Have you ever thought of starting your own business? Entrepreneurship is popular these days and with all the facilities available through the Internet, starting a business has never been easier. I am doing a module on Technology Entrepreneurship at Aberystwyth University (Mauritius) and post about it weekly. Here is what I learned during the eleventh week:
On Monday, we went to school for a meeting. Fisayo told me that I was not contributing enough, and was disrupting others work. From now on, I would be on the technology plan only.
I stated that I still did not have a clear idea of the project and suggested that they explain the whole system to me. Fisayo replied that there was no time to explain, instead I should ask about each the part and they would tell me if it changed.
I took another look at the rich picture and began to ask questions. However, members were giving different answers. It seemed like Fisayo was the idea person, other members had their own slight different understanding of his idea. I insisted we all talk about the whole system to clarify everything but they still refused.
Kavi showed us a website was working on for a week. It seemed I was the only one not aware of it. The template was obtained online but the interface was changed and STUBUD content was added. The website had only client side interactions. Fisayo gave the chance to tell what we did not like about it. Me and Kavi had to do some more changes and add more features.
Fisayo then stated that “The generated code as also back on the table”. I did not know that the coupon feature was removed from the project. Fisayo explained that the decision was made in the last meeting and that we would include it again as it was what gave our business plan robustness. The term coupon was also changed to “discount code” and Fisayo did not want to hear the word “coupon” again.
The rich picture had to be updated with the new feature. I asked Fisayo for some clarifications but he told me that as a member of the technical team, I was responsible for figuring it out. Kavi would be answering my questions about the previously made changes.
I started to work with Kavi, we imagined various scenarios like registration and normal use. As the registration was started offline, we did not know how the registration data would be input into the system. We tried to ask Fisayo but he told us not to worry about it. So, we assumed part of the process and made the following diagram:
When I got home, I wrote the rich picture content in a .txt file and sent it to the group chat for approval. Fisayo updated it with new terms but overall, it was fine.
On Tuesday, I remembered about the offline part of the system and sent an updated file.
I learned how to make a use case diagram from the following links:
- UML – Use Case Diagrams
- Use Case Diagram Tutorial ( Guide with Examples )
- Use Case Diagram Relationships Explained with Examples
- Use Case Diagram Guidelines for Better Use Cases
I wrote the use case content and sent the file in the group chat along with the following rough diagram:
Arjun had some question as he thought the registration would be performed automatically online. I explained that the registration will be done offline on forms and new users will be added manually.
I also remembered a problem we had with the discount code. “How to know if a discount code has been used by the user?” I proposed the codes might only have an expiry date for a start, the tracking the usage would come later.
Arjun and Kavi tried to help but they got confused. They thought I was talking about the registration code. I suggested we get back to “coupon” to avoid this problem but Fisayo insisted that it is not confusing. Kavi stated that he really got confused a few minutes ago. Fisayo replied he would rather change both codes to something else than using the word “coupon”.
Arjun sent his survey and told us to have a look. I took the survey and notices a few improvements for some questions. I suggested changes to the questions about ages, amount of money spent, and the addition of a question about the device used for shopping online. The group approved my changes.
I learned how to make a use case diagram from Lucidchart : What is a Data Flow Diagram, wrote the data flow content and sent the file in the group chat for approval. Fisayo stated that some part was missing. The diagram did not say how the data would get to the Admin. As this process was not part of the computer system I did not include it but I updated the file to include those interactions.
Later that day my Internet stopped working, so I was cut from the group. I messaged Kavi to ask for update on the technical plan. He told me that he is currently working with Fisayo on the write-ups for the diagrams and that I should focus on the changes to the site. He also said that there was too much overlapping on the rich picture. I used my mobile data to sent him the following:
I got the list of changes to the website below from Kavi and started working:
- Move the search bar to the bottom of the carousel.
- Move the Login and Register buttons to the right of the menu.
- Alter the registration process so that there is a first step where user can only put the registration code.
- Remove Pinterest links.
- Add a smiley face on each item for favourite.
On Wednesday, I went to school as early as possible since I did not have Internet at home. Kavi was planning to go to Fisayo’s place but since I was already at school and Arjun did not want to go to Fisayo’s, we decided to do the group meeting there.
I showed the changes to the group, however Fisayo stated it was not exactly how he wanted. We still had to implement the favourite and code features. I tried to change the interface quickly but the webpage was not fully responsiveness.
I tried for sometime but in the end asked Kavi to send me the original template that he downloaded. I found useful elements which I did not know was in the site. From then I worked on the new file. I moved the search bar and the Login button and did some more UI changes, checking with Fisayo at each step. It was more responsive. I gave Fisayo the files so that Kavi could work on it.
When I got home, I worked on the generate discount code feature. There was an add to cart button in the website but I changed action to view offer for all items. As I did not know exactly where to put the code and countdown, I just added it as text next to the generate button. I uploaded the file and sent the link to the group stating the changes.
Since we were not using any version control system, I told Kavi that whenever one of us was ready, he would send his code to the other. The latter would merge his changes with what received and send it again. He replied very late but he agreed.
Then I started to work on Login and favourite. As this was only a mock-up and everything was running in the browser I had to find a way to make the data persist and accessible from different pages. I tried using sessionStorage and localStorage but it did not work. I also did some research and found that it is not normally allowed, even using cookies.
I sent what I found in the group chat and suggested that we could have a different set of pages for logged in uses. I also asked if someone could look for details to update the 32 items but I got no reply.
On Thursday, Fisayo called me asking why I was so silent. I told him that I have yet to receive a reply from the group chat. He told me that Kavi, Paul, Theo(year 2 student) and himself had been working all night at his place that is why they did not have time to reply in the group. He invited me to join them at his place.
Soon I was at Fisayo’s place. I noticed they were replying to other conversations. I wanted to see the business plan but they explained that they were working on a Linux machine on a guest user. But they forgot about it and turned off the computer. All the data was lost and now they had to do it all again.
I looked at Kavi’s work, he did some changes but did not merge with my latest update. Since Fisayo was there, I asked him exactly how he wanted the generate code function to work. I took some code from my implementation and built the feature with the correct interface.
I caught the last bus home and started to implement the favourite feature with the smiley face. Like the discount code and countdown, the favourite-state of the products would be saved and displayed on the page when it is loaded again. I built the feature using a similar method and sent the update to the group.
Arjun downloaded the latest version and tested it. However, he did not find the favourite feature, he was using Firefox which does not support the method I used to display the states. I tried to change it but could not achieve the same visual output as the original in chrome.
There were still no reply from those at Fisayo’s place. I stated that I heard their messaging notifications when I was there, and I knew they are replying to other conversations.
Some moments later, Kavi sent his final ”build”. He did not use my new “build” and told me I could change everything. So I added the like feature again and told him about the issue. Since we were only making a mock-up, we decided to leave it as it is and do the screenshots and evaluation on chrome.
On Friday, I thought we were done but I was told to do a write-up for the use case and data flow diagram. I did the one for the use case and sent in the group.
After the deadline, I asked if the we submitted in the group chat. Also asked for a copy of the group report. Sadly, I got no response till new year when Laeticia (a classmate currently doing her year in industry) wished us.
Total Time Spent
Aggregation of the time spent on the different sections to calculate the total time.
- Group Activity: 70 hours
- Week Submission: 5 hours
Total: 75 hours
Questions & Thoughts
I think that the group project was a valuable experience however, it could have been better, especially the last couple of weeks. We had to rush and did not have good communication. This need to improve for the final presentation.