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Project and Product

Disclaimer: This page describes a scenario for a project course with the ambition to provide close to real industrial experience for the students. Zenterio has kindly agreed to play the role of the customer and let the students work with their products. This means that no information on this page can be regarded as official statements from Zenterio.

Before the summer vacation 2013, the executive board of the company decided that a new product should be developed and marketed. They have forecasted a great demand for a new generation of web-based GUI:s for Set Top Boxes (STB). The time line is fairly ambitious; a first release of version 1.0 should be launched in December 2013 at the Valla Software and System Expo (VSSE).

The Product

The system does not exist today and should therefore be designed from start. However, the aim is to use some framework and build the system based on that. This is one of the tasks that the R&D department will consider in the beginning of the project.

The aim of the system is to offering all opertors a web-based solution for end-user GUI. It must be easy to use and configurable so that it can fit several different operators' need, i.e., this is a general product that is not targeted for one particular operator.

There are two main criteria on the product:

  • The system should consist of different modules, e.g., graphical user interface, hardware operation, all the different services etc. The list can be very long. Hence, the main input for version 1.0 should come from the reference customer (see below).
  • The product is sold as an turn-key solution for all segments of operators.

Reference Customer

The product is only at an idea stage. Therefore, good customer input is essential in order to set up the right requirements. Furthermore, since it is a new product, the company needs a good reference customer to be able to sell the product in the future. The CEO has managed to sign a contract with Zenterio AB in Linköping. This department has signed a contract consisting of a pre-paid pre-study, where our company should deliver a plan and suggestions of the product. If Zenterio accepts the pre-study, they will order the system, which must be delivered no later than December 2013.

Zenterio has long since realized many operators would benefit from having a web-based solution for the end-user GUI:

  1. A web-based solution is much more customizable by the operator in terms of branding and features. The threshold for implementing a web portal is typically much lower than for implementing a native application built on C++.
  2. A web-based solution is instantly deployed. If you wish to change how something works or looks (or fix a bug in the application), there is no need to recompile the firmware, only push the changes to the web server.

During the past year Zenterio developed an API for TV services. However, in the offer today Zenterio has no portal of its own, only pages built for the explicit purpose of testing the API. Some smaller operators do not want to take the cost of developer a full web portal of their own but would still like to draw the benefits of having a web based solution. Having a turn-key solution available for these operators would be a very valuable offer

Thus it has been decided to utilize an external contractor to continue the effort.

This arrangement with a reference customer gives several advantages. The customer will:

  • pay for some of the product development cost.
  • be our first reference customer for future marketing.
  • give us good requirements as input, which enable relevant features.

Customer contact

The project leader at Zenterio is Fredrik Paulsson, who is assisted by Mohamed Abu Baker. They have internal backup from a reference group at the company, where input and requirements can come from different users.

All customer meetings must be arranged by setting up pre-booked meetings. Further correspondence can of course also take place via e-mail, but you should agree with the customer about how these procedures should take place. You will receive contact details from the CEO when the customer is ready.

Product Requirements

It is the P&S department's responsibility to organize, collect, and assemble the requirements for the product. The are many different stakeholders who can be the source of requirements (or potential requirements), where the most prominent are:
  • The reference customer
  • The CEO
  • Employees
  • End-users
  • Competitors (by studying what they are offering)

Project Constraints

In an utopian world, there would be unlimited resources to produce and deliver products. However, in the real world, this is of course not the case. In this project there are many critical resource constraints, such as the available time for the customer, computer resources, budget, calender time etc.

Since we have signed a fixed price contract with the reference customer, the executive board has decided that the amount of time that we are allowed to spend on the product is limited. A corporate decision is made that each engineer in the project should spend approximately 160 hours on this project, including everything (project meetings, document preparations, implementation etc.) Since this project requirement is very important, it is up to the department managers' to collect time reports from employee and report this before each company or department meeting.


Page responsible: Kristian Sandahl
Last updated: 2013-09-02