Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Projects Review - class 9

VIA is an Internet applications development course introducing to mobile web applications. This is the VIA class number nine report.  

This time we had one to one discussions. We have reviewed all fourteen projects. The overall findings are very positive. The teams are working and making progress. But we have found also some problems, which can be improved.

Some of the team members are contributing more and some of them less in all teams. There is always one person contributing a major part of the code. These are the leaders, they need to take the initiative and delegate certain tasks to the less active team members. This way everybody will contribute and more work will be delivered. Everybody in the team needs to contribute.

Many students were complaining about getting stacked on some weird problem. This is typical situation in programming and I have tried to persuade the teams to immediately report the problem. There are many PhD students and other teams who may have faced a similar problem and can help immediately. The problematic code as well as good and polished parts of the code need to be shared. This is the main reason why we have started our forum. We still have to learn how to work in a larger team and share the experience. The excuse for not asking a question is most frequently: "I do not want to be considered a fool asking a stupid question".

I need some help or advice how to unleash the activity and create an atmosphere of collective knowledge sharing. We need to stop spending time finding a solution for non-documented or ill behaving code. Any advice?

Next we have realized that some of the teams are really working hard producing a lot of code, but without dropping a line of progress or documentation. This is also a typical geek behavior, which is sometimes great. Some people really work hard and produce enormous piece of code, but very frequently the code needs to be later rewritten. I have requested to start the blogs as a space for recording the work items, as a space for planning the next steps, to not lose the focus. Only some of the teams are doing a good job. Reporting and planning is a key activity in many companies. They use many different special programs for tracking the development. We need to learn the art of planning and reporting.

Only few of the teams are using github or other RCS system for archiving code. Some of the teams use zip files – no, no, no. This leads to mess, it is difficult to find the latest code, this leads to lot of mistakes and misunderstanding in the group of programmers. We have to learn to use the proven practices and organize the work properly.

Some of the teams have tendency to add more and more features to their applications. This is also one of the bad habits of the novice developers. The opposite, constant search for the simplest solution is the right direction. It takes sometimes very long time to distill the simplest UI or the simplest code, but in many cases customers appreciate simplicity.

Overall, I think, we are doing great job and I am looking forward to see the first apps running. Keep up the good work. See the projects in detail.

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