Maxco Team Journal and Reflections

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Team Journal

Week 1

Various tasks that we undertook within 6 days

  • Meet up with our new sponsor and discused about the new requirements
  • Consult our supervisor during the weekends for more advice
  • Research on the various possibilities/technology/solutions and present them to our new sponsor on a Sunday
  • Meet up with our Supervisor , Client and past FYP teams under our new clients for an in-depth discussion before we conclude our proposal.

It wasn't the best start that we hoped for due to the mad rush, but this experience gave us a feel of what managing a project would be like in the industry. We realized that there are always uncertainties , and stakeholder management formed an important essence for a sucessful project.

Lastly, we are glad that our project was given the green light to work toward the project acceptance presentation by Professor Benjamin.

Week 2

  • Integrated Google Map as the base of B1G1 World
  • Initial Deployment of Facebook SDK for the Facebook Application
  • Investigating the current database structure developed for B1G!
  • Self-Study on various technologies required. Namely Facebook SDK, Facebook Query Language, Flex SDK with Eclipse and Apache Ant.
  • Reaffirmed the core functionalities and seek constant feedback from Supervisor/Clients to ensure we are on the same page.

Week 3

  • Managed to extract user information from facebook through Facebook SDK
  • Manually Developed PHP Web service that convert company address into longtitude and latitude
  • Project acceptance demo Facebook application layout completed

Week 4

  • Visual interface version 1 for Facebook implemented
  • Filter by region function is completed for B1G1 World
  • Discussion with Clients, Masami and Paul for interface feedback
  • Decided to implement Visuwords as a way to show individual giving members' linkage and giving

Week 5

  • Visual interface version 2 implemented after comments by clients and Supervisor
  • Facebook Application Syncing function is implemented.
  • Discussion with our client Masami for the revised interface

Week 6

  • Decided to use a third party library - Flare instead of Visuwords.
  • Facebook Share and Comment function is implemented
  • Discussion with Masami on on current progress
  • Solved pertaining zooming issue for B1G1 World. (Restricting the zooming parameters)

Week 7

  • Update of Documentation (Metrics and Project Development Status)
  • Reconcile functions development status with planned project schedule
  • Meet up with our clients to show latest progress and get feedback
  • Mid Term Review Presentation

Week 8

  • Making the relevant changes after comments from the reviewers and supervisor
  • Improve the current layout of Facebook
  • Primary discussion on the UI design for B1G1 Widget.
  • Poster designs and contents discussion

Week 9

  • Improve the visual aspect of B1G1 World. Integrating icons suggested by our clients into B1G1 World.
  • Make necessary changes to our Facebook application after discussion with our client
  • Started development of the Admin module and Widget

Week 10

  • Revamp Facebook Application layout to a new UI design after suggestion by client
  • Incorporating Google Map API into Admin module
  • Developing Algorithm for the admin module that allows the end user to update B1G1's partners address, through geocoding and reverse geocoding methods

Week 11

  • Widget Version 1 completed and was presented to our client
  • Poster Draft 1 completed
  • Poster Draft 2 completed after Supervisor feedback
  • Recommendation Module for B1G1 World completed

Week 12

  • The team was recommended to attend the Youth Infocomm Day
  • Widget UI design revamped after comments by clients

Week 13

  • Second Revision on Widget UI after comments by client
  • Completed the Admin Module GeoCoding and Reverse Function
  • Decided to Drop Filter by : Favorite giving for B1G1 world as it's capability is overlapped by the over filters, thus explaining it's redundancy.

Week 14

  • Completed Customized and Generic Widget with New UI
  • Revise Admin Module UI
  • Completed B1G1 World and Final Testing
  • UAT 2 and Heuristic Evaluation with Friends
  • Reconcile Planned Schedule vs Actual Schedule and other documentation
  • Preparation of Presentation Slides
  • Deployment of Working Files into Live Server

Week 15

  • Final presentation
  • Final touch up on documentation and working files before handling over to client.

Team Reflections and Highlights

Mid-Term Reflections

All the members of Team MaxCo have undoubtedly gained a lot since embarking on this exciting FYP journey. At this point, our team would like to highlight some of the takeaways that we feel have made us stronger, wiser, and more competent as IS students, future industry professionals, and of course, individuals.

Firstly and most importantly, we are proud to say that our time and people management skills have changed for the better. Having started on this project during our Industrial Attachment Programme, and now when all of us are studying as full-time students, we have learnt the importance of strict task prioritization and clever work delegation by leveraging on each of our strengths. That being said, independence was and still is a key factor in our team’s working style, and we often practice the art of self-learning by searching the internet or referring to manuals whenever working on something new.

With everyone having different external obligations and responsibilities, it was also difficult to plan for meetings, and we came to appreciate just how precious time was. Having experienced how a simple thing like miscommunication can cause so much time loss and distress to the involved parties, we saw the importance of communication and that being clear and concise takes significance over almost everything else.

We learnt to be realistic in our project quality assessment, and to take a step back and put ourselves in the shoes of a random and detached user. We created an environment where criticisms related to the project were not taken to heart, but seen as chances to improve on the project, and we all worked together towards the betterment of the finished product.

The different technologies available were both an advantage as well as disadvantage in our endeavour to expedite the production of the excellent piece of work that we all hoped to produce. The fact that we had to make crucial technological choices became apparent. Some technologies were new to us and others weren’t, and we had to research to find out which ones were worth leveraging on for our project. We went through a phase where an idea was scrapped, and a new technology was put to use, and though time-consuming, it allowed us to take a step back and consciously be made aware of the technological choices we make and its possible ramifications.

Lastly, we would like to bring up our takeaways in stakeholder management. Having the good fortune and opportunity to work with a very understanding client and project supervisor, we nevertheless saw the importance of maintaining good and frequent communication with them to get their feedback. Managing requests and suggestions had to be done with realistic and practical reasoning, and had to fit into our schedule and vision. We learnt that not all requests have to be acceded to if it could potentially throw our project plan into disarray and hinder the overall progress of the project. Counter suggestions were given instead and this served to help us think out of the box at the same time as it helped us become more proficient in managing our stakeholders.

We would like to take this chance to say that many of us have not experienced the complicated nature of working on so many different tasks at once and are grateful for this unique exposure. We have come to appreciate the amount of coordination and time needed when many different parties are working towards the same goal, and will definitely take this experience with us for years to come.

Mid-Term Highlights

Our team would like to make known a few project highlights that we feel have added value to us as students and made this FYP journey more fruitful than it already is.

Firstly, the learning curve of this project was significantly steeper than any of us had imagined. Almost everything that we’re working with had to be learned from scratch, from the business concept of our client, to the usage of Adobe Flex, the Facebook SDK and the Facebook Markup and Query language just to name a few. We did this all while studying as full-time students, with each of us taking no less than 4CUs, really testing our time-management skills and work discipline. Having to juggle this FYP project with our school, CCA and personal commitments, we are really proud to have reached this stage of the IS480 course.

With the various web browsers that are available for the future users of our application, we ran into trouble coming up with code that would ensure uniform performance over all the browsers. This served to hinder our progress and gave us much to think about, but we learnt to take this in our stride and have become better developers because of this.