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ITGM748: Project A

Part 1: Proposal

Objective
Create an original and creative final project proposal. The concept must contain an overview of the overall structure, a basic plan for completion, and how it relates to your chosen field of study. Your concept should also detail why this idea demonstrates your mastery over the subject matter and why it is a fitting and comprehensive completion of your studies.

Be as detailed as possible, and include any images or other media that supports your proposal. Many concept documents are in the range of two to five pages. Select your idea carefully, as this will define your time during your Master’s program and your degree. You should consider the originality of the idea, the breadth and depth of the undertaking, and whether it genuinely reflects a core aspect of your studies and interest. You should also select something that you will not mind working on for hours, because you will do just that.

Process Outline
Conceive of an original and creative final project proposal that demonstrates your mastery over your chosen subject matter. It must be one cohesive idea and not a collection of smaller unrelated projects. Your final project proposal should describe in detail not only how it fits with your prior coursework, but also how it extends and provides a means for continuing skill development and mastery.

Take a look through your own coursework for areas that interested you, show a need for improvement, or provide a springboard for further, more detailed development. Your project idea should be of sufficient size in scope to be completed during this course, but also be substantial enough to demonstrate mastery of your skills.

Discuss your idea with your professor or advisor if you are unsure about a proper scope.

If this process seems daunting—it is. Bear in mind that you will have the opportunity to continuously revise and iterate upon your original idea, and nothing you write here should be considered in its final form. However, having a solid and well-thought- out idea at this stage will only serve to make your future exercises and the final project a stronger piece of work.

Process Questions
Listed below is a series of queries designed to aid you in addressing the topics in the process outline section. While not all of these questions may be relevant to your particular proposal, they indicate the general nature, direction, and level of detail you should be trying to achieve. Do not feel as if you must address every one of these questions or change your project if a question does not apply. They are merely ideas to get you started thinking along the right track. Do not simply write one- sentence answers to these questions and use this as your proposal document. Your document should be written in a standard form and not be a list of uncollected bullet-point statements.

What similar or related projects have you completed in previous classes? How do these prepare you for your final project proposal?
+ How does this proposal idea relate or tie together your chosen areas of study?
+ Does the proposal adequately show the full breadth and scope of your skills and interest?
+ Is your project proposal of sufficient size to warrant nine units of work? What can you change to make it fit?
+ Does the proposed project demonstrate a mastery of a skill or theory?
+ Does the proposed project detail something new or unique for the industry as a whole?
+ How does your proposal fit into your greater career goals?
+ Is there something from outside your coursework, such as a different skill set, that you can use to tie in and enrich your idea?

Grading
The proposal must include enough information about the proposed idea to get a good sense of scope and direction. The proposal must be of fitting size and scope to serve as your final project and must show an accumulation and synthesis of your chosen branch of studies.

The proposal must be brief and succinct. Do not ramble on. The proposal must be clear and not muddled. There should not be any ambiguity in your answers and descriptions. Be decisive. The proposed idea must be original. There should not be a previous final project, prior work, or anything from which you are deriving your ideas completely. It is perfectly acceptable to have inspirational sources, but your product should not mimic or resemble these.

Project A, Part 1 is worth 5% of your overall grade in this class.
You will be graded according to the criteria specified in the Grading Rubric: Project A, Part 1: Proposal.

Submission and Due Dates
Power Point Presentation due on Class 02.

Part 2: Outline and Schedule

Objective
Create a basic schedule, outlineand task list for your project. This will serve as your main driving force and guide through the course and must be complete. Implement your choice of task management platforms (as discussed in the lecture).

Submit your outline as a PDF file and a Power Point Presentation.

Process Outline
Start breaking down your project idea into concrete pieces. Turn your idea into a list of actual tasks you will need to perform in order to complete it. To begin, find the different, overarching areas of your project and write those down. Then work from each of those to make it more granular. Don’t break down each task as far as it can go, as this will usually lead to too much confusion, but rather stop when you get the task to a level that feels like something you could accomplish in a day or two. Also include any tasks that are more intangible, such as setting aside time to research or learn a new skill.

Now take all these granular-level tasks and compile them in a separate document. Spreadsheets can be useful for this. This compiled list is your task list, and you’ll need to create a schedule from it. Start by making quick guesses, or estimates, for how long each task will take and record these.

