The project assignment will allow you to directly apply one of the advanced methods such as probabilistic CPM/PERT, DSM or System Dynamics (SD) to a system/product development situation at your company. Alternatively, you may want to analyze in-depth the reasons for failure or success of a past or ongoing complex system/product development project. The objective of the project is for you to leverage the theory presented in class in a practical setting and to improve the way projects are managed in your organization. It is also a vehicle to learn from the project management experiences of your peers.
The intent of the class project assignment is to allow you to explore one particular aspect of SPM in-depth in the context of your organization or a general industrial setting. There is relatively large freedom in the selection of topic, choice of research method and team composition. Some categories of acceptable topics are given below.
This list is not meant to be comprehensive. We are open to other types of projects, provided that there is a clear link to the SPM class objective and contents.
As a guideline, your project will generally fall into one of the following categories:
- DSM Project: Create and analyze a DSM model of a product development project of your choosing. You must identify a project to study, collect the data, conduct the analysis, and suggest ways that the process can be improved based on your findings.
- SD Project: Identify the dynamics and drivers of a real or hypothetical project. Build a system dynamics model of the project including causal loop diagrams and governing equations. Quantitatively simulate the evolution of the project and explore "what-if" scenarios. This SD model has to be different from the one used in Homework 4 and 6.
- Survey of Methods and Tools: Conduct a survey of professed and actually used methods and tools (software) in system project management in your organization. Compare advantages and disadvantages of these methods and distill lessons learned.
- Success and Failure of a Past Project: Analyze in-depth the preparation, planning and execution of a large-scale past (or ongoing) development project. Study historical data and conduct stakeholder interviews. Assess the degree of project success or failure against the original project objectives and identify key success factors.
A list of project topics from last year is included in Appendix A.
- The project is expected to require approximately 60 hours of cumulative work per person over the entire semester.
- Since you will learn about project management techniques, we hope that you will apply these to your own project. Don't procrastinate until the day before a deadline. We notice.
- This project assignment will be handed out during the first class.
- Teams must be formed by the second week and be indicated on the project proposal. The nominal team size is two to three (2-3) students.
- Two page project proposals (pdf) are due at the end of the second week: lecture 3
- Upload to your team's folder on the server before lecture 3 at 3 pm EDT
- Avoid doing a project that would be competition sensitive or company proprietary
- It is better to be somewhat narrow and well focused than too broad
- The proposal should be carefully written and contain the following information:
- Names and contact information of the team (maximum 3 per team) (who?)
- Project Title (under which category does the project fall, see Section 2?)
- Project Sponsor (identify a company individual who will sponsor you)
- Project Objective (what do you want to accomplish?)
- Motivation (why do you think this is a worthwhile class project?)
- Research Approach (how will you go about gathering and analyzing the data?)
- Work Breakdown Structure (what tasks and who will do them)
- Risk Management (what is your backup plan if you can't get the data?)
- Faculty feedback and approval of the course proposals will occur via email by: lecture 5
- A written project update (min 1000 words in pdf) must be uploaded to your team folder on the server by lecture 13 at 3 pm, send email copy to TA
- You may structure the update as you wish, but focus on work accomplished to date and remaining tasks
- Let the faculty/staff know if you need assistance or guidance
- Include your preference for a time slot for your final presentation (lecture 23 or lecture 24, late or early in the sequence). We will likely schedule DSM projects in lecture 24 due to Dr. Lyneis' schedule.
- Final project presentations are given during the week of lecture 23
- The final project deliverable is the set of annotated viewgraphs used during the final presentation, no written report is required. Use the "Notes" section in Microsoft® PowerPoint®.
- The final presentations will be 15-20 minutes + 5 minutes of Q & A per team
- Project grades are based on the quality of the proposal, mid-term update, in-class presentation and on the insights presented to the class
- Upload your presentations to the server the morning of lecture 23 and lecture 24, respectively
- Faculty will send presentation feedback and grades via email by lecture 25
Important Project Dates
Important Project Dates
|1 ||Project Assignments handed out |
|3 ||2-page Project Proposals due (3 pm) |
|5 ||Project Approval and Feedback via email from Instructors |
|13 ||Project Update due (1000 words), upload to server (3 pm) |
|23-24 ||Project Presentations, upload to server |
|25 ||Project Grade and Feedback via email |
Selected Project and Student Presentation Topics from 2002
- DSM - Program from Inception to Detailed Design and Application to Component Design (Pratt & Whitney)
- Verison Online Infrastructure Realignment (Verizon)
- Imaging Supports - Development to Commercialization (Kodak)
- CVNX-1 Program (US Navy)
- Analyzing and Improving Customer Support Process with DSM (Microsoft®)
- DSM Analysis of Rayhteon's Physical Architecture Process Thread (Raytheon)
- Investing in Hard Tooling: A Cut Steel Decision (Baxter Healthcare)
- Payload Systems CCU Development (Payload Systems)
- RideStar Al-12 Integrated Front Axle Suspension System Development (Arvin Meritor)
- Complexity and Iterations of Emission Decal Design and Release Process (Ford)
- Assessment of Organizational Change within JSF's IPT's (BAE Systems and EWS)
- Automotive Catalyst DSM (Ford)
- DSM Analysis of Controls and External Development Hardware Design (Hamilton Sunstrand)
- Powertrain Attributes DSM (Ford)
Volunteer Student Mini-presentations throughout the Term
- Crisis Project Management - How to wrestle alligators for fun and profit
- Project Risk Identification - Baxter
- Industrial Planning and Management
- Project Management at Pratt & Whitney Canada - A Vision
- Payload Safety Integration and the Management of Risk
- F/A-18 Risk Management Model
- Technology Development Practices at Kodak
Final Project Presentation Grading Rubric (PDF)
The projects below appear courtesy of the students named and are used with permission.
|Matt Bagley, Sashi Somavarapu, and Lara Zarewych ||Managing Vehicle Programs: A Survey of Tools and Methods (PDF) |
|Lisa Curhan ||Blade Server DSM Analysis (PDF) |
|Keen Sing Lee, Eduardo Malaga, and Christos Sermpetis ||Using System Dynamics to Optimize Software Testing Operations (PDF) |
|Steve Gilbert and Sam Weinstein ||The Dynamics of an SDM Thesis (PDF) |
|Mo-Han Hsieh and Hongfei Tian ||Case Study: The Schedule Delay of the Space-Transportation-System Development Project (PDF) |
|Troy Downen, Ion Freeman, and Jeff Kim ||Raytheon Aircraft Premier I (PDF) |
|Andrew Bond, Frank Lanni, Mike Nolan, and Nicholas Svensson ||Effectiveness of Nortel Networks Time to Market (TTM) (PDF) |
|Badari Kommandur and Prithvi Bannerjee ||Backend Flow Optimization Using Design Structure Matrix (PDF) |