Friday, September 30, 2011

Mobile web applications development - VIA class 2

I had the second VIA class yesterday. Internet application development course focusing on mobile web applications for students at the Czech Technical University, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, dep. of Cybernetics, Prague.

The presentation title was "Steps to develop a web application". Our fist step was to create and organize the teams. It is almost finished. We have 11 teams with eleven projects.  Most of the teams already created their home pages and blogs for tracking progress.  I asked students to put an essay, high level description of the project, on their home page. The blog is set to track all development steps. I recommend to have two types of records on the blog. Milestones are two weeks jobs. Small tasks should take not more then few hours. I’d like students to write the tasks and mark who is solving what and when it has been finished. Breaking tasks to small steps is essencial. Marking progress is motivating and saves you from losing focus, (well sometimes)
Then we have started a small discussion trying to explain how to pick the right application. We brainstormed and discussed several suggestions. I have tried to explain what are the experiments to test the app idea. I have suggested what questions to ask other students to understand the usefulness of the app. How ask to discover how they will use the app. This is not simple but essencial before starting any development. I have tried to show some simple examples of the idea validation. I hope the sThis is precisely the set of problems I want students to focus on during the presentation. Their task is to present using experiments results what value the app will deliver to them, what problem is the app solving, and what needs it is satisfying. I have also briefly mentioned the Business model canvas and provided the wiki link for further study. The presentation was closed by discussing what is the Minimum Viable Product and, what is the set of minimal features. I have covered each of the topic very shortly, in depth discussion will require much more time and effort. Our class is more focused on technology but I thought this little excursion to business thinking is very important. Students need to understand and be motivated for the development of apps.
Next week we will continue with presenting the project ideas. Students are due to deliver an essay. Each team will get around 10 minutes and then we will discuss the idea.
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