Look at the time you have left, and begin to lay out your tasks so that you finish the project on time. You may find you need to overlap some things or revise a few time estimates. You may also find that perhaps your project idea looks like it’s too small or large in scale, now, that you’re trying to lay it all out. Revise and iterate upon your project idea until you’re happy with how it fits. Remember that this isn’t just fitting pieces into a puzzle, and that you will need to work close to the schedule you create in order to complete your project.

Process Questions
Listed below is a series of queries designed to aid you in addressing the topics in the Process Outline section. While not all of these questions may be relevant to your particular project, they indicate the general nature, direction, and level of detail you should be trying to achieve. Do not feel as if you must address every one of these questions if they do not pertain. They are merely ideas to get you started thinking along the right track. Do not simply write one-sentence answers to these questions and use this as your document.

+ How have you tackled smaller, similar projects in the past?
+ How do you like to work? Do you like to break down a project and work on tiny pieces in a linear fashion or jump around between different bits?
+ Do you have any planned vacation or known issues you’ll need to work around? Do you know now that you won’t get a lot done in a certain week?
+ Have you found yourself rushing in the past to complete things at the last minute? Do you always build contingency time into your planning?
+ Does your project have any clear delineations or pieces that make them easy to work on separately? Does it have pieces that depend on others being finished first?
+ Take a quick look at the course’s assignments and scheduled turn-ins– does your project’s schedule line up well with this?

Grading
The outline should take into account all parts of your project.
+ The schedule must span the entire length of the course and not have needless fluff.
+ The schedule should, however, not be so tight that it does not leave room for error. Try to build in contingency time where you can.
+ No one task of the schedule should span for longer than five days. If you find tasks that do, break them up into smaller tasks.
+ The outline should be presented clearly and cleanly and should be easy for anyone to follow.
+ The schedule should be presented in a clear format that makes it easy to see which tasks need to be started and completed by what date.

Part 2 of Project A is worth 5% of your overall grade in this class. You will be graded according to the criteria specified in the Grading Rubric: Project A, Part 2: Schedule and Outline.

Submission and Due Dates
Power Point Presentation due on Class 03.

Part 3: Proof of Concept

Objective
Submit a part of your project that demonstrates a proof of concept or working prototype. Your submission needs to show in some way that you are capable of performing the work required on the project as well as finishing it in a timely manner.

The proof of concept presentation needs to clearly show everything you wish to say, as you won’t have the opportunity to deliver it in person.

This doesn’t have to be a lengthy presentation (you may find as few as five slides are enough), but it does need to be complete.

Process Outline
Begin by looking at what kind of project you are making, and how best to show off its charms and features quickly and efficiently. Take a look at your proposal again, and pick out the main features—what really sets your project apart from others?

This answer is probably what you’ll want to prototype. If you’re doing something complex like a game, you may find you only have the time and resources to flesh out a few mechanics and get them on paper, and that a few side rules are left out. As long as the MAJOR points of your project are represented, you’ll be able to adequately show anyone your idea.

Once you have your prototype in working or viewable order, you’ll need to pick a way to best showcase it. The old adage “70% how you look, 20% how you sound, and 10% what you say” is unfortunately still true in some industry circles, and you wouldn’t want to lose your one chance by not taking the time to polish your presentation.

For this assignment, you’ll need to create some kind of slide presentation, whether that be with PowerPoint, sequentially numbered images (1.jpg, 2.jpg, 3.jpg, etc.), or some other way that allows a user easy access. Your presentation should start with a cover slide (described below), a slide for a basic outline and schedule, and then a slide detailing the main features of your project. (If you find you need more slides or want to change the order, that’s fine.) If your prototype can fit into the slides themselves, put it there. Otherwise, provide a link or directions for running or viewing your prototype, and make sure it’s easy to find.

Your prototype should have a descriptive slide for directions or main features, even
if it’s located outside the presentation. Run your presentation past a friend to check for clarity, or post working versions of it to the Discussion Board for feedback. Make sure to describe in your presentation WHY this prototype fulfills the requirements. Remember you can also show past work if you think it will help clarify a point or show feasibility. While your prototype does need to be new and unique for your project, old work can sometimes help with explanations. This is your first formal presentation of your final project, so make it shine!

