G52GRP Software Engineering Group Project 2011–2012

Information on Presentation Day now available!

Open Day 2012 in Pictures

Reading Key Dates Lectures G52GRP & G52SEM
Assessment Open Day Presentation Day Awards
Projects & Groups Past Projects



The Student Handbook describes the organisation of this module in detail. Everyone must read this very carefully!

Additionally, you need to read the TSG Group Project pages. They both provide some very useful general advice, and give details on practical aspects such as equipment requests and procedures for handing in reports and source code.

The Professional and Quality Issues (PQI) part of the module is based on the book Professional Issues in Information Technology [Bot05] by Frank Bott, which is recommended reading.

The book Projects in Computing and Information Systems: A Student's Guide [Daw05] by Christian W. Dawson discusses various aspects of carrying out a project, such as planning, risk management, basic software engineering issues, and presentation. It adopts a student's perspective (whereas many other books on software projects focus on large-scale, industrial projects), and it contains information relevant both for group projects and individual projects. While it is not covered directly in any of the lectures, it would be worth to have a look at it for some concrete advice on how to manage student projects, and as background reading for the (guest) lectures on project management.

I highly recommend the book Version Control with Subversion [CSFP08] by Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian W. Fitzpatrick, and C. Michael Pilato if you are going to use Subversion, or even to just get an understanding of what version control systems are, and why they are useful. The book is very well written and it can both be bought if you want a hard copy or downloaded for free. And yes, you should use a version control system for your projects!

The book BUGS in Writing: A Guide to Debugging Your Prose [Dup98] by Lyn Dupré provides plenty of concrete and useful advice on how to improve various aspects of your writing. It focuses specifically on technical and scientific writing, with many examples from Computer Science. It is also very enjoyable to read. Not only useful in the context of the group project, but also for other report writing such as your individual dissertations and almost certainly also later in your professional careers.

You may be considering using LaTeX for writing your group project (or other) reports. If you do, I can highly recommend Guide to LaTeX [KD03] by Helmut Kopka and Patrick W. Daly. Shown here is the fourth edition, but the third edition is also OK. While the learning curve of LaTeX can be a bit steep, and while LaTeX certainly isn't perfect in all ways, on balance, it works quite well for structured technical documents, largely automates tedious but important aspects such as managing references, and it really helps with producing a finished result that is up to top-notch typographical standards. In addition, it works quite well for co-operative writing as everything basically is just text files, just like program source code, and thus can be put under effective version control. This book makes the learning curve substantially less steep and and also provides concrete examples showing how to do most things you might want to do, and how to work around common problems.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Task Date or Deadline
Equipment requests From 17 October, one request
Interim reports due Friday 9 December 2011
Final reports due Friday 30 March 2012
Open Day Wednesday 9 May 2012
Presentation Day Friday 11 May 2012

Each deliverable should be handed in no later than 4:00 pm on the due date.


This lecture overview is preliminary from 17 October onwards.

Lecture# Date Content Speaker(s) Slides Reading
1 3 Oct Overview: Aims, Organisation, Assessment Dr. Nilsson On-screen Printing (4 up) Student Handbook
2 10 Oct Team Working and Group meetings Dr. Nilsson On-screen Printing (4 up) Student Handbook
3 17 Oct Version Cotrol with Subversion Dr. Nilsson On-screen Printing (4 up) [CSFP08, ch. 1 - 5]
4 7 Nov Guest Lecture: A Day in the Life of a 7digital Developer James Atherton and Paul Shannon (7digital) Slides and Blog Post
5 14 Nov Guest Lecture: Project Organisation in Software Development Teams Matthew Walton (EvoEnergy Ltd) Slides
6 21 Nov Guest Lecture: What is it like to work in an agile software development? Neil Kilbride and Sam Wessel (Esendex Ltd) Slides (PDF) and Blog Post
7 28 Nov Guest Lecture: Live Test Driven Development James Atherton, Rob Bowley, Daphne Chong, Hibri Marzook, and Paul Shannon (7digital)
8 6 Feb Guest Lecture: Software testing: Theory, Practise and Reality David Vines, IBM Slides (PDF)
9 13 Feb Report Writing and Peer Marking Dr. Nilsson On-screen Printing (4 up)
Prof. David Brailsford's notes on grammar
10 19 Mar Giving an Effective Presentation
Group Project Open Day
Professor David Brailsford
Dr. Steve Bagley
Slides (PDF)
Poster instructions (PDF)

Guest lectures


G52SEM Software Engineering Methodologies is a co-requisite for this module (unless you have taken G52SEM or G52LSS previously).


