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HESSO_AustauschFinnland_2022_VGF29

The International Software Development Project

The International Software Development Project module of the Business Information Technology degree programme prepares students for their future by developing their technical knowledge and cross-cultural collaboration skills. 

In this year's project, students worked in real-life conditions with an external client, with part of the virtual project team being located in Finland (Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences). The participants had to carry out a complex development project using agile project management technology.

Four weeks after the start of the virtual project, the Swiss and Finnish students met at the Swiss Digital Center (Technopôle) in Sierre. Read below what the students had to say about their experience:

Interview with Cathy Gay, HES-SO Valais-Wallis student

In this project, you work with a client. Can you tell us who the client is and briefly explain what you are developing for them?

Each team could choose from clients and projects proposed by the school. My team project is a co-creation project between Cyberlearn, HES-SO Valais-Wallis (Business IT), Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG) and La Source School of Nursing for the redesign of a Serious Game prototype in the medical field. This Serious Game simulates the triage of new patients in the emergency room by the nursing staff. My team will be assisting in the redesign of this Serious Game. 

 What do you think of this international project? Describe its added value for your studies.

This international project is very interesting because it's not only about bringing a project to completion, like we are used to doing, but also about teamwork. We work on a real project for a real client. This is why we learn much more than just techniques or theoretical aspects; we learn to deal with a real-life project and with people from other cultures.

 What are the biggest challenges of this project? 

It is not always easy to work with people from other countries. You can’t know in advance if you will get along well and therefore do a good job. Also, working in different locations can be difficult without having met each other, because it is difficult to build trust with each other, and it’s difficult to adapt as they don’t necessarily have the same educational background. Another challenge, although it does not concern my team, could be the language barrier. 

What was the cooperation with the Finnish students like for you? 

The collaboration of my team with our Finnish students is going very well. We get along well and have very good communication. We regularly organize Teams video conferences or communicate by message. We do not hesitate to ask for help, and we tend to help each other. We also had the chance to meet the Finnish students for a week, which further strengthened the cohesion of our team.

Do you like working in a multicultural and international environment, and do you think it will help with your professional career?

Working in a multicultural and international environment is very valuable, as we can learn from each other due to our different cultures and ways of working. This is obviously a situation that we may face in our professional career, so experiencing it during our studies can only be helpful. 

Interview with Jonathan Baquirin, Hagaa-Helia student

What is the most important aspect of the virtual project? 

The most important aspect is the development work using the prescribed agile methodology the best we can. The Scrum methodology guides, among other things, the way we should organise meetings, tasks, and communicate with each other. The project would not be successful if the methodology was poorly executed, regardless of the technologies we use or the technical skill levels of our members.

What were the highlights of this week at the HES-SO Valais-Wallis?

The highlights for me were meeting the other students and teachers and getting to see Technopôle. It was nice to work with the team in the same physical environment for a few days. Also, the team building activity and touring Sierre, Sion and Zermatt were great experiences.

What do you think of the study environment of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis?

I think that it is nice that Swiss students have access to the facilities in Technopôle while doing their school projects. It is inspirational and an early glimpse of what working professionally in this kind of facilities could feel like.

Would you recommend this project to future students from Haaga-Helia University?

I would 100% recommend this project to future students. It is a great opportunity to improve by being part of something a bit different. You get to know a lot of different people and get opportunities to improve your technical and soft skills. Plus, traveling to Switzerland was a blast.