Winter Term – Blog Post #3

Discuss your project thus far, and your role in creating it.

  • What was the most difficult challenge, and how did you solve it?

There were two big challenges for us. The first one was solving the authentication. I spent a week and a half trying to solve it. It was a tedious process in setting up the database, setting up FlutterFlow, and connecting the two. Connecting the two was the challenging part because before we could test the authentication, we had to debug all the errors.

Right now, the most difficult challenge is developing the custom function for calculations. We have to work with DART – the low level programming language. There are no tutorials on it, so we are working from nothing. We have to figure out how to create the custom function, how to develop the calculation, and how we want to include it in the interface. This challenge is a work in progress.

  • Why did you choose your project, and has it met your expectations thus far?

I chose this project last August because I wanted to be part of something that was new and help shape what the future of AI looks like.  

  • What would you do differently on your project and why?

I would learn earlier how to program in DART. It is a low level programming language used in FlutterFlow. The layers of FlutterFlow is it is at the highest level, then Flutter is one level below, then DART is the lowest level.

I would not do anything differently in the research, design, or development process.

  • Do you feel your project was managed well or poorly, and how would you change things?

I think the project was managed well. I worked with the Project Sponsor weekly. We met on the weekend and did development and testing in a sandbox before developing the app. This process worked well for us.

During each phase of development, I contacted Prof. Pfeil and the TA to update them on the project. That way, they knew what the Project Sponsor and I were doing. This helped with communication and prevented confusion from every party.

  • Did you initially have doubts about your ability to complete the project? How do you feel now?

In the beginning of the school year, I had doubts because I was overwhelmed. I was nervous about finishing the project. I thought about all the work that had to be done. But the Project Sponsor emphasized this is an MVP. This became a mantra for me throughout the project.

Understanding this is an MVP kept me focused on developing core app features. This helped me prioritize project objectives. This way I focused on the task at hand, finished it, then moved on to the next one without feeling overwhelmed. We have realistic expectations.

  • What is the most interesting thing about your project and why?

AI is an area that is growing exponentially and will impact every aspect of the Internet. It is interesting how fast things are changing and the magnitude of the impact. All of this is exciting because we do not know where this could go. This is an opportunity to shape the future.

  • Who will use your project? Will it benefit them?

AI auditors, government agencies, private companies, etc. will use our project to measure how much risk is in their AI system, product, or enterprise.

  • What are 5 things you learned from working on your project?

1. Communication is key.

2. Good is good enough.

3. Level set expectations.

4. Develop this as an MVP.

5. Understand the customer.

  • What have you learned about working in teams?

I am working on a solo project, so I have not worked so much in teams. What I have learned is how to listen, understand, and communicate OSU’s expectations with my Project Sponsor and vice versa. Learning how to prioritize and communicate with both parties is crucial to level set expectations and agree on what attributes are being developed. 

  • If you could start over, what would you do differently?

As mentioned earlier, I would learn earlier how to program in DART – the low level programming language. I do not have regrets though.  

  • How have you handled getting ‘stuck’ on the project?

Taking a break from it so when I come back to it, I can look at it with “fresh eyes”. This way another problem solving idea pops in my head that I have not tried yet. Having perspective for me is crucial when working.

  • What are some your own life hacks for handling school work, group work, and/or project work?

I have an extremely busy schedule. I go to school full time and work two jobs. One of these jobs is fast paced with multiple sub-projects.

My only life hacks are prioritizing, having extreme discipline, and having a detailed planner and to do list. My advice is to deeply focus on the task at hand, get it done, and move on to the next. It is easy to be stressed and overwhelmed, but I work through this by taking breaks. I get tea, walk around, and go to the gym. It helps me break up my day and give me perspective.

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