Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yarl Geek Challenge. Round3: Design

Finally, we are ready to get on with our Yarl IT Hub community's first ever IT Competition "Yarl Geek Challenge". This Season-1 competition is going to start on 13th of October with the Project Proposal round and next four competitive rounds are going to be held between the 26th to 29th of October. There will be 5 rounds in this competition and each of these rounds were designed based on the software engineering lifecycle. So it will give some flavour of the Software engineering lifecycle to the students,  who getting ready to step into the world of IT.

Round-1 Project proposal
Round-2 Requirements gathering
Round-3 Design
Round-4 Algorithm
Round-5 Product strategy

There will be a series of blog posts written for each of the above rounds by our fellow community members. Here is the detailed description of the Round-3 Design.

Design Round

Software Designing is an essential part of the software development lifecycle. Once the requirements have been gathered and finalized for the project, design need to be started to sketch the overall plan of the project. It is always better to put the possible design decisions to the design documents up front. Design document is the best way to communicate the overall development plan to the project team members. Moreover you can assume the Software design as the bridge between the customer's requirements and the actual Software development. If bridge is not built properly, you will have hard time to get to the other end. So it is very important to pay more attention to the Software designing. But Software designing is often given lower priority when allocating the time for the design tasks. In very big projects Software designing is really essential and bad design decisions can be proved to be costly in the later stages of the software development.

"Software Designing" will be in the 2nd round of the "Yarl Geek Challenge" competition. Main objective of this round is to test the designing skills of the participants and how well they can defend their design decisions.

This design round will consists of 3 parts.
1. Design presentation
2. Questions from the judges
3. White-board design

1. Design presentation

In this round, participants are expected to express their design in any form. There are no hard and fast rules on how the presentation should look like. It can even be a well planned panel discussion, in which, more than one participants can present the design in a well planned sequence. New ways can get more attention from the judges and can bring the added advantage during the evaluation. Along with the project design, participants are expected to list the technologies to be used for the actual implementation of the project. Maximum of 7 minutes will be given to do this presentation.

Following are the few of the ways that the design can be expressed. But please keep in mind that, there is no limitation on what kind of diagrams are expected.

a) Basic architecture diagram / Module diagram (it depends on the project’s nature)
b) Mock UI Screen flows
c) Sequence diagram
d) Activity diagrams
e) Technologies to be used and why they have chosen

There is no hard and fast rules on the number of diagrams to be presented or what diagrams to be included. Because nature of the diagrams will differ based on the selection of the project and the team's design decisions. Judges will pay more attention to the following aspects from the presentation.

I. Cohesion
How comprehensive the design presentation when considering the project scope. Depending on the project’s scope, presented design diagrams should give the clear idea of the project’s design. So mentors are expected to guide the Team to come up with the suitable diagrams for the selected projects.
II. How well the overall design is expressed
Design presentations can be done in anyway. Even whiteboard design can get more attention when it is well planned.
III. Relevancy between the project requirements and the presented design
How well the requirements have been covered in terms of design aspects.
IV. Innovative
It can be even the way the presentation was done or any new unorthodox diagrams used within the presentation, which were found to be explaining the design in a better effective way
V. Chosen Technologies
Listed technologies should have the capability to implement the selected project. Technologies should match the current trend in the software world.

2. Questions from the judges

Depending on the Scope of the project, judges can evaluate the Design presentations and come up with some set of questions to get more clear understanding of the intended design from the Team. So judges can question the parts which were not clearly explained during the presentation.

3. White-board design

Following questions can be given at the end of the design presentation and participants will be allowed some time (20-40 minutes) to come up with their solution. Participants are expected to use the white board to quickly draw the design. This third part of the round can be done once all the Teams finish presenting their Design presentation.

a). If a particular requirement is not covered within the design presentation, ask the Team to explain how that requirement can be added to the design
b). Change any of flow of the current design with some new requirements and ask the participants to come up with a new flow diagram

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