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SPSU IT 4983 Capstone Projects Report 2012-2014


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SPSU IT 4983 Capstone Project Report 2012-2014 with Project Guide (updated in Jan 2015)

SPSU IT 4983 Capstone Project Report 2012-2014 with Project Guide (updated in Jan 2015)

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  • 1. IT 4983 Capstone Project Report 2012-2014 Jack G. Zheng Dec 5, 2014
  • 2. IT 4983 Course Overview • Students work in teams to develop or implement a real-world IT solution integrating the knowledge acquired in preceding IT courses. Components emphasized include technical design, development, research, documentation, project management, leadership, team work, and communication skills. • The final result will be an IT solution addressing a typical business or organizational need such as data management or networking, which will be evaluated by faculty members, Industrial Advisory Board members, and project owners. Each project features real-world and complex challenges. • To create value-added deliverables in three categories: – Business-Value: to assist in analyzing and developing IT solutions to meet business needs. – Personal-Value: to assess what you have learned and produce a career portfolio to demonstrate your competence that will add value to your applications for jobs and/or a graduate school. Enhance your ability to function as an effective IT professional and/or project manager. – Degree-Value: to assess the key knowledge and skills throughout the BSIT degree program and the ability to articulate their relevance to career goals. • Learning Outcomes – Apply IT concepts, best practices, and standards to create a technology solution or report. – Practice soft skills in a real world IT project, including project planning and management, research and learning, communication, writing, presentation, and team work. – Produce a career portfolio for use in employment or graduate applications.
  • 3. General Project Features Involve IT related design, development, implementation, analysis and research. Have real world contexts, requirements, communications, and challenges. Are scoped to be finished in about 3 months, by a team of 3 to 5 people (with at least 120 hours of total project time per person). Include both technical components and soft skill components (such as collaboration, communication, planning, research, problem definition, project management, writing, documentation, presentation, virtual collaboration, etc.). Require students to learn and practice new knowledge and skills.
  • 4. Project Types • Focusing on the design and development of IT solutions, such as web applications, mobile applications, databases, or a combination of those, to address particular business needs. The development does not necessarily just rely on programming. Development • Focusing on the system implementation and configuration aspect. This may include the evaluation, installation, configuration, deployment, migration, and testing of IT systems (both hardware and software) to meet business needs. Examples of systems include operating systems, databases, network devices, communication systems, and enterprise applications. Implementation • Focusing on the analysis and documentation of business and IT problems and requirements, or research on technologies, products, users, and markets. The process involves various methods of data collection, analysis, and reporting. An analysis and research report is produced. Analysis / Research • A mixture of the two or three above. Hybrid
  • 5. Typical Projects • Development – Development of database driven web applications – Database design and development • Implementation – System or data migration – Network design – Install and configure systems and applications • Research/analysis – System or network analysis for performance – Traffic analysis – Security analysis • Hybrid – Research of several systems and recommend one and build a proof of concept prototype
  • 6. 2012-2014 Quick Stats • 5 semesters • 118 students • 29 Teams • 26 projects • 13 project sponsors 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Projects by Type
