What I did this week

We had a meeting on Wednesday 31st October to discuss the technology plan. We had all previously been assigned tasks to do, so this was a chance to show each other the documentation that had been produced, discuss any issues with completing the documentation and provide constructive comments on the documentation of others as quality control. I discussed what I had found while researching what prices other companies were charging for their bike rentals. After considering a number of sources, I produced an Excel spreadsheet with a proposed pricing scheme for Aber Bike Hire – the feedback that I received from the team was positive and that the pricing seemed relatively easy to understand. I just need to tidy up the Student category so that the term pricing description looks more attractive. As a group we need to clarify what other extras there will be and how much we will charge for them – a helmet is a basic non essential extra that could be rented for a small income, however others may disagree.

Tom discussed his rich picture and showed us the first draft that he had created. The feedback on the rich picture was positive, none of us had produced one before but this one seemed to be clear and covered most of the stakeholders involved with the business. Tom said he’d send the rich picture to Chris for some feedback, just incase anything was missing.

Seb showed us some early prototypes of the website that he had created, so that we can use them in a storyboard format later. They looked very good, we discussed the layout of the site and how the form would function so people could go through the steps of renting a bike. We identified that a new step needed to be added, or additional information to the form, as far as I remember I think this was due to extras being missing from the form. The others then discussed their pieces of work and we spoke about the project in general. It was good to have the group actively in the loop with each part of the documentation.

The others also presented the work they had done, for example Ian had come up with some customer expectations for customers in different categories (e.g. a Student will expect rentals to be cheap, or expect student discount)  Sam showed us where she’d got with the use case diagrams development.

On Friday 2nd November we met up and discussed any further issues people were having with their work and talked about how we would approach completing the business plan. I showed the group the two data flow diagrams that I had produced, the feedback that I got was generally good – I don’t think any of us are confident enough with DFDs to know if there are any technical errors, I brought up that this was being covered later in another lecture and we could come back to it then.

Seb had produced some further web page mock ups to cover additional pages, including a revised order form. I discussed the functionality of the form with Seb, we discussed how we could make the order process as easy and as quick as possible for the customer. I pointed out that there must be a way of the form recognizing an existing customer in an efficient manor, so that the personal details of the customers would be pulled from the database and pre-filled into the form (such as name and cardholder address). A way of implementing this would be a reminder to login at a step before the address details, or to have a login option on the step in the form that requires the address details, so that the user can save some time. This needs to be done in such a way so that new customers are not deterred.

Tom showed us the latest version of his rich picture, which contained some revisions – I think it was at this point where he had added some short descriptions, explaining how the stakeholders were involved. Sam had finished all use cases that were previously just drafts, she said that she’d email them around later and did. Impressive descriptions to go with the functions, I must say! Ian had worked on the questionnaire for market research, but didn’t have finished questionnaire document yet.

It was agreed that we have progressed with the technology side of things and progressed with some of the business parts, such as pricing, but next we must tackle the business plan as a priority as at this point in time we only had short notes for each section and no collaborative document with information.

On Sunday 4th November I looked through the business plan document ready for Monday’s meeting. I made some bullet points for sections such as the business idea, what we will do and I also identified some sections that I’d like to take on if anything gets handed out for completion, such as “11. Profiling competitors” as I have already profiled other hire companies that have a web presence. I also updated the student term data on the rental price list.

On Monday 5th November we had our major meeting of the week, the main aim of this meeting was to make extensive progress with the business plan and we did.
We opened up the business plan on a computer with a wireless keyboard, connected to a large plasma screen so that we could make an input into the business plan together – with information close by on Blackboard or through Google that we could look at.

We filled in sections 1-10 of the business plan, which is over 50% of the document. These sections are not complete as such, but all of these sections have a decent amount of content that we think is of a good quality. We made some notes in some of the sections, these notes were so that we could come back to these sections after asking Chris questions or after future progress in other areas of the project.

I believe that our main difficulty was with the numbers – the quantities and the values. How much product can we sell to each area of the market? It is easy to make up figures to fit, but our figures must be reasonable with reasons to back it up. We can only make those numbers look more credible after backing it up with market research that hasn’t been completed yet. We tackled this by looking at the Student population of Aberystwyth, with this information we made a reasonable suggestion about how many bikes we will hire out.  During them meeting Tom located a Ceredigion Council tourism analysis document, which includes information about how much tourists spend in Ceredigion. Tom only really had a chance to skim it, but tried to find some useful numbers. This document should be analyzed incase it provides us with some useful feedback regarding our pricing (e.g. if something indicates they spend a lot on recreational activities, then this is good information). In a later meeting we will discuss market research further, we have a surveying lecture coming up at the end of the week.

The document is going to be sent of to Chris by Ian, so that we have have some feedback on the sections where we are stuck. On Wednesday we can discuss this document again and complete more sections.

On Tuesday 6th November I discussed the questionnaire with Ian. I sent him some suggested questions, however he had already come up with the same or similar ones. So instead I came up with some different answer ranges that Ian can consider, incase they provide better feedback. I also completed this blog.

Wednesday meeting – 2 hours

Thursday work – 1 hour

Friday meeting – 2 hours

Weekend work – 1.5 hours

Monday meeting – 3 hours

Tuesday work – 0.5 hours

Blogging and slide review – 1.5 hours

Total: 11.5 hours

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