professor
Tristan Boutros

Apr 2021

OMG NO! AVOID!!!! If getting a B is your goal, this is your class. So supposedly this class has good grading. This is SO WRONG. Final project takes up 40% of the grade. He never gave out any detailed rubrics or samples (although we repeatedly asked), and gave groups grades from 63 to 83. Mean is 73. Yes the mean is B-, and he basically said 'everyone had a good semester, B range is a good score'. Groups tried hard (working together for days on end) to prep for final project, and he was picking bones from eggs to artificially lower grades. Barely anyone got an A due to the ridiculous grading of final project. Impossible to get an A not because people didn't try hard, but bcs he didn't want us to. What a joke! A prof that shows up late to classes, doesn't prepare for his course giving out B grades to his hardworking students saying it's a great score for them. Even strict, tenured professors give out much better grades than him. He doesn't deserve to teach at Columbia. Please get rid of this man. After all, the CS department doesn't need a mind-reading class.

Apr 2021

Don't take this course. The grading is asinine. The final project is 40% of your grade and the class average was a 73. The highest was an 83. So only like one team was able to get an A, and that was if they did really well on their other assignments. We met multiple times with the professor to get expectations and feedback on our project. He gave us positive encouragement and we thought we were doing great. Nope. He docked a ton of points because we didn't include things he never mentioned. The "detailed" grading rubric was worthless apparently. The entire class was caught off guard. We're collecting signatures to email the dean about it now. I'm currently going to end up with a B+, which is bs because our team worked our ass off on this project. The professor reiterated there's no curve. Also the class is severely disorganized for a project management class. About 25% of the quizzes we took had a question with a wrong answer, so we had to mass email him about it. The guidelines for the written report said it needed to be 3-7 pages, but then a week before it was due he said it's expected to be 10-15 pages. The professor seems like a nice guy but was all over the place.

Apr 2021

A useful course in terms of the material being applied to software development and industry. However, the assessments in the course are very poor, requiring little effort, but with arbitrary outcomes. First, the quizzes are very detail-oriented and require quickly searching through the books - with lots of subtle tricks. Second, the project is graded quite harshly, for example in our class the average was 80 with 75 low and 85 high, lowering everyone's grade as it was a big part of the grade. So don't expect a great grade.

May 2020

This class counts as a tech-light elective for the CS major. There is no coding involved at all. This class goes over the basics Scrum, which is a team management style used in a lot of tech companies. There is a group project involved, and Tristan DOES NOT allow you to choose your own groups. If teaming up with potentially random strangers bothers you and you were planning on taking the class with a friend you know you can depend on, don't bother registering for it at all. The group project ended up being mostly fine, but the instructions were kind of vague and confusing. I took the class already and I still don't really know what they were looking for--I ended up writing a business plan that outlined the production of a make-believe product. We also had a group presentation. We also have tedious, irritating weekly readings and quizzes. The content of the class is the exact same as the content in the book, so I stopped going to class (especially since it was from 8-10PM on a Thursday night). The questions are designed to trick you--Tristan usually writes questions by ripping quotes directly from the book and changing a single word, which makes it very easy to trip up. His insistence on this style of evaluation shows how insecure he is: he is afraid that people don't take his class seriously, so he makes his quizzes difficult to ace so we are forced to take it seriously. The readings were long--if you actually did them and took the careful notes you needed for the quiz, it would probably take about six hours. The content was interesting from an optimizing workflow perspective, but overall painstaking and not a good use of time.

May 2018

This is a CS course but there is no need to code. The professor use 4 books: 1. The Basics of Process Improvement by Tristan Boutros & Jennifer Cardella 2. The Process Improvement Handbook: A Blueprint for managing Change & Increasing Organizational Performance by Tristan Boutros & Tim Purdie 3. Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process (Addison-Wesley Signature Series) by Kenneth S. Rubin 4. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)–Fifth Edition The lectures covered mostly on the 3rd book: Essential Scrum. Other books are verbose and quite boring. Some events in the lectures are likely to invoke your childhood but those events have nothing to do with grade. There is a project proposal & presentation done in groups at the end of the semester. The presentation is likely to take a lot of time but the effort you made will probably be meaningless. Although there are given grading rubrics (copied directly from the last semester without changing the dates in the document), the final scores are quite subjective and the grading rubrics don't really give you the proportion of what item should be covered more in the proposal/presentation. There was a voting on team presentations but there was no explicit announcement about whether this will affect the grade. The result was not publicly announced after the grade was released. Usually, team presentations are divided into two weeks and teams in the 2nd week will do much better on the presentation because they can learn from the 1st week. You can get a good grade if you are in the right group even if you seldom go to classes or attend group meetings. Find good friends that will notify you which class needs to sign up or sign up for you. Most quiz answers are not given at the end of semester so it is hard to learn from your mistake. There is a high probability that you get something around or over 90 before the final proposal/presentation score is released. The distribution of the final proposal/presentation is high: 90 mean: around 80 low: 65 so there is a high probability that it will lower your score.

Dec 2017

Pretty easy class. Lecture time was crap (Th 8:10pm ) but I barely went to class. Material is pretty easy and posts aren't difficult to write. No curve. good major/tech elective course. Group project about how to build a product, not actually building the product. Tristan is a bro, pretty sensible guy.