Overview As the final stop in your journey toward your Master of Science in Information Technology, you will complete a capstone project that integrates the knowledge and skills you have developed in previous coursework and over the duration of the term by working to solve an information technology problem. To do this, you will develop a project proposal that identifies the problem you plan to solve. You will then design your solution and report on the implementation of your solution. You will also reflect on your project and your journey through the Information Technology (IT) program as well as how you plan to position yourself professionally. Evaluation of Capstone This capstone will be assessed somewhat differently than other courses you have taken online at SNHU. There are three separate components which will be submitted at different times during the course; however, they all operate together to comprise the whole capstone experience and are not assessed separately. You will be evaluated on all three as a unit in determining whether you have demonstrated proficiency in each outcome. Your work is expected to meet the highest professional standards. This assessment will evaluate your mastery with respect to the following outcomes:
- Develop innovative and agile, computer-based solutions to business problems through a systems analysis approach and technology integration and application
- Design a plan for implementing and monitoring solutions that incorporate core information technologies, concepts, and methods appropriate for secure information use across an enterprise
- Collaborate and communicate effectively in a variety of environments through situational awareness and audience analysis
- Develop an implementation plan for systematic information risk assessment for change management plans and processes within enterprise business and information technology environments
- Using computational logic and critical analysis, construct ethically sound, technology-informed procedures to ensure legal compliance and maintain security within enterprise information technology environments
Prompt To simulate a real work environment, your capstone project will progress from developing a project proposal, to reporting on the design and creation of a project solution, to reflecting on the capstone experience. As you can see, writing is an important part of this capstone experience. IT professionals are not typically known for being great writers; however, successful IT professionals employ quality communication skills. The proposal, report, and reflection are opportunities for you to exhibit your superior written communication skills. Working individually and with feedback from peers and your instructor, you will analyze a real-world problem that can be solved with information technology. The problem needs to have significance to your chosen discipline (database design, software programming, IT project management, etc.), and you may want to consider your previous coursework and assessments when identifying a problem. Solving the problem should make a positive difference for the community, for society, or globally. Use this as the lens through which you consider the real-world problem you intend to address. After analyzing a real-world problem in your project proposal, you will then design and develop your project solution, writing a report that demonstrates your solution and explains how it addresses the problem. As a practitioner and leader in the field of information technology, your project solution should further the development or use of current and emerging technologies and demonstrate your advanced technical ability and mastery in information technology. Example solutions:
- Creation of a database
- Development of a software application
- Design of a network infrastructure
- Analysis and improvement recommendations for an existing system or process related to information technology
- Simulation or implementation of an information technology idea
- Design of a technical communication system
- Design of an information technology project management process or framework
Capstone Component 1: IT Project Proposal For the first of three capstone components, you will develop a comprehensive and professional project proposal in which you identify a real-world problem and propose an IT solution. Innovation is key, so strive to create a unique solution or solve a pressing problem. You should envision yourself writing this proposal for key stakeholders, including those who would benefit from the proposed solution. The essence of the problem and technological solution should be clear enough for a development team to complete implementation of the project with minimal guidance. The proposal should exhibit graduate-level writing, using APA style when appropriate. The following sections must be included in your project proposal. However, you are not limited to including only this information:
- Problem Statement: Analyze the problem you identified and explain why the problem is significant.
- Overview of Solution: Provide a clear, high-level description of your proposed solution. The solution should use innovative ideas and apply emergingtechnologies where appropriate (collaboration tools, social media, cloud-based technology, mobile technology, virtualization, etc.).
- Describe the operating environment including any existing technology that is used now. How will the proposed solution replace, enhance, or be integrated with the existing system or environment?
- Propose an adoption plan that supports the successful implementation of the technological solution within current processes, architecture, and environment.
- Explain the methodology, strategy, or approach you plan to use to develop your proposed solution. Your approach could include agile methodologies, creating prototypes, using traditional project management strategies, and so on. This section should also include frameworks and standards such as NIST, ISO, IEEE, and COBIT, if applicable.
- Identify risks that can impact the success of your project and develop appropriate risk mitigation strategies.
