Makers Academy remote final project day 2

Planning

The plan for today was to complete the planning stages of the project and begin the initial setup tasks, like creating the GitHub repository and the Waffle.io waffle board. As is often the case however these things can take longer than anticipated, and by the end of the day we're still not quite finished planning yet.

Our first task today was to extract user stories from our understanding of the project requirements. Writing user stories caused us to consider the project in very specific ways, and from very specific points of view, and always seems to highlight issues that we hadn't previously considered. It was a useful activity, and important that all four members of our group worked on it together.

Mockups

After the user stories we began to use Adobe Illustrator to produce some simple mockups. I shared my screen and this gave us the perfect collaborative environment, with the four of us discussing how the site should look and function, with me placing elements around the various mockups accordingly. The Illustrator document was fast changing and completely open to suggestion at any time, and the speed that it allowed us to try out new ideas provided a perfect testing ground.

Database modelling

After several hours spent producing mockups our thoughts turned to the complex task of planning the database associations between each of our models. This led to complex diagrams being produced that required dozens of labels and arrows in order to make any sense. I personally found the model associations of previous projects quite difficult to comprehend, but this project's requirements are vastly more complex. When designing the associations between each model the relationships quickly became difficult to follow, but I think that forcing ourselves to understand aided in better understanding the requirements of the entire app.

More Mockups, less problems

To end the day we chose to spend the final hour working a little further on the mockups. On the one hand creating detailed mockups can feel a little frivolous and unnecessary during such a short project, but I genuinely believe that it helped a great deal in understanding both the requirements of the project, and how each member of the team imagines the product to function, which is incredibly important to avoid conflicts or misunderstandings later on.

At the end of the second day on our final project I feel very confident. As a group we've planned some fantastic features that have changed my initial perception of what the product could be, and every member of the group is contributing a great deal. We have a difficult task ahead of us, but with nine full days of development time remaining I believe we have a good chance of producing something to be proud of.