IS480 Team wiki: 2012T1 6-bit Learning Outcomes

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Learning Outcome

New Skills

In the course of IS480, each of us assume a different primary role. We have members focusing on the overall project management, documentation and testing, frontend development, backend development and other research roles. Hence, every one of us has gained a different group of new skills in our own role.

Retrospectively, we have had many discussion sessions for the purpose of problem-solving or reaching a consensus on workarounds for system or business constraints. In this process, we have learnt much on cross-role knowledge from each other. This learning lesson will help us gain a more holistic experience working with people who has different roles and focus.

Improving Existing Skills

PHP Development

One of the many skills improved is the grasp of PHP. In the team, some of us have amateur background working with PHP development while the rest had a brief experience working with it during IS202 Data Management.

Adopting a simple Model View Controller (MVC) model in IS480, we started off developing models and controllers of a function by blocking 1-2 man days in the schedule. Towards the end of the course, we are able to complete the same amount of work in matter of hours. While this represents a stronger programming capability, it also exhibits better problem-solving skills, deeper system understanding and greater discipline in managing our own allocated work.

Research Skills

In addition, we have also developed stronger research capabilities through the project. As with the mantra in SIS of “learning to learn”, there is a high amount of research work to be done. We have researched on a wide range of topics at every stage, some which are adopted and others are dropped.

Some of the research include external APIs, debugging, advance programming, algorithms, analytical methodologies, test evaluation, and more. In the process of research, we have referenced books, internet sources, scholarly literature and consulted many professors and researchers that we have access to. As such we have gained tremendous knowledge insights and research skills which make the entire IS480 course feels very wholesome.

We are in strong opinion that these programming and non-programming related skills will be useful when we enter the workforce in future.

Project Management (last mile)

Surely, project management is the basis of all the projects that we have gone through in SMU. However, most projects typically last for 10-12 weeks but it is a 7-months journey for us in IS480 which started in April 2012. This is probably the longest project that we have been working on, intensively throughout the period.

Towards the last mile, which is approximately the final 2 weeks, many of us felt project fatigue and started to produce work with atypical quality. Bugs started to surface and more time is required for rework which introduces greater stress and pressure.

This is a learning lesson for us to prevent project fatigue, perhaps by spacing out tasks by giving more buffers, reducing the scope and allocate more time for thorough unit test. The lessons learnt will help us manage the next project better.