My first experience using agile project management and trello to improve communication within a software development team

My in my current position at RIT Career Services and Cooperative Education I am  involved with the Co-op Evaluation System Enhancements Project. In this project we are working with the RIT ITS Project Development to improve the functionality and processes within the evaluation system. We currently have employed a software engineering as a co-op for the semester to work on these improvements. Since this was a multiple office collaboration it was important to establish effective communication tools to ensure any member of the team would be able to view the progress of the project at any given time.


The team first took the time to learn agile project management skills. Through agile project management large pieces of a project are broken into small pieces, or sprints. Breaking projects into sprints was the best way to implement changes more frequently than in projects past.


In order to communicate effectively our team utilized the web application Trello. The career services team created “cards” with different requests formatting statements in a specific format to help the development team identify which part of the system and what users are affected by this request. Statements were formatted “As a [ROLE], I need [BLANK] to be able to [BLANK]”. Formatting statements in this way enabled our team to communicate exactly what we needed the team to enhance.


Utilizing trello and agile project management has increased productivity as well as the communication within our development team. I am truly converted to using agile project management and trello when enhancing an existing system.




Improving the process for students to receive credit for cooperative education experiences at RIT


Currently the requirements for a student to receive credit for co-op are to report the position to the RIT Career Services Office, register for the Co-op course within their major on SIS, complete a student work report, and receive an employer evaluation. A few of the required engineering programs have the student’s meet with their advisors in to review the student work report and employer evaluation to receive a passing grade.


Throughout the past year managing the evaluation reporting and evaluation system, I have noticed there are many students who have not completed a portion of the co-op requirements for credit and are in their last weeks of school chasing their previous employers to receive evaluation forms. In order to ensure all students are reporting and receiving credit for their co-op, i would improve and standardize the process to receive credit for a co-op/experiential learning position.  The following steps are suggested in order to improve the process. There is currently no standard process in place.


  1. Student receives and accepts co-op offer from employer
  2. Student reports co-op information by completing form via
    1. If the contact exists already in the database the record will automatically match that record and “Verify” the co-op.
    2. If the contact does not exist each record is reviewed for legitimacy and accuracy. If the address if verified through a Maps search and supervisor is emailed and verified by the career service office, the contact is added to the database, the record is matched and verified.
  3. Academic Department can now see the verified co-op report record. Once the record is reviewed for accuracy, the student is enrolled in the co-op course relating to their major.
  4. During week 3 of the semester a student receives an email from evaluation system to review contact information and update if necessary.
  5. During week 11(week 7 of summer semester) the student and employer receive weekly, and biweekly emails from the system reminding them to complete student work reports and Evaluations. Emails will discontinue when the form is submitted.
  6. Once the Student Work Report and Employer Evaluation are reviewed a grade of pass or fail is entered into the system.


As long as this step by step process is followed a student will complete their co-op evaluation and work report on time and receive a grade. It is important that academic advisors as well as career service coordinators are in contact with students who are not on track with receiving credit for their experience.


Final Post

Something I learned in this class that will help me in my career was the infographics and how to present something in a way that doesn’t make it hard to understand.

In my career everything we do gets put on a poster board after a project is complete so we can present it.  We constantly have to play around with the layout, fonts, colors, etc.  I think this has helped me with my poster boards and will continue to help me with my posters.



Interior Design

As some of you may know by now, I am studying interior design at RIT.  I think some people don’t realize what interior design means.

There is interior decorators – who decorate.  They put paintings on the wall, dress up the space to look presentable, etc.

Interior designers are the ones who plan out where the lighting goes, where exit signage goes, where smoke and audio/visual alarms go, we have to think about colors – what do they do to people emotions, we have to think about lighting in contact with colors – how is at choice of lighting or bulb going to change the color on the wall (because it does do such a thing!), etc.

We don’t give a lot of credit to good designers and i think we should!



Final Blog Post

This class taught me a lot of things which I feel will be very helpful down the line. If I was to pick one thing that has changed the way I approach my work, I would say the different levels of editing takes the win. As a security analyst, we have to often write manuals and reports from all the security tests we conduct. Just recently, I performed a pen test where I evaluated a company’s security online. I had to write a report of my findings and I was able to incorporate a lot of the things I learned in this class.

One other thing that is going to help me a lot is writing effective memos. I learned about the different ways to include graphics in a piece of work depending on the type of scenario. I also learned how infographics are really good at portraying your thoughts to the reader. Being able to accurately interpret data from tables and graphs is also a really good skill I have picked up from this class. Lastly, I learned just how significant plain language is and the importance of making sure that documents are accessible to people.

— Smayan