Akaash Sinha

Capstone Reflections

21st March, 2022

Capstone Reflections

Originally posted on January 10th on LinkedIn

As I begin my final semester in UGA’s Master’s in Business Technology tomorrow, I want to share some of my work and insights that I learned completing my capstone project.

In early February, we were assigned groups and projects. Our group was called Team Black Pages Monitor and comprised of Chad Heard, Kyle Walker, Tisha Josephs, Sierra Kirtz, and myself. We were tasked to help our sponsor create a website to serve as a directory and resource guide for Black-owned businesses; in the same spirit as the Green Book. For most of the Spring semester, our instructors gave us assignments such as building UML diagrams to help us map out potential use cases. At this stage, we had many possibilities on how to develop the website, including using the MERN stack.

In July, that is when our project started taking form. Chad was able to make some low-fidelity wireframes that we used to create a proof of concept. We built the proof of concept in regular React.js and Bulma. It was through this experience we realized that if we used plain React, we would not be able to deliver much value for our sponsor. We also realized using the MERN stack would not be feasible given our skillsets and our limited amount of time. We then abandoned plans of using the MERN stack and then began looking at other options. We then took a look at using Next.js, a framework built on top of React, and using Strapi, a headless content management system. Using Next.js ensured that our collective knowledge on the proof-of-concept would not go to waste, as well as solve some of the issues we were experiencing with plain React. With Strapi, we were able to provide a clean user interface for our sponsor to interact with, as well it helped guide the structure of the site. While, it was initially out of necessity, using Next.js and Strapi proved to be a better fit for this project than using the MERN stack.

In August, we began building out the application with those two technologies. We also decided to have more clearly defined roles, and I was named the lead technical advisor for the group. It was a bit intimidating at first. I was the youngest member of our group and the least experienced professionally. My first order of business was creating two subgroups, one for those more comfortable with programming in the front-end group and those who were less comfortable with primarily focusing on Strapi. I believe this division was a shot in the arm for our group. It took advantage of our unique backgrounds and put everyone in a position best to succeed.

In short, I learned quite a bit from a technology standpoint from this project. However, I believe the biggest skills that I learned were how to work with a completely remote team and how to manage those growing pains. I cannot stress enough how much I could not have been able to do this without the help of Chad, Kyle, Tisha, and Sierra.