A trip to the Worcester Art Museum

This week, I met my fellow classmates at the Worcester Art Museum (WAM) to meet our new “client.”  It is the start of our semester long project that will give us the hands on experience to properly develop and deploy a real production application that will be used outside of schooling.  I can safely say that this semester is going to be a very big deal, and it feels like it will be the most important class I’ve taken at WSU.  Software Development Process with Professor Karl Wurst – It is a very exciting time.   

We met with Katrina Stacy and Tim Furman, who were very friendly and welcoming to the group. They would be our main contacts at the WAM, and consequently our clients for this project.  We got a chance to talk about their needs, and we got a feel for what they were looking for.  I was hoping for more clear cut definitions of what they were looking for, but the entire project was very open to different ideas.  That was OK – Since many of us are not familiar with HTML5, it is probably best to have as much flexibility as possible with the project, depending on what we can or cannot develop in our time constraints.  Overall, it was a great start, and I could feel the excitement building. 

I’m actually more excited to try out our new collaboration tools than I am about the actual development process.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the idea of getting hands-on experience with HTML5 and mobile apps, but proper project management skills go a long way, and will be more valuable in the long run after each passing technology.  Even so, this actually all feels very familiar to me – starting with an idea, meeting with the client, brainstorming, planning, etc.  I’ve gone through this process many times before with my various development projects at work.  Management requests a need, a meeting is held to propose a solution, numerous meetings follow to approve changes, and a final release is done.  This time, however, I won’t be taking the process for granted.  We will truly utilize proper project management and collaboration tools online, and we will be working together with over 15 team members, a far larger development group than I am used to.  The overall process is the same, but in a very different environment, and at a much larger scale.  

This project will take a lot of time and effort.  We’ll be learning something new in many different respects: working with a client, working with a large development team, learning new technologies in HTML5, learning to work with mobile devices, and maybe even learning a little art history.  I just hope that I’ll be able to devote the amount of time to the project as I would like.  A new house, a new family, and a new position at work have really made the schedule tight.  I’ll just have to make time because the opportunity to help develop something like this could be over before I know it.  

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