Thoughts on progress reports

Dean Michael Berris blogged:

I personally despise the need to write progress reports in human
terms — mainly I want to show that progress is being made in terms
of code and functionality. I don’t want to put down into writing
things that I feel about my groupmates, but rather I would like to
commend them just for their accomplishments. I’ve just submitted
one progress report, and I never really liked it. My grade may be
in jeopardy because of that, but anyway that’s how I personally
feel.

I find I _like_ making progress reports, if only in terms of e-mail to
the emacs-wiki-discuss mailing list or entries in blog. I like
summarizing my changes in a changelog and telling people about my
future plans. Not everyone can glance at code and understand it. Even
I’d get lost if I had to stare at my diffs to find out what I changed
when. I think progress reports are a Good Thing.

In fact, I think they’re such a good thing that I want my students to
do them, even the first year students. I want them to get into the
habit of reflecting on what they’ve done, what they’ve learned, and
what they still need to learn. I want them to get into the habit of
mapping out what they want to do and marking out what they’ve
accomplished. I want them to explore not only their accomplishments in
terms of code but their growth in so many other areas, like working
with groupmates. I want to hear about problems not just at the end but
throughout the duration of the project.

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