  • 7. Project List by Type Development: • Hawkeye video monitoring web application • BravePoint consultant performance dashboard • Sitemap Explorer: an FireFox add-on • CSE computer lab website redesign • GTA cyber threats analysis and reporting system development • CSE Active Directory data integration Implementation: • CSE VMWare ThinApp deployment • CSE VMWare Persona deployment • CSE Lync implementation • CSE Openfire/Spark implementation • ARN Single Sign-On (ADFS) implementation • CSE KVM • CSE social hub Analysis/Research: • SPSU website traffic analysis • GTA threat analysis and report • GTA intrusion signature research and analysis • ARN network research and requirement analysis • ARN use cases requirement analysis • Team collaboration system research Hybrid • FoxPro data and report migration • ICS school intranet portal • CSE SharePoint intranet portal • ARN CRM research and implementation • ARN website • GTRI ticket system • CVI volunteer management system
  • 8. Major Project Sponsors • External – BravePoint Inc. – Georgia Tech Research Institute – Georgia Technology Authority – In-Touch IT – International Community College – Center for Visual Impaired • Internal – SPSU University IT Services – SPSU Stinger IT (ARN) – SPSU Web Services – College of Computing and Software Engineering (CSE) – CSE Lab – CSE faculty
  • 9. Technologies and Products • Products – Microsoft: Exchange, Lync, SQL Server, ADFS, SharePoint, Active Directory, Project Server, IIS, ASP.Net, C#, FoxPro, SSIS, SSRS, – VMWare: ThinApp, Persona, etc. – Open Source: MySQL, WordPress, PHP, Linux, OpenFire/Spark, jQuery, Bootstrap, Zurmo, CiviCRM – Other: Google Analytics, Google Docs, Google Hangouts, QlikView, FireFox, CISCO router, etc. • Concepts and technologies – AJAX, mobile, responsive design, UML – CRM, CMS, XML – Virtualization, security – Virtual collaboration
  • 10. Featured Projects • The following slides provide more information about these projects – CSE intranet portal – SPSU website traffic analytics – BravePoint performance dashboard – GTA cyber threats analysis and reporting – FoxPro data migration – GTRI ELSYS ticket system
  • 11. CSE Intranet Portal • Overview – College of Computing and Software Engineering (CSE) needs an intranet portal that provides unified access to information and applications to faculty, staff, and students. Microsoft SharePoint was chosen to be researched and tested in this project. The portal will also provide a framework for future CSE application development (such as class wait list, BI, project management, document sharing, etc.). • Major work and deliverables – Implement SharePoint server on Windows server together with SQL Server. – Integrate with the CSE active directory for authentication service, and configure the Windows integrated authentication. – Develop or configure major applications including: • Document management, calendar, discussion board, directory, survey, etc. – Customize the intranet to be consistent with CSE website style. • Project sponsor – College of Computing and Software Engineering
  • 12. SPSU Website Traffic Analytics • Overview – SPSU’s new website uses Google Analytics to record web usage. We have a lot of usage data but did not really make use of them. In this project, students analyzed the traffic data related to CSE websites (CSE, CS, IT, etc.) to understand visitors and recommended web site improvements. • Major work and deliverables – Analyze Google Analytics data for CSE related web sites – Discover and report notable facts and trends, and analyze problems, causes and impacts, based on student's expertise and project owners’ requirements – Recommend CSE website improvements based on the analysis – Build custom reports and dashboards for CSE using Google Analytics – Recommend possible Google Analytics settings and configurations • Project sponsor – SPSU Web Services
  • 13. BravePoint Performance Dashboard • Overview – BravePoint uses a custom system to manage consultant work and project contracts. The management wanted to analyze the performance data using a dashboard based tool. The student team was required to utilize Qlikview as the desired technology to deliver the executive dashboard. • Major work and deliverables – Discover and define key performance indicators (KPIs) through interviews with major stake holders. – Design data points and develop requested dashboards using Qlikview. – Document entire process for users of executive dashboard. • Project sponsor – BravePoint Inc.
