Customer Group #9 Evaluation of Project: Gen U.

We take the original specifications to mean the informal specification document produced by the customer.

Satisfying Requirements:

We were very impressed with the demonstration. It flowed well and showed us the basic functionality we requested. The performance time constraints were met and exceeded.

The product had several extras such as context sensitive help, direct selection from the screen, and all information displayed on one screen.

We requiMared a non-experienced student to operate the system easily, and this appears to be true. A student could add, delete, or change lectures, labs or tutorials easily. The restrictions such as class size, prerequisite checks, maximum number of courses registered in, and registration deadlines were handled. Student login security meets our requirements. Online help was sufficient, but could be presented in a more pleasing manner.

Added to project:

The requirements vaguely defined the user interface, so as to allow the supplier more freedom in designing an easy to use interface. As such, the requirements focused on functionality. We did not directly specify the system administration functionality which the supplier added. The graphical user interface was a good addition to the project that we were expecting, but did not specify. Context sensitive help.

Subtracted from project:

The multi-user capability was not demonstrated. Due to time constraints we agreed to implement this at a later date. Also, the telephone dial in feature was not provided since we agreed to implement it at a later date after the basic system was working.

The product does not allow students to print time tables, or system administrators to print class lists.

Design Process:

We were disappointed with the design process. However, we did learn how to work in a large group. We were made aware of the communication required between group members, and the supplier group. For example, from our original specifications the supplier thought we wanted a text based system solely to support the dial in feature. The dial in feature was very low on our priority list. The legal ramifications involved in the specification documents, and the trust placed in the supplier to do an adequate job. Large groups are very dysfunctional. We accomplished a lot more when the work was divided and allotted to smaller groups. Natural group dynamics eventually resulted in small groups forming to do specific tasks regularly and on time. The course structure did not allow alot flexibility in the design process. If the purpose of the course was to show us what we did not know, then it succeeded. If the course was to provide us with techniques to handle the problems, it did not give us much practical experience with them.

We were required to meet deadlines, but having size specifications to the documents resulted in more concern over the length instead of the content. The deadlines did not allow enough time to review the latest document before the next group meeting.
Exposure to many different viewpoints was very useful.

Proposals for Improvement:

We did not feel that it would take a whole semester to introduce us to the problems. We felt the time could be better used by using shorter projects and introducing the learning cycle to the process. It takes at least three exposures to a new concept before it is learned. The first exposure is simply that a first exposure, the concepts are new and probably not understood. The second time through the student gets to work with them such as through a directed exercise. The third exposure is implementation on their own. This cycle could be served better by shorter project. An advantage to this is that it would allow students to explore different methods of development rather than being restricted by the documents to the waterfall method. For example if there were a 3 week project in which which we had to complete the steps of specification and production we could learn the problems and then get on to solving them. The 3 week problem would give us time to learn the theory in lectures. The second assignment would involve looking at the processes we use in the project and developing ways to improve them. Again, another short project to look at the process again and apply what we learned to the next project. More attention to due times would make the scheduled lab time more useful. As it was, documents were due at 1:00pm on Tuesdays or Thursdays which did not give most people enough time to review the documents before the labs. If the deadlines were on Monday or Wednesday the lab time would have been more useful. As a result we could have made better use of the TA's. The deadlines for the customer were short deflected the importance of reviewing the supplier's document. This experience would be valuable if you were asked to evaluate someone else's project (real world) to determine if it met the needs of the Customer. If we had one project for all groups, the advantage would be that we would see the specification from two different angles. It would be easier to come up with an interesting project, it would be easier for the TA's to grade, and it would encourage more discussion between fellow students, even if they were not in your group. One idea put forward in our group was to have a TA lead the group through the process. We realize this would be expensive and the TA's would require alot more expertise. We feel it may be a more efficient way of teaching us the SEI process improvement strategies. We will find out what we do not know soon enough when we hit the real world. What we need to learn here is techniques to deal with it. Having designated rooms available for each customer/supplier group instead of for each lab designation would be beneficial. Instructions on good web page design since marks were dependent on the presentation of the documents. Knowing how to put something up on the web and doing so well are to different things. The central directory to the project web pages should also include a link to the supplier's web page.

General U