Conflicts of Phases

I wrote this one since 2008/09/26 and decided not to published it.

Since I’m graduated now… I feel an ease in releasing it. Since it might be useful for someone with similar kind of project.


I’m really pissed off and I’m going to complain only today.

In the last semester, we have a Software Engineering Project. What we need to create is a web-application that allow people to trade their credit cards’ points for .

It sounds relatively easy project. And if you have experience in writing plug-in into CMS, it can be done by CMS in a few days. However, the difficulty and complexity lies beyond the system itself.

  1. One group consists of 11 people …. yes, for a such small project.
  2. What professors expect from us is not a good software, but the (most) perfect documentation.
  3. You have to use Waterfall model and milestones are Proposal, Requirement, Design, Test phases
  4. It’s very hard to talk with client (professor) about requirement.

Right now, we’re after Test phases and going to hand in final report next week. These are results…

  1. We divide people into development team and document team. The result is dreadful, due to inconsistency between software and document.
  2. Because… most of people in development team never understand any of documents, instead of asking they’ll code they way they want.
  3. Because I’m aware of this problem, I let one person in development team participate in making document. I don’t know what happen, but it doesn’t work.
  4. Since they don’t get paid for doing this project. Some people in team is never active in the project. Unless you call them, they will really do nothing. You can’t expect them to be active until deadline is coming.
  5. You can’t think that you have 11 people, you can only count the people who is not in #4.
  6. Dividing a document work to more than 3 people will kill the person who are going to merge them. He’ll have to spend more efforts to make them consistency than to make all documents by himself.
  7. If you don’t have the same leader in all phases, the documents will be messed up by inconsistency. If you do, the leader might die during phase 3 because of too much load in fixing inconsistency.
  8. Are there a way to avoid consistency?
  9. I used template and assigned one person to make it. It turned out that the template is wrong itself. That took me 8 hours at night to fix all incorrect documents.

Come to think of it, this is a failure in project management. Nearly half of final report is done by myself even though we have 11 people. It’s not that nobody’s doing it, but it’s because in the end, I must rewrite every divided tasks myself. As a result everyone wasted their time.

There’s no value in the document. Dev team doesn’t care it because they didn’t do it and it’s against the normal way of implementation. ( I do know that they complain about it, even I never be with them) Also, the document itself is full of the information professors want to know, but not the dev team want to know. And if you miss the topic the professors want, you lose points.

  1. #1 by wiennat on April 26, 2009 - 5:14 am

    #4 is an example for pareto principle (

    11 people is too many for a small project. 3-5, at most, is perfect for this kind of project. The rest should work together on document work. In design phase, let all member discuss and find the conclusion. After that, work on their own. If developer found a flaw of design in later phase, he should discuss it with all team member to notify the flaw.

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