Creator Spotlight: Software Engineer and author Clyde D’Souza on the power of passion projects

  • 13 April 2022
  • 5 replies

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Hi Miro Heroes :heart_eyes:


Anna here, your Community Manager.


This April, it’s all about Agile! We want to celebrate all the individuals, teams, and companies that prioritize their customers and are learning how to respond to change.


I’m super excited to share our conversation with @Clyde D'Souza, a Software Engineer and Author based in Auckland, New Zealand. In his spare time, Clyde blogs on Medium, teaches online on Skillshare and Udemy, publishes videos on YouTube, and created templates for Miroverse. He authored many fun templates for those who are interested in Agile and Lean methodologies as well as those who are into creative writing.


We sat down with Clyde to talk about his passion projects and get some tips & tricks for aspiring Miroverse Creators, and I’m excited to share his wisdom with the Miro Community. 



Top Miroverse tips&tricks:

  • Before you start creating your first template, try creating different objects, use different features from the toolbar, and experiment with apps and integrations. That would expand your thinking and show you what is possible and what can be done on a Miro board.

  • When you have an idea for a template, start with a rough outline of what you want to do in Miro, then decide which areas I can convert into more high fidelity elements and where you can use basic shapes.

  • Be courageous and learn by doing: once you're familiar with the process and see your template in Miroverse, it gives you a lot of creative confidence.


Want to continue the conversation?

  • If you have a question for Clyde D’Souza about Agile development, fiction writing, or building templates, add it to the thread below. 

  • If you have a favorite Agile/Lean template (either from Miroverse or your own), post it in the thread as well! 


Full Q&A with Clyde D’Souza:


Please, tell us about your current role. 

I'm a software engineer. At my day job at Xero, we use Agile methodology so that gives me a lot of inspiration to create Agile templates for Miroverse. When I’m not working, I try to keep my mind open, learn about different topics, and look for opportunities to make new templates.


I know that you are also a children’s book author. How did you start writing books?

I’ve been blogging for a long time. Back in early 2019, I was thinking of writing a book, and this genre allowed me to apply my passion for writing and my creative thinking. That’s why I wrote my first children's bedtime story book called Mama, Tell Me A Story. This book is just one of my passion projects that I focus on in my spare time.



What's your favorite template that you created for Miroverse? Can you please walk us through your creative process?

My personal favorite is Retrospective in the Island of Golocans. It allowed me to apply my design skills as well as my passion for fiction writing. I really enjoyed working on it because it involved different activities that I am interested in. 


I usually follow a standard process when I work on my templates. First, I come up with an idea and do a rough outline of what I want to do in Miro. I create a basic structure of what a template might look like and then see which areas I can convert into more high fidelity elements and apply my design there. When it’s not required, I just use the basic shapes that are available in Miro. 



When I was creating The Island of Golocans, I actually did not think that I would make a Miro template. I wanted to become better at design and illustration and as I was learning, I just started designing an island, and then I remember drawing a lighthouse and pirate ships. As I was putting it together, I thought it could be a good template if I frame it that way. So I took my custom-built images (.svg files) and added them to the board. Then I thought about how to package that in a way that will resonate with people. It's almost like writing a story, right? First you come with the characters and a general structure of what you want to say, and then you have to consider how you would write it and format it, how the characters should be introduced, what the title is, etc.


Where do you usually find inspiration for your templates?

I often go through a lot of drafts and my templates are usually inspired by a mixture of different things rather than one specific trigger. It comes from different artworks, stories, and podcasts. And then it comes down to what you can do on paper. That’s why I got interested in design and illustration and started watching YouTube tutorials and exploring this by myself. 


I'm just curious and I like to know how things work. I used to purchase books from Amazon,   and I always wondered how this book came into existence, what was the process that went behind writing the book? It’s similar with learning how to design. I have always been following different design blogs, Instagram pages, etc. When I discovered Miro, I started exploring the product and I stumbled upon Miroverse and was super curious to understand how it is done. For me, the most effective way to learn is to actually do something, get your hands dirty, and try it several times.



What advice would you give to someone who is just thinking about creating their first template?

First, you need to be familiar with Miro as a tool. Try creating different objects, use different features from the toolbar, and experiment with apps and integrations. That would expand your thinking and show you what is possible and what can be done on a Miro board. If you only used sticky notes in Miro, then the next time you have an idea, you’ll only be able to visualize how it can be done using sticky notes. 


Another advice I would give is about being courageous with your ideas and don’t be afraid to learn by doing. It's a pretty easy process, and once you're familiar with it and see your template in Miroverse, it gives you a lot of creative confidence and you automatically want to publish more templates.


Are there any Miroverse Creators or templates that inspire you when you are working on your boards?

Yes, I do have a few templates on Miroverse that I really like. Two of my favourites are in the virtual space theme—The Amsterdam House by Essense and Miro Campus by Joanna Kim and HUED. Both are great for providing virtual space for users to navigate around and I find that very fascinating. I think this concept has a lot more potential for the community to create additional templates. A big shout-out to the designers who developed Miro Campus—it looks like a great deal of effort went into putting every single detail into that.


Sailboat Retrospective by @Johanna Torstensson is, I think, everyone's favorite. It's simple, very easy to use, engaging, and creative. If I remember correctly, this template was used in one of the first retrospectives I attended since I started using Miro and now I know where it came from. I also have to mention @Said Saddouk Miro art. I don't think he has posted all of his artwork on Miroverse but here is an example of his work. All of his artwork is incredibly designed with thousands of Miro shapes and I can't imagine how many hours must go into each board to get that precision! Very creative!


5 replies

Userlevel 3

What a nice and inspirational reading, and I totally adore your template “The Islands of Golocans”!😍 Thank you for mentioning me, @Clyde D'Souza, I´m so happy I can inspire you to do more of your amazing work. 😀 

Userlevel 6

@Clyde D'Souza I’m so impressed! 


How do you feel writing (and creative writing, at that!) has helped you in your more corporate role? 


P.S. I just added your book to my cart! 

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Thank you, @Johanna Torstensson!

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Thank you, @Colleen Curtis! And thanks for purchasing my book! 

Part of my role as a software engineer is to write software documentation, and honing on my writing skills has greatly helped with that. If I can tell a good story and present it in an engaging manner, whether its a technical story or a fictional one, I stand a good chance that my readers will enjoy their time reading what I wrote. 

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Thanks for featuring me in the Miroverse Creator Spotlight series and for the wonderful opportunity to share my thoughts on the process, @Anna Savina! It was great talking to you.

I’d be more than happy to answer any questions from the community, so feel free to ask them below. If you have any ideas around templates, or any ideas in general that you’d like to bounce off me, please post them below and I’d be happy to take a look.