See G52SEM web pages for further details.


There are two major components to the mark each student will be awarded. First, each group is awarded a collective mark on the standard university scale, with the different aspects of the project contributing according to the following weights:

Group Task Date or Deadline Weight
Interim Group Report Friday 9 December 2011 20% 
Final Group Report Friday 30 March 2012 30% 
Software Friday 30 March 2012 20% 
Open Day Wednesday 9 May 2012 15% 
Presentation Day Friday 11 May 2012 15% 

Peer assessment is then employed to distribute this collective mark among the group members according to merit as perceived by the group members themselves, such that the average of the individual marks for the group work equals the assigned collective group mark.

Note that the initial peer assessment is submitted as part of the Individual Reports (see below). However, if necessary a student can revisehis or her assessment of one or more of his or her peers one time until the end of the Presentation Day (Friday 11 May 2012), thus making it possible to also take peer performance during the final preparations for and at the Open and Presentation Days into account. See the Student Handbook for further details on when revising peer assessment is permissible and the actual procedure.

Each student also has to submit an Individual Report, also marked on the standard university scale:

Individual Task Deadline
Individual Report Friday 30 March 2012

These two components are weighed together into a final mark according to the following weights:

Component Weight
Individual Mark for Group Work 80% 
Individual Report 20% 

Each deliverable should be handed in no later than 4:00 pm on the due date. See the handbook for further details on assessment, how to submit, and details on the requirements for the various reports.

Open Day: A32, 9 May 2012

Open Day 2012 in Pictures

The Open Day takes place in A32, where you will be allocated a place and machines. Here is what you need to know to prepare:

The Open Day schedule is as follows. This year we have a very exciting line-up of invited talks from our sponsor and high-profile alumni. Note that a continental breakfast will be served in the Hub from 9 AM until 10 AM, and that Post Awards Afternoon Tea will be served at the end of the day:

Open Day Schedule
09:00 A32 opens to Students for setting up stands
09:00–10:00 Continental Breakfast in the Hub for G52GRP Students and Staff
11:00 Opening of the Group Project Open Day Fair, A32
14:15 Close of the Fair. Everyone walks over to B52 Business School South
14:30 Sponsor and Alumni Talks, B52 Business School South (details below)
16:00 Group Project Awards Ceremony, B52 Business School South
16:30 Post-Awards Afternoon Tea & Mingling for Students, Staff, and Guests, Atrium, School of Computer Science
17:00 Close of the Open Day; Students return to A32 to take down stands and tidy up.

The programme for the Sponsor and Alumni Talks is as follows:

To give you an idea of what to expect from the Open Day, here are links to pages illustrating what some past Open Days were like:

Presentation Day: C1 & C60, 11 May 2012

Information on the Presentation Day, including the schedule, is now available here. Please check it carefully! In particular, note that you are expected to arrive well before your session starts in order to set things up for your presentation (even if it is just a matter of copying files). The time is very tight, and if you end up wasting time because you have not prepared properly, you will simply have that much less time to talk.

Further information on the Presentation Day from TSG, including what equipment is available, can be found here.

Group Project Awards

Like the last few years, two Prizes are going to be awarded. We are very happy that IBM this year kindly has agreed to sponsor one of the prizes. Both prizes are going to be presented at an awards ceremony at the end of the Open Day.

The first prize is the IBM Group Project Prize. This prize is awarded to the second year group project team that is judged to have produced the best project in terms of what was achieved overall, how robust and usable the delivered system is, and how well it has been documented. Of course, it's virtually certain that anything scoring well on all these criteria will have been produced by a very well-coordinated team. This is a cash prize of £50 for each member of the winning team.

The second prize is the School of CS and Alumni Open Day Prize. This prize is awarded to the second year group project team that is judged to have staged the “best stall” during the Open Day and/or has produced the most commercially viable product. This is also a cash prize of £50 for each member of the winning team. It has been made available thanks to the Head of School, Prof. Steve Benford.

The prizes are awarded by the Group Project Awards Committee (GPAC) with, if necssary, input from a sub-committee (TBA) for the Open Day Prize. The GPAC members are:

The GPAC has decided that no single group shall win both prizes. The decisions of GPAC are final.

Projects and Group Allocation 2011–2012

The group allocations should now be stable. Any issues, please let the module convenor Henrik Nilsson know as soon as possible!

Projects and Groups 2011–2012

Links to Past Projects

Links to project descriptions for group projects from some earlier years for reference:


Last updated 7 August 2012.