The 6th semester is one of the worst semesters I’ve spent in college so far. We had a lot of projects, assignments, quizzes and reports to be submitted weekly and with no collaboration between the professors, Most of the projects and assignments had the same exact deadline .. It’s amazing how the professors, accidentally, set the same deadline for everything. It’s a kind of art really. Knowing the fact that I easily break under pressure, I was living in a disastrous state of mind all the time. Still, One good thing happened.
6th semester students were lucky enough to live the experience of the “Software Engineering course” under the supervision of Dr.Fatma Meawad. I will tell the story in details. Yes, ana momel!
First of all I have to point out that there’s a gr8 “propaganda” about the course. Having some friends from last year and some Teacher assistants telling stories about the course, all ppl in CSEN class of 2012 were extremely excited about the course. Personally, the name of the course was enough to get me into it.
The first lecture of Software engineering was the key to get to know the Professor better. The previous class decided to surprise the Professor, wrote her some nice words and some students said some stuff about the Doctor who was extremely happy confessing that she was going to give us “her other face” but she didn’t stop laughing till the end of the lecture
The professor introduced us to the course. Each tutorial group was given a name and treated as a company. Each company consisted of 25 members that were divided into groups of 5 called components. The companies were to work on a project. The project is divided to 5 modules and each component worked on a module. Each component’s members were to elect a team leader and from the 5 elected leaders, the entire company elected the company manager.All of these people were manager by a Scrum master who is one of the very good people once you get to know him, Saher El Neklawy.
The company manager who was elected is a friend of mine, Mr. Company Manager Mahmoud Sakr. (I will get to him later)
I was elected as a team leader for my component (take into consideration that all of them were my friends except one person). I have to say that personally I felt that I was not the right person for the job. I had to keep track of everything in the component, fix the issues, solve problems and conflicts. I had to make sure that everyone in the component is doing his best. All of these functions needed social skills which I am not good at by any means (the first impression that anyone gets from me is that I hate him/her). The “job” also required leadership skills. The main problem was that all of the members were my friends and therefore I had to find a way to tell (and sometimes force) them to do their job and in the same time in a manner that they do not feel that I am acting that I am someone who is better or using his authority or something. Fortunately, I did find the key for that. Every time I called someone to ask him to complete his job or fix something in his work, I told him that the company manager is stressing it and I have nothing to do about it plus adding a word or two about our lovely manager who is using his power and threatening us with “F” in the course. =D
We started working, scheduled some company meetings, setup a mailing list and a lot of component meetings (not necessarily official ones). At the beginning, I have to say that I under estimated the required quality that is, My work was disastrous and so is the entire component’s work in the first sprint. Yes, we got the grades, but there was a lot of comments and I did not like the outcome of the component. I dare to say that we were the worst component at the first evaluation (sprint’s demo) although nobody said it but I felt it. I felt that we can do better. We’re a good team. After the first evaluation I started to think that it’s not really about the grades or the functionality, anyone can create the same thing.It’s about the quality of the result. I had a lot of thinking that day, I decided to change the way we deal with each other in the component. I acquired and gained my team members’ respect and friendship (if it didn’t exist it started and if it’s there, it evolved). A lot of stuff were reported to me as a team leader from the team members. I tried and did my best to put the members and force them to communicate directly and personally with each other. I wanted them to work as friends, not a “forced team” if u know what i mean. I believed that if they did become friends or better friends, the outcome would be amazing and fortunately I was right. They started to work with each other, they did not require my existence to work or talk with each other. They communicated through the meetings and outside them. Somehow the component’s spirit was boosted a lot, most probably because of the competition and not only my component, the entire company’s spirit after the 1st sprint was in the sky!
A lot of work was done after the first demo. My work was trashed and I started working again from scratch willing to prove myself as a good company member and a good leader. I won’t say bardo that I did my best in sprint 2 but I did some work that I am happy and proud of. The integration between the component’s members was great, the professor promised one of the component’s members who did not care about the course a special gift and he surprised, not only me but the entire company, with his work by then. As a leader, I started to closely follow up my component’s work (Yes I did not do that b dameer in the first sprint), I called every single member to ask them about their work and I actually used my authority once to force a member to meet a deadline, I started to be more organized. I summarized all the meetings and posted them at the mailing list for later reference. I tried to get the best out of everyone. Yet, I did not check their work! I did not check the quality of their work or their outcome and therefore 2 days before the final deadline, We held a company unofficial demo to show off the components’ work and BAAAM, my component was the worst component in the demo!
Only then, I started to believe that there’s no hope. I had an unfortunate incident then with the Company manager and the Scrum Master because they did mention what I feared, my component is the worst of all. Luckily, the component’s members were there. They did attend the incident and I don’t know what happened, their work in the next 2 days was just, amazing! They were on fire by then. I would love to think that they did care about me and that they felt they were letting me and their company down and therefore they worked hard to prove that this was not true. Anyway, The last 3 days in sprint 2 were the best days in the entire semester. We stayed at college a LOT. My component’s integration was great. The usability of the features in the component, the main point that the professor concentrated on, was, I believe, the best in the whole company. We worked together for the very first time, putting features and linking them together, updating positions and places producing a gr8 “second chance” unofficial demo. We got everyone’s positive comments after that, causing me to be overwhelmed with joy. =D
The entire company’s work was great. There was a competition with another company which is managed by one of my best friends, Salem Sayed. To be honest, I was not that motivated by the competition as I’ve always felt that if either of the companies won, I will be happy. ya3ny keda keda f bet.ha =D
Anyway, all other company’s members were highly motivated by the end of sprint 2 by the competition and that, I believe, was cleverly managed by Dr.Fatma and the Scrum Masters. Saher told us that we’re not great enough to beat the other company and the same thing was done by Ramy, the other company’s Scrum Master, as well. Dr.Fatma in the final week started to state that both companies were great and she finds it hard to choose one of them as the winner. Those words pushed both companies’ members to work as hell. For our company, We made sure that everything is working and stable and in the last 2 days we created an extra features
component, called CX, to introduce and integrate extra features to/into the system. We stayed till 5 am in a day I can’t forget working on a game and chat client for the system which, I think, played a role in choosing our company over the other one to win the competition (Yes, I know that the professor denied and refused that claim, Still mesh moqtani3 and I insist it played a role!)
