Undergraduate Capstone Open Source Projects

Post Mortem

Posted by sbishop411 on 2009/12/05

Well, I almost feel as if this post should be titled “Pre Moretm,” simply because my work on this project is far from over. Admittedly, I have not had a fraction of the time that I thought I would have at the beginning of the semester, leaving me with a laundry list of work that still needs to be done on Ingres. For the entirety of this semester, it never ceased to amaze me how even though my class work load (projects, assignments, exams, etc.) kept on getting bigger and busier, but the Ingres team just kept plugging on. I suppose that’s the nature of any large-scale open source project that’s still “alive” and well, if you stop for even one second, it’s going to keep moving and leave you in it’s dust.

There are several factors that contributed to my falling behind on my Ingres course work, but I believe the most significant one to be my inability to properly manage deadlines on a large scale. I’ve found that when it comes to internal project deadlines, I’m usually able to meet them with something close to or exceeding the assignment specifications. On the other hand, managing multiple internal deadlines across multiple projects has become quite difficult for me. As a team manager for a group project in my software engineering class, I usually have some sort of deadline to meet every 3 to 4 days. On top of that, weekly assignments and bi-weekly projects from my media processing class make my academic schedule even more complicated. Finally, if you mix in my exams in for all four of my local classes, you’ll have a schedule that certainly does not lend itself well to yet another work load with semi-frequent deliverables.

Regardless, here are the best and the worst of the experiences that I’ve had while working on UCOSP project:

Pro: I think that the best thing I’ll take away from this semester would have to be the experience of working on a distributed team with such a fine collection of students. Despite the difficult that I’ve had keeping up with Ingres on top of my already busy academic schedule, they seem to be managing their time quite well. Hopefully I can learn something from them!

Con: I believe that one of the larger con’s that I’ve experienced during UCOSP was having to use a blog to create status reports. Some students (such as myself) do not write or follow blogs, which I believe negatively impacted the quality and frequency of my status reports. Rather than posting to a blog, which to me felt like an improper use of time, I believe that more frequent team meetings and teleconferences would produce better work out of all team members. Frequent meeting would keep each team member accountable for their own work, and teleconferences would allow members to interact on a much more personal level than that of a blog. Rather than turning the students participating in UCOSP into yet another voice on the internet with something to say, I believe that it would be more beneficial to turn them into another user with something to do.

One Response to “Post Mortem”

  1. Chani said

    blogs and team meetings are both important. you need to discuss things with your team, but you should also tell the outside world what’s going on. A project that looks alive and well is more likely to get new users – and contributors.

    of course, this works a lot better when you’re blogging because you did something cool instead of because the teacher made you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    as for time management… I’m still trying to figure that one out myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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