  • 14. GTA Cyber Threat Reports • Overview – In this project, students worked with the Office of Information Security, Georgia Technology Authority. The team assisted in the implementation and performance of activities related to cyber security, cybercrime support, and cyber terrorism analysis as part of the State’s responsibilities under the US Dept. of Homeland Security, National Cyber Incident Response Plan of 2010. • Major work and deliverables – Perform collection, analysis, and dissemination of information relative to cyber threats, cyber-attacks of a terrorist or criminal nature within and against the State of Georgia, its citizens, or infrastructure. – Perform research and collect information through open sources. – Develop or employ an analysis framework and build a database to store incidents and threats data. – Produce a monthly report, and improve the report with quantitative data and various visualizations. – Develop a web application to access and manage the data • Project sponsor – Georgia Technology Authority
  • 15. FoxPro Migration • Overview – X (anonymized) is a tabletop manufacturing company which has used FoxPro database for the past 20 years. The FoxPro database was terminated by Microsoft in 2007 and the support will end in 2015. The company has the need to migrate its database to a new database platform. In this project, the team helped the client to analyze and implement the migration plan. • Major work and deliverables – Design a new database using SQL Server and document the design – Import FoxPro data to SQL Server. Write scripts to regularly (every X hours) update the SQL Server with updated FoxPro data. – Write queries and generate a few reports from the data. – Maximize the use of tools/functions/procedures that are built into MS SQL Server, in order to make the solution as standard as possible. – Produce emails to customers with shipping information. • Project sponsor – In-Touch IT Computer Services
  • 16. GTRI-ELSYS Ticket System • Overview – The Georgia Tech Research Institute Electronic Systems Laboratory (GTRI-ELSYS) is an applied research organization that provides technical solutions to a variety of sponsors and supports about 450 researchers and staff. The computer support department currently uses Kayako’s eSupport, version 3.70, a web application for submitting trouble tickets. This version is rather outdated and Kayako has completely re-engineered their currently offered ticket software. GTRI-ELSYS would like to either get this system upgraded to the latest version Kayako provides or purchase a new system and migrate the tickets over. • Major work and deliverables – Research and determine the feasibility of both upgrading and replacing the existing software – Provide possible solutions with an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) – Develop implementation plan for the chosen solution – Create process documentation and scripts, if necessary, for migrating ticket data to new system – Implement the new ticketing system • Project sponsor – Georgia Tech Research Institute Electronic Systems Laboratory
  • 17. Poster sessions were organized before formal presentations to project owners, faculty, and industry advisory board members More photos:
  • 18. More Information • IT Capstone report 2012-2014 – capstonereport2012 • IT Capstone Course Information – – • LinkedIn Group – • College of CSE – • IT department –
  • 19. SPSU IT Graduates Group • Goals – Prepare upcoming graduates of the IT department to network with SPSU IT alumni and IT professionals – Build an online community for SPSU IT alumni, faculty, advisors, and guests – Discuss IT career related issues, concerns, ideas, and trends – Discuss IT education, particularly post- baccalaureate education and life long learning Students used LinkedIn to create their career portfolios/profiles and were encouraged to join the group.
  • 20. Page 1 of 6 KSU IT 4983 Capstone Project Guide By Jack Zheng Last updated on Jan 5, 2015 General Information IT 4983 capstone projects give students a chance to apply their knowledge and skills in a real world IT project in teams. It is a required concluding course of the BSIT degree program. General project features Involve IT related design, development, implementation, analysis and research. Have real world contexts, requirements, communications, and challenges. Are scoped to be finished in about 3 months, by a team of 3 to 5 people (with at least 120 hours of total project time per person). Include both technical components and soft skill components (such as collaboration, communication, planning, research, problem definition, project management, writing, documentation, presentation, virtual collaboration, etc.). Require students to learn and practice new knowledge and skills. Basic project types Please visit for more project examples and their descriptions. Project stakeholders Stakeholder Roles/Expectations Instructor  Coordinate and manage all projects at the high level.  Provide administrative assistance.  Help to provide technical and informational resources to students.  Provide feedback to project progress, team performance, reports and presentations.
