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Project Learning. Senior Capstone Design. What is “Project Learning”?. IT. Project Learning is Part of a Process. Product development is the process Great results don’t happen by accident Accidents happen without a process. Goals for Project Learning.

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project learning

Project Learning

Senior Capstone Design

project learning is part of a process
Project Learning is Part of a Process
  • Product development is the process
  • Great results don’t happen by accident
  • Accidents happen without a process
goals for project learning
Goals for Project Learning
  • Clear picture and shared consensus of project outcome
  • Clearly and specifically know when project is done and good
  • Create the knowledge and skills required to produce a design that is done and good

You Are Here!

importance of project learning
Importance of Project Learning

Opportunity to be Innovative

Cost of Change


Project Timeline

keys to customer satisfaction
Keys to Customer Satisfaction

Positive Customer Satisfaction

Negative Customer Satisfaction

Project learning adds value (Jain and Sobek, Atman)

Detailed design

Design refinement

  • Broadly defined project
  • Idea generation
  • Problem definition
  • High level engineering analysis

Experts Spend a Lot of Time Here!

identify stakeholders and experts
Identify Stakeholders and Experts
  • People
  • Stakeholders have interest in new product creation
    • Identify these people early
    • Tap into their knowledge
    • Jump into their shoes
  • Experts have specific knowledge
    • Ask them about products, processes, and technologies
    • Identify what help you need
    • Identify where to focus efforts

Who are your stakeholders?

interview stakeholders
Interview Stakeholders
  • People
  • Groups to individuals
  • Focus on needs and constraints
  • Find out “what” not “how”
  • Interviewees focus on solutions and experiences
  • You will have to tease out the needs
teasing out the needs
Teasing Out the Needs
  • People

The 5 Whys

Root Cause Analysis

My car won’t start.

The battery is dead.

Alternator doesn’t work.

Belt is broken.

Belt is old.

Car has not been maintained regularly.

  • The “problem”.
  • Why?
  • Why?
  • Why?
  • Why?
  • Why?

Root Cause!

interview guidelines
Interview Guidelines
  • People
  • Watch for things that aren’t said.
    • A simple requirement can be overlooked
  • Watch for things that are said.
    • Is it clear?
    • Communicate back to customer
  • Watch for priorities.
    • Must do, should do, would be nice
    • Prioritize complete needs list
  • Let the user/client talk.
    • Follow up for clarification  5 whys?
  • Be prepared with a list of questions.

Do you have a list of at least 20 good questions for your client?

areas of need
Areas of Need
  • People
  • Functional performance
  • Human factors/interface
  • Physical requirements
  • Reliability
  • Life-cycle use
  • Manufacturing requirements

What needs does your project have in each of these areas?

conduct an observation
Conduct an Observation
  • People
  • People often do not
    • realize opportunities,
    • realize their problems, or
    • communicate all needs
  • Apply anthropological techniques
    • Document activities
    • Characterize user types
    • Characterize value to user
empathetic activities
Empathetic Activities
  • People
  • First-hand experience is a great way to grow understanding
    • Use the product
    • Perform the process
    • Experience the hardship!
    • “Ride-along”

How will you interact with and understand your client’s concerns?

comparable products
Comparable Products
  • Teardown competitive products
  • Learn all you can about the pieces and parts
  • Establish benchmark of performance
  • Estimate competitors cost
  • Product

Who is your competition? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses?

marketplace acceptance
Marketplace Acceptance
  • Know how your competitor is viewed
  • Know how your customer makes decisions
    • What is important?
    • What is not important?
  • What unique value do you bring?
  • Product

Every project has a customer. Who is yours? What do they value?


“…if … it would be possible to practice by the hour instead of by the second there would be hope of advancing the solution of a very difficult problem…and without any serious danger.” – Wilber and Oroville Wright

  • Technology

The Wright brothers predecessors and peers were spending many hours designing and about 2 seconds testing.

experimentation and modeling
Experimentation and modeling
  • Gain clarity in…
    • relevant physical phenomenon
    • create math models
    • relate them to experiments
  • Determine what can be validated
  • And test, test, test

What simple test or math model can you use today to learn more about your project?

  • Technology
  • Identify core technologies
  • What potential directions exist for a solution
  • Conduct web searches, patent searches, existing documentation
  • Scan vendor catalogs for enabling technology
  • Technology

What don’t you know?

become familiar with relevant codes standards
Become familiar with relevant codes/standards
  • Understand governing standards
  • Consult with experts to get a handle on relevant codes
  • Summarize relevant material in a manner that is easily digestible by teammates
  • Technology