Process Questions
Listed below is a series of queries designed to aid you in addressing the topics in the Process Outline section. While not all of these questions may be relevant to your particular project, they indicate the general nature, direction, and level of detail you should be trying to achieve. Do not feel as if you must address every one of these questions if they do not pertain. They are merely ideas to get you started thinking along the right track.
+ What’s one of the most defining aspects of your project? Is there something in particular it all hinges upon?
+ If your defining aspect is too large, is there some major piece of it that you can show?
+ What would give an accurate representation of your project at its most basic stage?
+ Is your project interactive? Is there a means by which you can get part of it up and running so someone can test it?
+ Is there anything similar you’ve done in the past that you can reference? How did you tackle this project? How does it relate to your current one?
+ If you were a publisher looking to spend money on your project, what would you like to see to give the thumbs-up?
+ How would you want to review a project presentation? Would you want to have complete control over the transitions in the slides, or would you prefer to sit back and have it play itself?

Grading
+ The presentation needs to be a PowerPoint presentation, or some other form of easily navigated “slides.” Any file that needs to be run, such as a separate movie or executable file, should be included and linked so it’s easy to find.
+ The presentation must be visually polished and clearly written. Each slide or frame needs to be well documented and clear, as you won’t be able to answer questions on the fly.

+ The proof of concept needs to clearly demonstrate that you are capable of the work, the project, idea is sound, and that it can be finished in a timely manner.
+ Your presentation should have a cover slide or page that shows your name, the project name, date, professor’s name, and course number. Part 3 of Project A is worth 5% of your overall grade in this class. You will be graded according to the criteria specified in the Grading Rubric: Project A, Part 3: Proof of Concept.

Submission and Due Dates
Power Point Presentation and Prototype due on Class 07.

Part 4: Risk Assessment

Objective
Submit a risk-assessment document complete with at least one contingency plan for each listed risk. Your risk assessment should take into account all possible major risks, things that could derail your project completely. You don’t need to include small, day-to- day issues that are quickly solvable. For your contingency plans, include at least one possible plan for each risk, listing all the actions you’ll need to take to mitigate the risk.

Process Outline
To start, document all the issues that have arisen in your project so far, and list the exact reasons why they did occur. Be critical and realistic. Draw any connections between these issues, and look for common causes to the problems. Next, look at your task list and look for these common causes. If there are any similar situations looming on the horizon, write these down as possible risks. Also, take unknown factors, such as a new computer part you need arriving on time, and list these as possible risks. Tight scheduling and unexpected sickness are also types of risk. Remember, you only have five units left before your final turn-in, so time remaining could very well be a risk.

Once you have your major risks listed, write up at least one contingency plan for each. It’s all right to have multiple options and plans for each risk, if you find this works better for you. Make sure each contingency is a list of concrete steps and actions for you to take; otherwise it’s not much of a helpful plan.

Present your three main risks and their associated contingencies in a DOC, PDF, and a PowerPoint presentation.

Process Questions
Listed below is a series of queries designed to aid you in addressing the topics in the Process Outline section. While not all of these questions may be relevant to your particular project, they indicate the general nature, direction, and level of detail you should be trying to achieve. Do not feel as if you must address every one of these questions if they do not pertain. They are merely ideas to get you started thinking along the right track.

+ What has already gone wrong in the project? What’s gone wrong in past similar projects?
+ What caused these problems to arise? Was it something outside of your control or something you did?
+ Are there any common links, denominators, or patterns between the problems? Do you see an area coming up in the future that could have similar problems?
+ How have you solved problems in projects in the past? Do any of your solutions work now?
+ How do others solve similar problems? Think outside the box and look to see what others do in a similar situation.
+ Is there anything you can salvage if something goes wrong? Anything you can change or tweak to make it work? Just because something breaks doesn’t mean you need to throw it out completely. Try and see in your contingency plan if there’s something you can reuse.

The document needs to be clearly written, with each risk neatly presented. Each accompanying contingency must be a realistic plan of action and something you’ll be capable of doing.

+ Do not attempt to create risks out of fluff or write contingencies that don’t have actual concrete actions associated with them.
+ You should list at least three areas of unique major risk that have yet to occur. Do not list risks that have already happened.
+ If a contingency plan requires a major shift in your project idea, include all the pertinent information for what you’ll have to change.

Part 4 of Project A is worth 5% of your overall grade in this class. You will be graded according to the criteria specified in the Grading Rubric: Project A, Part 4: Risk Assessment.

Submission and Due Dates
Power Point Presentation and Prototype due on Class 09.