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I'm a Computer Science student at a university and I've got a problem figuring out where to start with a semester-long project. I have experience in Java, C, and some web development but nothing with databases. I've tried finding help through Google but it's been difficult to find anything relevant to my situation. So here it goes:

I've been assigned a project to develop a system for employees of a fictitious hotel to manage reservations for rooms. The system must implement a database for managing employee information as well as reservation and customer information. It must also implement a GUI to manage reservations and generate reports about reservations for the also fictitious hotel managers. I'm working with a team of three other people. Their backgrounds include SQL Server, Visual Studio, C++, Java, and web development on a small scale.

Our idea so far has been to develop a web interface to submit forms to add information into the database, pull information out of the database, and collect information about the statuses of reservations to generate these reports. I've set up a Windows Server 2012 R2 on my desktop at home so that all my team members can work on the project remotely. I haven't had much luck in getting it completely operational yet (I've installed SQL Server and TFS but it just seems a little too much for such a small team). The more I try to work on this the more I feel like I'm moving in the wrong direction, making things more complicated, and confusing myself.

I'm in need of a push in the right direction and some recommendations on how to go about this development process. I've just never dealt with a project like this and it's way out of the scope of this course (it's basically Software Development 1) but the professor wants the course to be 'more hands on'.

Any help would be greatly appreciated and if I've left out any crucial information please let me know.

Thanks for your time.

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    If you're asking what development processes you should follow, that question would be off-topic. It's unclear from your post how your question is related to the practice or the profession of project management, as opposed to software development. If your question is put on hold, please feel free to improve the question so that it can be reopened. – Todd A. Jacobs Oct 6 '15 at 15:42
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I suggest not to overcomplicate your project and have fun. If you professor want to have a "hands on experience" he should terminate the semester earlier, change the requirements randomly, and change the projects members :-)

You can experience with how the startup community works, though. Start setting up the web server, do ugly pages with limited functionality (almost like a wireframe), do not bother much with Computer Science things as highly optimized algorithms, and do not bother with technology (you'll need the last when you want to scale your product). Do something that works.

Check if it works for others too not just your teams (we call it user test). If it works and your test subjects like it, you can make it pretty and working (add user experience). Now you can add the next ugly thing, and do the testing again. This is called iterative development. In real life a small but working portion of functionality is more appreciated than a lot of features that do not work.

Again,

  1. check your feature list and pick the one you cannot continue without,
  2. you do the feature quickly (e.g. login),
  3. check if it works (test),
  4. make it pretty (but do not over do it, max one day - called refactoring),
  5. go to step 1

In case you face technical difficulties, and you are not making progress in a couple of days, just cut corners. The point is to get to step 3 as fast as you can so that you can validate your work. You can sort out difficulties later in step 4.

Additionally, with approach you'll know where you are with your project. Let's assume you have 12 things to do, and you one with this style in a week. You know that about 12 weeks you are going to be done. Ok, this is not really true, but at least you get a sense of progress and a bit of forecasting.

  • Thanks! This really helped get my mind back on track. Going to reevaluate what is required and the easiest method to getting the minimum viable product. Thanks again! – bthorn12 Oct 6 '15 at 17:47

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