- Tools: Describe the tools and technologies you plan to use to develop your solution, addressing data security, systems, networks, and other ITcomponents in the design. Consider virtualization, cloud technologies, integrated development environments, collaborative tools, project management software, software programming languages, simulation environments, etc.
- Requirements: Document functional, security, and performance requirements for your project at a high level. In addition, identify gaps between anyexisting systems and the existing operating environment, and the environment and system that you plan to create.
- Compliance (if appropriate): Identify any standards, regulations, or laws with which your project must be in compliance. For example, if applicable toyour project, consider FERPA, HIPAA, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, etc.
Capstone Component 2: IT Project Report For the second of three capstone components, you will imagine that the key stakeholders for which you wrote your proposal gave you the go-ahead to implement your information technology solution to the problem you identified. You have designed and developed your project solution; now you must report to the stakeholders. In other words, for this capstone component, you will design and develop your project solution and then report on it. If you implement your solution, in your report you should include a summary of your implementation and testing. If you are not able to implement your solution, you may develop a model, simulation, prototype, or proof of concept as an alternative to developing a fully implemented project. In this case, in your report you should include a plan for implementation and testing. Your report must provide clear evidence that your project was implemented and tested (or is implementable and testable). This can be achieved by documenting a demonstration of the project in use or documenting an explanation of the model, simulation, or prototype. Consider using video or screenshots to demonstrate and explain your project. If the implemented project is to be supplied to the instructor, you could provide a user manual that explains how to install, configure, and run the software. You are encouraged to submit artifacts of the project such as diagrams, software applications, database designs, and process documents. Make sure to include clear instructions for accessing and using these artifacts. The design and development of your project solution should demonstrate professional-level knowledge and skills. Your project report should include at least one recommendation for future enhancements. Explain what you might add to the project if you had more resources? What risk(s) would you need to consider before the enhancement was implemented at some future point in time? What would first have to happen before the future enhancement was seriously considered? The following sections are required in your project report, although you are not limited to only these sections:
- Project Design
- Project Implementation: If you implemented your project, describe the implementation. If your project was not implemented, how would youimplement it?
- Project Test Plans and Results: If you implemented and tested your project, describe how you tested your project. If your project was not implementedor tested, how would you test it?
- Recommendations for Future Enhancements
- Appendix: Supporting Evidence of Project Implementation: Include your supporting documents in this section. For example, your screenshots or usermanual should be included here.
Capstone Component 3: Project and Professional Reflection For the third and final component of your capstone, you will write an essay in which you discuss the process and outcomes of this project, as well as how your coursework culminated in the capstone project. This may include discussions of unforeseen problems or obstacles and any unexpected surprises. The essay should also discuss your identified strengths as well as problems that you encountered while completing the project. Additionally, the essay should also explain why this project is important to your discipline and how it could contribute to positive social change. Finally, the essay will examine how the capstone project will be useful in the job market or for furthering your education. You should envision this component as a personal reflection on the capstone and your experience in the Information Technology program as a whole. For instance, relative to the capstone, you could discuss what you did (or intended to do), and then consider what worked well, what challenges you faced, and what you would change or do differently to make your experience better. In reflecting on your time here at SNHU, you might discuss where you started, where youhave ended up, or where you see yourself going. Note that this component is not about evaluating the capstone itself but rather your experience within the capstone project. Some of the issues that you could address in the final component of this capstone may include:
- Overall, what was your capstone experience like? Focus on the big picture.
- What unforeseen problems or obstacles did you encounter during your capstone experience? What challenges did you face? What would you do differently?
- Reflect on the significance of the capstone in relation to your own experience at SNHU. How can you leverage your capstone project to lead to conference papers, full-time jobs, or news interviews?
- What connections do you see between your capstone and the IT program?
- How will you apply what you have learned to your future academic and/or professional life?
- How have your current experiences and education prepared you for a career in the IT field?
- What ethical considerations did you make or should you have made during your project? Why?
- How did this capstone support positive social change, further or use emerging technologies, and demonstrate your strengths as an IT practitioner?