  • 21. Page 2 of 6  Help with presentation and poster preparation.  Evaluate the complete project process and team performance: planning, progress report, and final report.  Facilitate team communication and collaboration.  Provide technical consultancy as requested to a certain level. Project owner/sponsor  Provide clear and detailed project goals and expectations.  Keep the project on track and in scope but maintain appropriate workload and difficulty level.  Provide resource and technical assistance if possible.  Keep communication open and give prompt feedback to students.  Communicate with the instructor on penitential issues and any possible change.  Evaluate final project deliverables and student performance for the entire project. Students  Actively participate in the team meetings and other activities.  Complete assigned task on time. Contribute to the success of the group project.  Embrace challenges and try to work out solutions independently.  Complete milestones and reports on time.  Attend required class and group meetings.  Check D2L regularly for important announcements, discussions, and assignments. Submit work on time according to the course schedule or other specific requirements.  Be proactive and active; keep communication well; respond to emails promptly.  Learn new IT knowledge and skills if necessary.  Be objective and honest when doing peer evaluations. Basic process (3 stages) Project Initiation Project preparation The instructor seeks and prepares a project list. A project charter of each project will be posted. This document briefly describes the basic project background, major work and expected outcomes, skills/knowledge involved, recommended team size, project owner information, and references. These documents will be available in the first week of the semester. Project assignment/recruitment Project owners are invited to the first class meeting to share more details and answer questions. Students can consult with the instructor or project owner for more detailed information. •Project preparation •Project assignment and team building Initiation (within the first 3 to 4 weeks) •Kickoff meeting •Project plan •2 milestone reporting •Porformance feedback Progression (next 10 to 12 weeks) •Project acceptance •Dept presentation •Final report package •Final evaluation Conclusion (final 2 weeks)
  • 22. Page 3 of 6 The assignment process simulates an internal recruiting process commonly adopted in many project-based consulting companies. Students will apply to projects by submitting a brief resume and responding to a questionnaire about their background, skills, learning expectations, preference of projects and team members, meeting availability, etc. This should be completed as soon as possible within one week. Prompt response will facilitate the recruitment process. The instructor (and project owners if necessary) will assign teams and projects based on a combination of questionnaire results, project needs, project owner needs, and other factors. Team building Generally, each team consists of 3 to 5 people. Each team should have the following roles. Roles are not exclusive to each other. Any person can take on multiple roles. The assignment depends on your team size, skill sets, communication styles, and each person’s expectations. Role Responsibilities Team manager/lead (one person required)  Acts as the leader and manager of the team.  Needs strong leadership and project management skills.  Practices project management activities including coordinating team activities, tracking project progress and schedule, keeping meeting minutes and activity logs, compiling and submitting required reports, etc.  Is the dedicated contacting person for the team; make timely communication with the project owner and the instructor.  Arranges all kinds of meetings; participates in all required meetings and ensures everyone is aware of the project status and plans. Technical specialist (multiple people)  Is the driving force to analyze, design, develop, and implement technical solutions.  Conducts research on concepts, technologies, products, and systems.  Provides materials to the team leader or the technical writer for all reports. Technical writer (one person recommended)  Prepares required research reports, documentations, manuals, tutorials, references, etc.  Helps to document project-relevant learning, materials, and activities.  Prepares presentation and poster materials. Project Progression Kickoff meeting The kickoff meeting (with the instructor and the project owner) should be scheduled as soon as the team and project is determined. The major purpose of the meeting is to develop a project plan. Project plan The project plan is a very important document to define project objectives, milestones, final deliverables, collaboration plans, and schedules. A template will be provided to guide the plan development. A draft plan should be completed in the kickoff meeting and finalized (approved) by the fourth week of the semester. The plan should be confirmed and approved by both the project owner and instructor. It may be adjusted later in the semester but should be fully justified and documented.
  • 23. Page 4 of 6 Milestone reports The project lasts about 12 weeks. There will be a milestone report every four weeks. The first two milestones are for progress reporting and the last one is for final project examination and acceptance. The report meeting date/time will be specified in the project plan. The team leader should confirm with everyone at least a week before the meeting date and make changes if necessary. The team will deliver an informal report presentation and demonstration. The purpose of this report is to summarize project status, check milestone progress, report team activities and achievements, identify changes, and plan for the next phase. Follow the milestone report and presentation guide to develop your report, which includes presentation report, Gantt chart, activity log, and peer evaluations. The instructor and project owner will provide feedback to the draft report and team performance. Submit the report after modification based on feedbacks. Milestone reports should also be reviewed by the project owner. Project Conclusion