CSC340 Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Q) The course information says we have to be in teams of 4. Can my mates and I work in a team of 3 (5,6,2...) instead?
A) No. Your instructor will assign you to a team. We prefer teams of four, to keep the difficulty of the exercises consistent for everybody. Different size teams represent different kinds of challenges in coordination, sharing of workload, etc. In the case that the number of students on the course will not divide exactly by 4, there may be some teams with size other than four.
Q) The assignments are due in the first 10 minutes of a tutorial. Does this mean they will be due at 9:10 or 9:20?
A) It means 9:20, as the tutorial officially starts at 9:10.

Assignment 1: Project Selection and Risk Report

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Assignment 2: Feasibility Study

Q) I have a friend who works for company X. Can I interview my friend and get all the data I need for the study, without having to go and talk to anyone else in company X?
A) No. While it is definitely a good idea to use your friends (and/or relatives) as contacts to get you initial access to an organisation that you can study, you will need to do more than just talk to your friend. Two issues arise: first, you will need to seek the consent of someone in a position of responsibility at the organisation to proceed with the study. It will involve accessing information that the organisation may regard as commercially sensitive. Second, for many of the reasons described in the lectures, you shouldn't rely on just information from just one person (i.e. your friend). You will need to talk to others at the organisation to ensure you have understood all the important aspects of the problem, and you'll probably also need to access documents and other sources of information.
Q) The company that we have contacted are worried about whether our report will reveal confidential information about them. What should we do?
A) You need to take some basic steps to protect their information. For example, in your reports, you can use a fictitious name for the organisation, and for the people you have spoken to, to protect their identity. Offer to let someone in the organization read your report before you submit it for grading, so that that they can discuss any concerns with you before you finalize it. Note that this means you will need to have a fairly complete draft well before the course deadline, to allow them to review it in time. Discuss the timeline with them well ahead of the deadlines, so they know what to expect, and check that they will be able to review it in the timeframe you need.You could also offer to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the organisation, if that would make them feel more comfortable. Your reports will not be shown to anyone other than your TAs and the professor, unless we seek your permission first. (If your report is selected as one of the best, to be displayed on the course website, I will ask you first whether you and the organisation you worked with are comfortable with this).
Q) Our team has a started a project with an organisation that cannot disclose to us all the financial data we need for our feasilibility study. Other than that, the organisation is very keen to work with us. What should we do?
A) Go ahead with the study, and estimate any of the figures that they cannot share with you. Do the best you can in coming up with reasonable estimates, by doing a little research to see if you can get any comparison data from other projects. Be sure to describe in your report whatever data you used to help you make the estimates - e.g. if you found any comparison projects, figures on the web, examples in the textbook, etc. Do not just pluck numbers out of thin air - you must base them on some real data.
Q) Do we need to include any UML diagrams in our feasibility report?
A) Yes. The assignment asks you to create goal models to represent the relationships between goals of the key stakeholders and to demonstrate how the various options contribute to the goals of your stakeholders, and activity diagrams and/or statechart diagrams to represent important business processes related to the problem and the alternative solutions. Activity diagrams and Statechart diagrams are part of UML.
Q) Are goal diagrams part of UML?
A) No. The current UML standard does not include any notations for goal modelling. This means that there is no accepted standard for how to draw goal diagrams, so use whichever style you like best (e.g. the one I used in the lectures, or one of the styles from the readings). Be sure to pick one style, use it consistently, and provide a key for anyone not familiar with that style.

Assignment 3: Requirements Analysis

Q) The assignment says (3d) "Other models as required". Does this mean these are optional?
A) Well, you could think of them as optional. But if you're after an A, it would be sensible to include at least one more type of model as well as those listed in 3a-c. Think of this as a way of showing us how good your modelling skills have become.
Q) Is there a tool we can use for drawing UML diagrams?
A) Yes. We have two three available on CDF:

Assignment 4: Requirements Specification

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