CS3216 Lecture (Week 7)

Date of Lecture: 30 September 2013

Summary and feelings of the day:
There were two presenters of the day! The first being Uncle Jim and the second being a guy from PayPal! We were recommended to listen to the presentations in order to answer certain questions from Uncle Jim.

The first presenter of the day is Uncle Jim, giving a speech on his CS3216 Final Assignment experiences with regards to team dynamics. In a snapshot, he encountered a rough start and the journey through the project was nothing short of excitement (and/or anger). There was only one code the the group of three and the poor coder had to pick up xcode within a short time-span of six weeks. Incredible! Anyway, his project was a Carpool application called iMeetU. It looks pretty amazing and I am sure choosing iOS over HTML5 was a great decision. Here are the questions that he posed to the floor.

Question 1: How much control and authority would you have given to this fourth voice in our choice of platforms (HTML5/native iOS)?
Well, the fourth voice in this scenario refers to a guy who offered to extend his expertise to his group. If I was in the group, I’ll definitely take up his offer. It is better to have 1+X amount of help, whatever X may be. Therefore, if the fourth voice suggests native iOS over HTML5 and is willing to provide manpower to the team, I’ll take it.

Question 2: With the deadline just 2 weeks away, how would you, as project manager, resolved this problem if it were to occur within the team?
Well, “this problem” refers to the ongoing development of two different platforms. A choice has to be made. HTML5 or native iOS? With only one programmer who wasn’t inclined toward native iOS, and two business team members who could try picking up HTML5…. Well, it depends on the situation at that moment. First of all, how well-acquainted is the coder with the native iOS now? Secondly, how much have the two non-programmers picked up HTML5? To each of the questions, I would pose another two. Good enough to proceed on? Or still lagging behind pretty badly? It is pretty much a comparison on how much manpower could possibly be allocated to the two different platforms. If iOS outweighs HTML5, choose iOS and vice versa.

Question 3: What are some of the issues that we presented that could have happened to any team? List down 3, and talk about how you would have resolved these issues.
1. Disparity in the choice of platform: I think this issue HAS to be resolved as early as possible. In fact, before the construction of the application even begins, a decision has to be made. I’ll probably allow the coder to have a week to get a feel of xcode and asked him to make a choice. Meanwhile, the non-programmers would go about doing the non-technical stuffs. Like building a mock-up, doing surveys.
2. Indecisiveness: The real cause of this unfortunate but turned sweet episode is their indecisiveness, their inability to make a choice. It is extremely important to have a member with good critical analytical skill to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, so as to obtain the best possible decision for the team. Either that, or a voting system could be in place. But of course, the options must be reasonable and clearly though through as well.
3. Arguments: Well, I think this is quite inevitable in project works. Actually I would view this as a healthy practice in a team, if it is not overdone. It is better to have team members who speak out their displeasure than to suffer in silence. Maybe the spoken opinions would make an excellent pivotal change in their application. Still, if an argument is too heated, it would be detrimental to a team’s dynamic. It would be helping if everyone in the team are mindful of their attitudes during discussion and should any argument breaks out, someone has to step up and be the mediating party.

The second speaker is a Paypal guy! He described PayPal processes and some questions raised were pretty interesting. Are there any other monetization models that do not fit into any category? What is the major difference between Gateway and Checkout? What is the difference between authorization and settlement?

A short lecture, finally! We were released at 8:35pm!!

Gems of the day:
Lessons learnt from Uncle Jim and the open possibility of interning in PayPal.

Additional comments:
Mid-term on Friday and Saturday! Off to study!

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