Advanced Software Project Management course, JVN

Description of the course

The course is at the advanced level of software project management. It provides knowledge and skills to successfully manage a software project with an agile approach and practices. The course focuses on designing, developing, and deploying an agile project with a strong stakeholder engagement to respond effectively the customers’ requirements. Students apply design thinking techniques to build a good and innovative product specification.

Description of the participants

This is a mandatory course in the Master’s Program on ICT at JVN and the Master’s Program in Software Engineering at FPT University. The course took place from April to June 2023 with an attendance of 30 students.

Description of gamified design thinking activities

Students were required to design the functionality of software for managing the multi-level tasks of a bank department. According to the project scenario, the department works in the import and export procedures of businesses, with managers facing challenges in meeting deadlines. Students played different roles as software designers, product owners, and customers to identify the most critical features of this software.

Students were divided into groups of 6 – 8 individuals and completed the course work in 6 sessions. Work was organized in the following steps:

Step 1. Defining stakeholder needs.

Students started their work by rengaging in team building techniques. They defined a team name and logo. Subsequently, they defined the key objectives of each team member, considering their real-life experiences. They used the expert eyes exercise to clarify team member roles. In some cases, team members moved from one team to another to ensure that all teams collectively offered the necessary knowledge for completing the assigned project.

Step 2. Identifing user pains.

Students identified stakeholder challenges, considering their own experiences. They applied the user persona technique to identify both tangible and implicit needs. Next, they linked findings, establishing a story through immersion and insight.

Step 3. Discussing and finalizing software functionality.

Students engaged in ideation techniques to analyze requirements in deeper detail. They use techniques such as mind mapping, thinking outside of the box, changing point of views, and fishbone diagram to finalize the software functionality. They also used delphi technique to obtain better results in group discussions.

Step 4. Prototyping and going further.

After completing the definition of software requirements, students developed the software code for their project in VBA and excel in order to demonstrate and defend their ideas. A larger discussion between groups led to a better understanding of course work.