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The Function Tree identifies the critical functions that the product must perform, focused on WHAT the product must do. The function tree is used to represent the system architecture that is intended to be developed in this roadmap, and to provide the context within which each subsequent design team will operated. This functional analysis will define the parallel development paths of a project family. We are choosing to employ a MODULAR system architecture in DPM and MSD at RIT, to facilitate the academic environment. Please note that we are not claiming that a modular system architecture is always the best choice for all products -- we simply find it to be a good fit for the educational context of senior design at RIT.
After prioritizing the voice of the customer with the objective tree, the DPM students then move on to developing an understanding of the voice of the engineer -- by translating the customer needs into engineering functions. In a technology road mapping environment, the functions represent critical technologies that need to be provided to satisfy a broad range of customer needs. Note that these are above the level of any individual product at this point, but rather represent the core technologies and functionality (the core competencies) that are required of the engineering team to fundamentally address the spectrum of customer needs. This results in a function tree ... a hierarchical representation of the Voice of the Engineer, and example of which is illustrated below:
Conceptualizing the Project Family Architecture -- This objective tree was prepared by RIT students who were studying the development of an open source, open architecture, modular land vehicle for education and research at RIT