Support for PSP Training Courses

The Process Dashboard provides special installers designed for students and instructors participating in PSP(SM) training courses, such as:

  • PSP for Engineers I & II
  • PSP Fundamentals & Advanced

These installers will create a specially tailored work breakdown structure that includes the programming assignments you’ll need for your PSP training course.

PSP Students

If you are a student enrolling in a PSP course, check with your instructor. In most cases, your instructor will be giving you a copy of the Process Dashboard on the first day of your PSP course, so you will not need to install the application in advance. If you won’t be getting a copy of the Process Dashboard from your instructor, you can follow these steps to prepare for the course:

  • Download the Process Dashboard with PSP course support using one of these links:
    Windows Mac / Linux / Unix
  • Double-click on the file to install the dashboard. (If double-clicking does not launch the installer, then follow these instructions.)
  • The installer will give you the opportunity to select support for the PSP for Engineers course, or for the PSP Fundamentals/Advanced course. If you do not know which course you are taking, quit the installer and contact your instructor to find out. Otherwise, make sure the check mark is next to the appropriate course (and there is no check mark next to the undesired course), and finish the installation.
  • Start the Process Dashboard. You should see a “PSP for Engineers” or “PSP Fundamentals & Advanced” item in your personal work breakdown structure. You’re ready for the PSP course! (If this item is not present, take a look at the additional steps described below.)

PSP Instructors

Special materials are available to support PSP Instructors who wish to use the Process Dashboard in their PSP courses. These materials are described below:

  • An installation CD for students
  • A special installer providing PSP Instructor tools
Great news! Instructors who are teaching the PSP Fundamentals/Advanced courses will be pleased to know that Process-Dashboard-specific process tutorials are now available. These tutorials cover the same concepts as the regular course materials, but provide screenshots and guidance describing the use of the Process Dashboard (instead of the Microsoft Access Student Tool from the SEI). These materials are distributed through the SEI’s blended learning portal. To use them, ask for the Process Dashboard version of the course when the SEI sets up your class in the learning portal.

Installation CD for Students

If you are an instructor teaching a PSP course, you are undoubtedly aware that the first day of class can be a busy and confusing time. The first lab session is a time when students already have a lot of questions about the PSP. To make this time a bit easier, a special installation CD is available for your use. In one step, this installation CD:

  • Automatically installs the Java Runtime Environment from Sun Microsystems, if needed
  • Installs the dashboard
  • Installs the PSP Process definitions and the PSP course support module
  • Automatically creates a work breakdown structure in the student’s hierarchy, representing the programming assignments they need to complete for the course

To use this installation CD, follow these steps:

  • Use one of the links below to download the PSP Student Installation CD for the class you are teaching:
    PSP Fundamentals & Advanced
    PSP for Engineers I & II
  • Unzip the file you just downloaded.
  • (Optional) Burn a CD containing these files. The CD will start installing automatically when inserted into a Windows computer.
  • If you prefer not to burn a CD, you can still use this set of files; just make the files available to your students (on a thumb drive or network drive, for example), and have them run the file “setup.exe“.

Note #1: This installation program is designed for students running Windows. If you have students on a Mac, Linux or Unix platform, they will not run the “setup.exe” file. Instead, they should look in the “data” subdirectory, and double-click on the JAR file they find there. (If double-clicking does not launch the installer, then follow these instructions.)

Note #2: This installation program is designed to create a starting point work breakdown structure containing each of the programming assignments for the PSP course you are teaching. However, in nearly every class, at least one student may fail to follow instructions properly and will need special help as a result. For example:

  • A student might have decided to uncheck the “PSP course” option in the installer, stating that they don’t want support for the PSP course. If they do this, the PSP course assignment sequence will not appear in their dashboard. To resolve the problem have the student run the installer again. (They do not need to uninstall anything first.)
  • An eager student might have decided to install the dashboard using the general-purpose student installer before the course started. If they do this, they could possibly choose the assignment sequence for the wrong PSP course. Check for this error during the lab session on Day 1. (You might perform this check while students are filling out their Student Profile, or when you are reviewing their plan for Program 1.) Just take a quick look at their main dashboard toolbar. The path will either begin with “Non Project → PSP Fundamentals & Advanced” or “Non Project → PSP for Engineers.” If the second path segment does not match the name of the course you are teaching, have the student immediately follow the steps described below to create the proper assignment sequence. If they have already collected any data (for example, Program 1 time log entries, planned time, etc), they will need to reenter the data against the tasks in the new assignment sequence.

PSP Instructor Tools

To assist with the grading process, a special build of the dashboard is available for PSP Instructors. Download the Process Dashboard with PSP Instructor Tools using one of these links:
Windows Mac / Linux / Unix

After downloading, run this file to launch the installer. The installer will create two shortcuts for your use:

  • A Process Dashboard shortcut. This shortcut is just like the one your students will receive when they run the installer above. You can use this shortcut for demonstration purposes during the laboratory presentations.
  • A Quick Launcher shortcut. As an instructor, you will use this shortcut to view electronically submitted assignments from your students.

When students finish an assignment, they should click on the “C” menu in their personal dashboard and choose “Tools > Save Data Backup.” This will allow them to save a snapshot of their Process Dashboard data in a ZIP file of their choosing. They can then submit this ZIP file to you with the other assignment materials.

When you receive a ZIP from from a student, use drag-and-drop to drop the ZIP file onto the Quick Launcher icon. The Quick Launcher will extract the files into a temporary directory and open a copy of the Process Dashboard pointing at that data. You will be able to browse all of their time/defect logs, forms and reports. Of course, you will be viewing an offline copy of their data contained in the ZIP file, so you do not need to worry about accidentally modifying anything. If you do make changes (to examine what-if scenarios), those changes will be discarded when you close the dashboard.

As a PSP Instructor, you will see an additional entry in the Process Dashboard script menu. Selecting the menu item will bring up a special Grading Helper that automates many of the time-consuming cross-references you must perform while grading.

After you are done grading the assignment, you will want to copy the student’s metrics data into the SEI’s PSP Instructor Support Tool. For detailed instructions on this process, click here. With student data copied into the SEI’s PSP Instructor Support Tool, you will be able to show charts of class progress, and you will be able to submit class data to the SEI.

Manually Creating the PSP Assignments

The installers above are designed to automatically create the appropriate assignment sequence for a particular PSP course. However, if you install the assignment sequence for the wrong course, or if the assignment sequence is not created for any reason, you can follow these steps to create the assignment sequence manually.

  • Open the Process Dashboard.
  • Click on the “C” menu and choose “Hierarchy.” The Hierarchy Editor will appear.
  • Highlight the “Non Project” node, then choose “Edit > Add Template.”
    • If you are taking the “PSP for Engineers” course, choose that option from the “Add Template” menu.
    • If you are taking the “PSP Fundamentals & Advanced” course, choose that option from the “Add Template” menu.
    • If you do not see these options in the “Add Template” menu, you have not installed the support for the PSP course. Please download and run one of the installers as described above.
  • If an incorrect PSP course is present in the hierarchy (for example, because the wrong type of PSP course was added by mistake), highlight the incorrect course and choose “Edit > Delete.”
  • In the Hierarchy Editor window, choose “File > Save” then “File > Close”.