The amazing thing about the competition was that, both companies helped each other! Personally, I ended up knowing a lot of people from CoolSoft + SmartSoft(my company) members as well. Both companies held sessions to explain and clarify a lot of stuff in the framework we’re using, the concepts and the requirements in the project as well. Plus of course the great “rivals” thing! We will won, No you won’t ya TEEEEET 😀 and so on. These stuff really “spiced up” the course causing it to be the best experience for most of the 2 companies’ members. And as a result, both companies are working to finish and finalize their projects in the summer.
No .. I am not done yet!
I want to state the stuff I “won” from the course ..
– I knew a lot of people .. SmartSoft and CoolSoft members are all considered to be my friends now (at least from my side 😉 ) and I think my social skills, which i have a lot of problems with it, did improve!
– I was nominated as one of the best team leaders in the course, I don’t know why. Still, I think I did succeed and acquired the very basic leadership skills.
– I learned to work under pressure and stress. I believe that this course simulates what happens outside in real work and it’s a great experience.
Finally, I would like to mention some people who did have a great impact on me during the course.
1) Dr.Fatma Meawad
I did not think that I will wish to take another course with a professor as I do now! Dr.Fatma’s office is opened for any student, she treats us as her friends, not just students! She tries her best to not take away some points from students. She wakes students up when they’re sleeping in an exam (A). She jokes and is always smiling that I find it hard to stop smiling myself. We were shocked when we knew that she’s leaving the GUC but we all do wish you ya doctor the best later on but do not forget us.
What I personally don’t like about Dr.Fatma regarding the project : She was never clear about what is required or what she had in mind. That resulted in some work being done and then refused and re-started just because the Professor was not clear enough or the student got the wrong idea.
2) Scrum Master Saher El Neklawy
The good thing about Saher is that he’s very friendly and organized! You can ask him about what you want or what you have in mind and he’ll answer you only when he’s sure and certain about the answer. Mesh hayefty 😀 if he doesn’t know something he’ll simply ask you to wait till he gets the confirmation from Dr.Fatma. Saher being organized caused us to be organized as well which did improve and increased the company’s chances in winning the competition.
The good thing about Monayri is simply he made me feel en lessa fee 2amal! .. He works very hard msA and he learns a lot in a relatively small time msA bardo.He’s a great team player and he’s always on time =D Not to mention that he’s cute tab3an 😀
The prince! ah walahy! demaaaa3′ 😀 .. He is clever and smart (not the company). He’s a great worker when he wants to. I was warned that he’s to be motivated in order to work. Mo2men didn’t work till the very end of the sprints but he did a gr8 job specially in sprint 2. I am proud to have such a friend. Really! =D
5) Sharawi (70ksha)
To be honest, I was afraid at the beginning that I will be able to make him work. He also works when he wants to. He did not care that much about the course as much as he cared about the grades in the first sprint. But in the 2nd sprint, He did a great job specially when promised a special gift from Dr.Fatma =D He’s the funny one in the meetings although dema3’o nashfa shewaya bas Amn El Dawla 7a2o malnash da3wa 😀
Our great reviewer. A fact about Heba, she loves and adores phone calls! She calls everyone of us to review our work and explains what are our mistakes in details. Personally, I do not like phone calls but Heba convinced me that phones are the most important invention in history. Heba did a great work, always wanted to work, a hard worker mel a5er =D although she needs to discuss every little detail bas fel awel w fel a5er for the sake of the component. She was nominated as the best reviewer and even got a medal for that
7) Mahmoud Sakr – Our Bald Company Manager
I have to admit that I have learned a lot from him. I’ve always admired his work managing 25 persons knowing that I was suffering managing “5” =D I did envy him that he didn’t lose his temper or haven’t been aggressive with anyone during the sprint specially in some situations, If i was in his shoes, I would start a fight =D He did learn from Saher to be organized which reflected on all of us in the company. Sakr did not criticize anyone’s work in public (well, except mine :X) and did manage to get the company out from hard situations (either technical or personal) . I won’t forget the day when the database was down and he fixed it with the help of Amr Hany and Amr Abdel Wahab and Hossam Amer in more than 7 hours!
What I did like about Sakr the most was : He accepted criticism and encouraged it! He did know that it was not him that we’re criticizing but we’re saying what we think is the best for the company.
What I didn’t like about Sakr was mainly his way in treating the company at first. He tried to be friendly and so on but sometimes he did shout at us to stop talking (not to mention the clapping) but in the end he stopped it after the complains (told u he accepts criticism).
8 ) Ramy Wafa
CoolSoft’s Scrum Master =D A very gr8 and funny 😀 person once you get to know him. He helped me a lot in the course and understanding a lot of stuff in the project =D
Finally, I would like to thank every one in SmartSoft, CoolSoft, MegaSoft, Dr.Fatma, Saher and Ramy Wafa as well for such a great experience. Thanks all of you.
Ok Thats enough! I haven’t written any LONG essays in a long time so you’ll find a lot of grammar and English mistakes bas fakes! =D Sorry for the very long content.