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Smart Bid Calculator

For our Capstone project, my team chose to build an application for my brother’s small business. I neglected to consider that we would have to do all the requirements gathering for the project. Have I mentioned that I despise requirements gathering? Once you really delve into the nitty gritty, somehow the project expands and becomes a herculean task.

My brother Ryan made the project sound easy. A mobile app for Smart Pest technicians to enter in data and a web app for business personnel to generate accurate bids. I love building software projects, creating something out of nothing, helping solve business problems… I was sold. Our professor didn’t think it would be a big enough project. I had to convince him to let three people work on it.

At our first meeting, Ryan showed us the Excel spreadsheets housing his data and business logic. Holy crap. He sent us over documentation on the lead information that techs need to obtain. Initially Ryan said there were only a handful of services. Now we’re looking at fourteen different services requiring 10-15 pieces of information for each service. Technically, I don’t think it’s hard to do, my issue is the volume of information we need to obtain and store.

I thought it would be easy to web scrape current materials pricing so that Ryan wouldn’t have to do it manually anymore. I failed to realized they have upwards of 60 different materials from multiple suppliers. Needless to say I’m feeling overwhelmed. So I took a step back and realized that the business already has a solution for generating bids. It’s lame that they have so much manual data entry but it’s functional. At a minimum, my brother needs a tire swing, not a roller coaster. We changed our goals but I’m still hopeful we can deliver everything. If we can’t, we’ll at least deliver a minimum viable product that will eliminate inefficiencies in the business while letting our team maintain sanity. Sanity is good.

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