The benefits of transparency in managing software engineering capstone projects

Kevin Gary, Harry Koehnemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper describes the impact of an agile process support environment in helping faculty manage software engineering capstone projects and the learning outcomes associated with the capstone experience. Software engineering capstone projects are notoriously time-consuming to manage for faculty mentors. Team projects often fall behind due to the inexperience of the students and the external pressures they face. They may be accustomed to performing heroic acts on prior individual class projects, and think they can be successful this way again. But in a significantly sized real-world team project, they find out too late that this approach will not work. Students remain successful often by significant effort on the part of a faculty mentor. The mentor may setup a process infrastructure to enables project monitoring. Mentors may find themselves asking for frequent in-class project reviews, out-of-class appointments, and significant documentation. Mentoring a capstone project, while a potentially rewarding experience, can become a significant time sink and lead to faculty burnout. We are utilizing the IBM Jazz environment including the Rational Team Concert (RTC) integrated development environment (IDE) to address project management for capstone projects using the Agile/Scrum methodology. Jazz/RTC allows all stakeholders (students, sponsors, and faculty) to transparently review a process to assess project health at any point in time. Further, transparent continuous project monitoring gives mentors the ability to provide just-in-time-but-not-too-late formative feedback, as well as allow continuous assessment of learning outcomes. The ability to "see where you are" in the process, and understand how the process' practices drive progress and completion, is an invaluable learning aid for students struggling to grasp the benefits of these methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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