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Last updated: Aug 17, 22 15:10 UTC | Permalink

Project Overview

The assignments and project for this class are designed to mirror the experiences of a software engineer joining a new development team: you will be “onboarded” to our codebase, make several individual contributions, and then form a team to propose, develop and implement a new feature. The codebase that we’ll be developing on is a remote collaboration tool called Covey.Town. Covey.Town provides a virtual meeting space where different groups of people can have simultaneous video calls, allowing participants to drift between different conversations, just like in real life. Covey.Town is inspired by existing products like Gather.Town, Sococo, and Gatherly.IO — but it is an open source effort, and the features will be proposed and implemented by you! All implementation will take place in the TypeScript programming language, using React for the user interface.

Select projects from Spring 2022 are hosted in our project showcase.

Overview of Project Deliverables

Date Deliverable Description
2/9/22 Team Formation Specify preferences for teammates
2/18/22 Kickoff Team Meeting Meet with your assigned TA mentor to discuss your project concept
2/25/22 Project Pitch Propose a new feature for Covey.Town that can be implemented within 5 weeks
3/11/22 Project Plan Refine the scope of your feature based on staff feedback, define detailed requirements and project acceptance criteria.
4/25/22 Project Implementation and Documentation Deliver your new feature, including design documentation and tests

Team Formation

All projects will be completed in a team of 4-5 students. The very first deliverable for the project will be a team formation survey: you will be able to indicate your preferences for teammates. The instructors will assign students to the teams based on a number of factors including your responses to the survey. All students in each team must be in the same section of the class.

Complete the team formation before Feb 9.

Team Meetings with TA Mentor

Each team will be assigned a TA to act as a mentor, who will also serve as your point of contact for project grading. During the week of February 14-18, you will have a “Kickoff Meeting” with your TA mentor, where you will meet your TA mentor and have the opportunity to share any early ideas that you might want feedback on before submitting the project pitch. Once project begins in full force, you will have weekly meetings with your TA mentor (scheduled at your team’s and the TA’s convenience) in order to help ensure that you are making progress on the project, and to help address problems that you encounter (be they technical or non-technical problems).

Project Pitch

All projects will involve frontend and backend development of a new feature for Covey.Town. Once teams have been formed, you and your team will decide what kind of new feature you would like to build. Your feature should be something that can be implemented within the timeframe allotted (5 weeks), and will be implemented in a fork of the main Covey.Town codebase. Given that you will be up-to-speed on the Covey.Town codebase (and have been introduced to TypeScript, React, NodeJS, and testing frameworks), and that you will have a team of four, we expect that the feature that you propose will be more complex than the feature implemented in the individual homeworks.

The project pitch assignment will be released on February 11th.

Creating a GitHub Repository

Your team’s development must take place within a private GitHub repository in our GitHub Classroom. To create your repository, one member of your team should follow these instructions:

  1. Sign in to GitHub.com, and then use our invitation to create a repository with the covey.town codebase. You should enter your group number (e.g. “Group 7Y”) as the team name.
  2. Refresh the page, and it will show a link to your new repository, for example: https://github.com/neu-cs4530-s22/team-project-group-7y. Click the link to navigate to your new repository. This is the repository you will use for the project.
  3. Add your teammates:
    1. From your repository page, click on “Settings” (Screenshot)
    2. On the left hand sidebar, select “Collaborators and Teams” (Screenshot)
    3. You will see a single team listed, which will be the group name that you entered when creating the repository. Click on that team name. (Screenshot)
    4. From the next page, you can click on the “+” icon in order to add a team member (Screenshot)
    5. Enter the GitHub.com username for your teammate. (Screenshot)
    6. After confirming that you have selected the correct user, click the button to add your teammate. (Screenshot)
    7. Repeat steps 4-6 for each of your teammates

This repository will be private, and visible only to your team and the course staff. After the semester ends, you are welcome to make it public - you have complete administrative control of the repository.

You should create your team’s repository before submitting your project plan - your TA will ask to confirm that you have created it when you meet.

Project Plan

Based on the feedback that you receive from the course staff, you will propose a detailed plan to implement your new feature. The project plan will include:

  • Revised user stories and conditions of satisfaction (based on feedback on the project pitch)
  • Revised design documents (based on feedback on the project pitch)
  • Work breakdown: Map your user stories to engineering tasks. Assign each task to a team member (or pair of team members), provide an estimate for how long each task will take, a rationale for that estimate, and schedule those stories into 2 week sprints.

Your team will self-organize, as agile teams do and will use the work breakdown and schedule as the basis for weekly check-ins with your team’s TA.

The project plan assignment is due by March 11.

Project Implementation and Documentation

You will be assigned a mentor for your project who will work closely with you for the entire project. You will coordinate with the mentor to setup weekly meetings and regular sprint demos. Peer evaluation will also be used. Your final team deliverable will be a “release” of your new feature on GitHub (with tests), and will be accompanied by a demo. Optionally, you may also open a pull request to merge your feature into our main repository (submitting a pull request, or the pull request being merged into our codebase is independent of the grade you receive, but provides a platform for more visiblity of your project).

Your final team deliverable will include:

  • The implementation of your new feature
  • Automated tests for your new feature
  • A report

Accompanying the final team deliverable will be an individual reflection, which every student must submit on their own, which will include your reflections on:

  • The evolution of your project concept: How does the project that you delivered compare to what you originally planned to deliver? What caused these deviations?
  • The software engineering processes that you feel could have been improved in your project: were there any procesess that in hindsight, you wish that you followed, or wish that you followed better?
  • Your team dynamic: Provide a frank (and ideally, blameless) postmortem of your and your teammates collaborative performance and participation. If you had to do this same project over with the same teammates, what would you have done differently (or not) to improve your team’s overall performance?

The complete grading breakdown for the project, and details for the final project deliverable will be released by March 4th.


© 2022 Jonathan Bell, Adeel Bhutta, Ferdinand Vesely and Mitch Wand. Released under the CC BY-SA license