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Project Proposal

CSE 403: Software Engineering Project Proposals

Due : Friday, 09/28/2012, 12:59AM
Presentation made: Friday, 09/28/2012, 10:30, in class

In this class, you will be working on a software project all quarter, in teams of 5-10 people.  Your project will utilize the principles of software engineering that are being covered in this class to deliver a software product.  You get to decide what software product you are going to build.  The first step is making a proposal for the project.

In this first phase, you will make a proposal for the projects you will be working on.  You will work in groups of 3.  (We’ll help you form these groups in class today, September 24, 2012).  Among the three of you, you should select a team leader for the proposal.  If you haven't joined a team by quiz section on Tuesday 09/25, we'll spend the beginning of quiz section getting you onto a team.


Your proposal will consist of:
  • a slide presentation (0-6 slides) as PDF.
    • Title page -- 1 page (Name of project, name of people making proposal)
    • Vision/Overview -- 1-2 slides (if 2 slides, 1 should be a picture, 1 should be text)
    • Proposed technology -- 1-2 slides (if 2 slides, one should be a picture, 1 should be text)
    • Minimum viable product -- 1 slide
  • a 1-2 page text document, also as PDF

The 1-2 page text document and the slide presentation cover basically the same material, but the text document provides greater details.  The slide presentation can’t cover everything.  This gives you an opportunity to go into more detail.  

The team lead will submit the text document and the presentation in PDF as described in the Catalyst Dropbox by 12:59AM on Friday 9/28; the dropbox includes specific instructions about naming files, who on the team should submit what, etc. Each proposal will be presented to the class on Friday 9/28 or Monday 10/1. The student or students who will make the presentation should practice ahead of time. You will have a time limit of three minutes, strictly enforced. We'll have all the presentations on a single laptop, to ease transitions between presentations.

Project Proposal

Your project should:
  • Result in a software product that you can deliver in the ten weeks of this quarter.
  • Utilize the software fundamentals we discuss in this class.
  • Assume a team of about 7 people will execute it (bigger than the team making the proposal)
  • You may develop/run/deploy your product on department resources but you are not required to do so
  • On both the presentation and text document, you should include the name and email address of all the team members.
The two documents should address:
  • What is the vision of your project (could be bigger than what you are actually going to deliver)?
  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • What existing solutions don’t fully address this problem?
  • What is the proposed architecture of your product?
  • What is the proposed tool chain? (Programming language, web stack, etc.)
  • What is the minimum product you could deliver that addresses this vision/problem?
  • What are the risks that may prevent you from being successful?
  • What are you delivering in this project?  A website?  An installable software product?  Is source code included? 


Your team lead will present the proposal on Friday.   You will have 3 minutes to present (don’t go over!). (Hint: You should practice your presentation in advanced!)  You should come to lecture on Friday with a URL that point to your presentation.  Your presentation should be in Powerpoint or PDF so you can just “click and go” to start the presentation.  There is a PC in the class that we'll use to drive the presentations.

Project Suggestions
  • While we like it when you are ambitious, be careful to propose an “appropriately scoped” project for a 10-week course
  • Understand risk factors (how much new technology do you need to /want to learn and use)
  • Strongly consider a consumer facing web application but you are not required to do so.
  •  Use github ( for your version control repository -- this is requirement for this class
  • Have you been “noodling” on an idea all ready?  An “itch you want to scratch?”  These might be great projects.  (But there are additional issues, such as intellectual property issues)
  • See this doc from a previous quarter for some good hints.

After all the presentations, approximately 7-8 of the proposals will be selected to execute as projects.  You’ll "self-organize” with the assistance of the instructor and the TAs (i.e. You’ll get to largely choose who you want to work with.  So, get to know your classmates!)  Shortly after the end of class on 10/1 (1 PM) we will have each of you submit using Catalyst's Collect system:
  • A ranked list of the five projects you are most interested in working on. You don't have to include the project you proposed; you may prefer others!
  • A list of up to eight students (including yourself) in the class whom you would like to work with on a project.  Note all students in this "clique" must also list every member in the clique.  We should be able to allow all of you to work together on a project.
  • We'll sort out all of the teams based on the above heuristics.  Hopefully, this will get people onto teams of their interest.
Note that not all proposals will move forward as projects.  If the proposal is selected, the team lead of the proposal must be part of the project team.  While the other members of a selected proposal team are not required to stick with that project, we suspect that many of you will want to do so.  We encourage this as you’ve all ready invested time and energy into the project.  You should be excited to move forward!

Example Project Proposal: Purple People Eatery ("Software Is Eating the World")