Last milestone (project acceptance) meeting The last milestone meeting will be one week before the department presentation. The purpose of this meeting is to review the complete project and all deliverables. The project owner will sign the project acceptance form and evaluate the team performance after the meeting. All project materials will be transferred to the project owner. Presentation and poster session A formal presentation will be delivered to IT department faculty and IAB members at the end of the project. Project owners and other guests are invited to the presentation. Department faculty and IAB members will evaluate the project based on information obtained from the presentation. The ultimate goal of the presentation is to impress the audience that you have done a good job, you have accomplished all deliverables and objectives, and you have gained valuable experience. If the project owner cannot come to the presentation, a separate project report presentation to the project owner will be arranged if requested. A poster session will be organized for all teams to present their projects to the public as well. A more detailed guide will be provided later in the semester. Final project package submission All materials (progress reports, source code, documentation, references, tutorials, manuals, final report, survey, peer evaluation, etc.) should be compiled and submitted through D2L. More submission requirements will be provided separately. Project evaluation There are 90 points allocated for the project. The evaluation breakdown by evaluator and student work is shown is the following evaluation matrix. Evaluator Project plan, milestone, and final reports Individual Reflection Poster and presentation Overall experience Total Owner 20 20 Instructor 30 5 35 Department 15 15 Peer 20 20 Total 30 5 15 40 90
  • 24. Page 5 of 6 Another evaluation breakdown by group and individual grade is shown is the following evaluation matrix. Grading items Individual Grade Group Grade Total Department presentation 15 15 Project owner evaluation 20 20 All progress reports 30 30 Peer evaluation 20 20 Individual reflection 5 5 Total 25 65 90 Challenges and Success Factors Selected student advice from past classes  This class really pushed me to my limits when it comes to learning and working. This class is no joke and should be taken with only one other class not two other classes and two jobs.  … stay on top of deadlines and try as hard as possible to be a positive group member.  First, please ensure that you have taken as many major courses as possible before attempting this course, so that you are as prepared as possible. Second, try not to take more than one other class in the semester that you are taking this course. Third, please make sure to take this course seriously, so that you may take away many lessons and skills to be applied throughout your career.  First advice would be make sure you communicate with your team. Without talking to each other, everyone is going to be long and you will always be behind in the project. The second advice is make sure you do not wait till last minute to do the assignments. The assignments can look short at first but when you start doing the assignments, they will turn long.  To maintain a full-time schedule, I wound up taking this Capstone course alongside four other courses. It wasn’t problematic at first, but became very hard to manage my time properly among work and assignments as the semester progressed. If possible, it may be better to focus only on the Capstone course in order to ensure that you can contribute properly to your team. A summary of student advice from fall 2014 is provided in the following table. Key words Number of times mentioned Selected Exemplar Quote Time management 13 Time management is one of the most important things students should consider. Take into account the workload of other courses as well as job schedules. Planning 9 Spend some time to plan the project and try always to go ahead in the schedule. Communication 9 Make sure the communication process for the team is clearly established prior to leaving the first meeting. Motivation 6 Make sure to be involved throughout the whole project. Do not be afraid to take challenging tasks, there are plenty resources out to assist you. Requirement 4 Follow the requirements for the project instead of wasting time by doing other stuffs. Team 3 Team collaboration is probably one of the most important aspects to the overall group’s success.
  • 25. Page 6 of 6 Success factors Based on this paper (Zhang, C. and Wang, J., Effects of Communication, Leadership, and Team Performance on Successful IT Capstone Projects: A Case Study, ACM Special Interest Group for Information Technology Education Conference, SIGITE 2011, October 19 - 22, 2011, West Point, NY): 1. Effective communication (and participation) 2. Effective leadership 3. Know each team member’s strengths and specialties A copy of the paper is provided in D2L. Typical challenges  Communication. You will get a lot more emails. Be comfortable to get emails that are copied to everyone in the team and read all them. How do you deal with large amount of communications? Be comfortable to use the “reply all” feature. Or you can find a collaboration solution that cuts down the amount of email.  How will you collaborate? Is time conflict a problem for the team?  There are new things to learn. You have never heard about something before. How do you deal with this?  Some team members may fall behind and become not so active. How to get everyone involved and motivated?  People have different strengths and weaknesses. How to best assign tasks?  You may have to collaborate with a remote member/user. How to work with people who are not here?  The project owner or leader becomes less responsive, which may delay the project. What can you do?  Involvement: what does it mean by active involvement? “This really does not make sense. I have been participating. When I am assigned something i do it. I did the template and all as well.” Note: this guide tries to provide as much information as possible. But there are always unexpected issues. Please try to communicate with the instructor if there’s any question or concern. Thank you.