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Prisma Data Platform

Prisma 2023


Prisma is a VC backed Series B startup, which main product is an open source ORM. I was hired to help build their first commercial offering, a Saas product to provide additional features on a subscription model on top of their ORM. This product was pre-product market fit, so we did a lot of discovery work around multiple ideas.

What problem where we solving?

Multiples. Prisma had a first MVP of a Platform that was not having a lot of success with our user base, we needed to understand which of our ideas could provide the most value for our users as our next bet. On top of that we were having problems with its performance and reliability, something we couldn't allow. On the design side of things, Prisma's MVP Platform had inconsistencies in its design as well as old looking UI.


VP of Product


Product Manager

2 Engineering teams

2 Product Designers

Prisma decided to bet on building solutions for developers building serverless applications. Prisma had some advantage here, having users working with their databases together with the Prisma ORM, we could solve for some of the common problems when scaling serverless applications.

With some hypothesis in mind we created what we called a Design Partner Program, a selected group of Prisma users, that met certain criteria: company size, building serverless apps, previously voiced issues with scaling, etc. We worked with this groups of users to first get more information about their issues while building serverless applications, and later on to constantly test our solutions and approaches.

As Prisma is a distributed company, we gathered the team on the Berlin office for an entire week where we did some User Story Mapping around our problem as well as ideate on technical solutions. This allowed us to gather shared understanding and gave us a roadmap to get started with.

We were gonna build a caching and connection pooling solution, called Accelerate.

By the end of the week we had mapped out the entire journey as well as our technical approach to building this solution (img on the right blurred for NDA reasons), which allowed us to have a clear roadmap for what we had to do next to start building and validating with users.

Hackathon concept for future dashboard visualization

We wanted to provide our users with better visualization on how their caching solution was performing as well as help them understand which queries could benefit from adding a caching strategy to it. The company was having a small hackathon so we worked together with the engineering team to develop this idea.

Rewriting the platform

In addition to building this new feature, another engineering team was going to rewrite the platform at the same time, and we wanted to provide the users with a seamless transition. We gathered with the engineering team to evaluate all possible scenarios

Our strategy was to present the new platform and features as a new type of projects. Remember when Jira introduced new projects that had different features? Something like that. The reason here was to avoid the confusion of two platforms, allow users to "easily migrate" to the new platform, allow Prisma to later deprecate the old one.

Existing users of the platform where presented with a modal, introducing this new type of projects as an evolution of the platform, by clicking there, or on a banner if dismissed, we would take them to the new platform, creating the new user & organization there. Users where allowed to switch back and forth between the two platforms.

The new strategy and platform meant we had to design the entire platform from the scratch: feature flows, organizations, settings, billing, so we took advantage of the rewrite and worked with the engineers to create a Design System based on Radix, to reduce the work by building on top of that. Radix provided a component library, ready took care of accessibility and was easy to maintain. We made sure we only build what we needed to ship this initial version of the platform, to avoid over engineering our Design System but still allow us to build faster and create consistency across the platform.

This feature and the entire platform is live and has recently been released to GA. Check Accelerate and the Prisma Data Platform

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