Your academic project would be a demanding, but an exciting learning experience. However, it is not without problems which, if not identified and addressed, could seriously effect the final result and ultimately reduce your marks. Here we mentioned some of these problems and how to avoid them.
The “Overachiever” Problem:
A common problem is selecting a topic that is far too ambitious for the allotted time. Remember that you have only a few weeks to finish the design, development and testing of your project. Be careful not to select a topic that is unrealistically large. This can lead to frustration as well as errors caused by “cutting corners” and hurrying through the implementation. Discuss with your supervisor the scale of what you are planning. If he or she thinks it may be too large, consider implementing the project in stages, each complete in itself. When stage I is working move on to stage II. If you do not finish stage II, however, you still have a functioning system.
The “Do It Tomorrow” Problem:
The project weeks alloted for completion sounds like a long time, but it goes by quickly. You need an implementation schedule that allocates reasonable amounts of work throughout the entire semester. Then you must stick to that schedule. Don’t be tempted to postpone work on the project because your due date seems so far off. All that happens is that during the final few weeks you rush madly to get something working, and project implemented in a rush rarely works correctly!
The “Sleeping Member” Problem:
In the ideal world, all team members have equal ability, equal interest in the problem, and work equally hard. In the real world that may not happen. You may have one (or more) team members who do not carry their share of the workload, not because of a lack of ability, but rather lack of interest or motivation. This is a serious problem because, although part of your marks is based on each individual’s effort, another part is based on successfully finishing the project. A non-contributing team member can slow down or prevent completion of the work. If you have a teammate who is not doing his or her share of the work, talk to them and stress the importance of everyone doing their job. If this does not solve the problem then talk to your supervisor. Don’t let the failure of others prevent you from completing the work and receiving good marks.
The “Poop Out At the End” Problem:
You have worked hard for many weeks to complete the project. You have spent many late nights and chased down hundreds of bugs, but it is now working, so are you done? Absolutely not! The project evaluation is not based only on the programs you develop but also on your written reports and oral presentations. Even though you may be “burned out” from implementation, remember there is still work to do. Don’t produce a poorly witten paper or give a poorly organized presentation. That will negate much of your good work. Put in the time needed to prepare both a well written, high-quality final report and a well organized, polished presentation. A good job on these last steps will insure that you receive the marks that fairly represents the work you have done.