skills to a software company.

  • Professional Communication - Learned to communicate professionally with fellow employees.

  • Self Discipline - Worked in an environment where my work wasn’t accounted for every day, learned to be honest with myself about how much work I can get done, and how to communicate that to my boss. 


We loved working with Silvia this summer. Best of luck in future endeavors!

Contact Silvia through LinkedIn.


Popular posts from this blog

Back-to-School: Consider Your Feedback System, Not Grading System

One question I ask other teachers is “How important is feedback in learning?” Every teacher I talk to agrees that feedback is crucial. It’s how both teacher and student gets better. Research backs the importance of feedback; building off of John Hattie’s work comparing factors on learning, Evidence for Learning’s toolkit ranks feedback as having the highest impact out of their 34 approaches (along with meta-cognition) with a +8 months’ impact on students’ learning progress. I follow the feedback question with “How important are grades in learning?” It might seem like a loaded question. You can imagine how teachers respond: “They’re not.” Why give grades, then? We’ll save that topic for another occasion. For now, I just want to point out that we are frequently asked to consider and describe our grading system by students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. We’re rarely asked about the much bigger and more important component of our work: feedback. With back-to-school qu

A Culture of Iteration: Policies and Practices for a Revision-FocusedClassroom

Success in the real world depends on a person's ability to iterate. to understand the definition of success on a task to seek feedback early and often to use that feedback to revise and refine until successful As teachers, its our job to scaffold this process, with developmentally-appropriate differentiation, until our students can fly solo. As I sit here writing this, my  SO  Dan is at his desk  red-lining  a building diagram for a warehouse in Canada. When he's done, the diagram will go back to his team of engineers where they will respond to Dan's feedback with a better design. They'll repeat this process until both building code and client requirements have been met. To do this work, which requires an iteration cycle that can last over a year or more, Dan has to understand building code and client needs, seek feedback from other engineers and the client, and use that feedback to revise and refine until the design is ready for implementation. ​Dan wasn'

Part 2 - Tools for an Equitable Feedback System: Engaging with Criteria

This series of posts will cover a variety of bite-sized strategies that can be incorporated into a more holistic feedback system. To learn more about the research behind these approaches, we recommend you first read our white paper . Part 1 - Feedback is Emotional For feedback information to be useful, it must communicate:  Where am I going? (What are the goals?) How am I going? (What progress is being made toward the goal?) Where to next? (What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?) (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).  Supporting students in engaging with the grading criteria helps give context to the feedback to come. In other words, it does the groundwork of helping them determine for themselves, "Where am I going?"