P17431: St. Joseph's House Shelter Improvements
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Problem Definition

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Phase 1: Problem Definition

Phase 2: Systems Design

Phase 3: Preliminary Detailed Design

Phase 4: Detailed Design

Phase 1: Platform Lift Design

Phase 2: Systems Re-Design

Phase 3: Detailed Re-Design

Phase 4: Integrated System Build & Test

Phase 5: Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

The goal for the problem definition phase was to learn about the current state of operations at St. Joseph's House of Hospitality, and to reach a common understanding of the most pressing needs of the staff of St. Joseph's. The common understanding of the needs of St. Joseph's were to be distilled into an agreement between St. Joseph's and the team upon the specific goals and deliverables of the project. In addition, a set of expectations for the contributions and behavior of team members was to be developed. Finally, a project plan was to be developed, to set the course for the development of the project over the course of the academic year.

Specific deliverables for this phase included:

  1. A set of flowcharts outlining the current state of operations at St. Joseph's ("Use Cases") - complete
  2. Data on the performance of similar or competing operations ("Benchmarking") - incomplete
  3. A list of needs of St. Joseph's ("Customer Requirements") - work in progress
  4. A list of quantifiable metrics that provide an objective means for measuring the satisfaction of the customer requirements ("Engineering Requirements") - work in progress
    • An identification of the most critical engineering requirements ("House of Quality") - work in progress
  5. A list of specific outcomes which will be provided to the customer at the conclusion of the project ("Deliverables") - complete
  6. An assignment of responsibilities to each member of the team ("Team Roles") - complete
  7. A guideline for the standards of behavior expected of each team member ("Team Norms and Values") - incomplete
  8. An evaluation of potential hazards that the team may face over the course of the project ("Risk Assessment") - incomplete
  9. A roadmap for the project, with high-level goals and deliverables for the succeeding phases ("Project Plan") - work in progress

Problem Definition Phase Outcomes

The team interviewed St. Joseph's staff at RIT and visited St. Joseph's twice during the problem definition phase to gain an understanding of the facility and operations therein. Based on the conversations with the staff, the team generated use cases explaining the current state of operations. The team also produced a list of the specific tasks that St. Joseph's needs to perform in order to provide services to their guests. From the list of tasks, a preliminary set of engineering requirements was created to assess whether the team has met St. Joseph's needs. The current performance of St. Joseph's relative to these engineering requirements is unknown, so the final acceptable and target values have not been set. In addition, the operations of the shelter proved difficult to benchmark, as St. Joseph's does not compete directly with any other shelters, and similar operations are therefore difficult to identify. To assess the criticality of each engineering requirement, a House of Quality was created. A preliminary version of this document may be found on this page. Specific project deliverables were set but have not currently been agreed to with St. Joseph's. Team roles were assigned. A preliminary risk assessment and project plan were created to guide the team's work in the next phase of the project.

Relevant Documentation

All documents relevant specifically to this phase of the project can be found in the Problem Definition Documents folder, including:

Project management documents can be found in the Project Management folder, including:

Project Summary

St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality is a Catholic Worker community in downtown Rochester. St. Joseph’s House serves free lunches seven days a week to 80-100 people and offers shelter for 20 homeless men during the winter months, among other services. Only the first floor of the facility can be used for serving lunch and providing winter shelter to a general population, so the furniture in the dining and hospitality rooms must undergo a complete changeover twice daily.

In the morning, the mattresses upon which shelter guests sleep must be removed from the dining and hospitality rooms, and lifted to a storage location approximately eight feet above floor level. The guests are asked to assist with the task of putting away the mattresses, but at six o’clock in the morning, this arduous task causes tempers to flare. At night, the mattresses are dropped from their elevated storage and moved back into the dining and hospitality rooms, where the guests will spend the night. The mattresses deteriorate quickly because of this constant pushing and pulling. The guests have also indicated that the current sleeping condition of mats on the floor reminds them of being in jail, and that it feels very cramped.

The guests’ personal items and the blankets given to them by the shelter are currently stored in bins and garbage bags in a small closet, all piled one upon the other. This haphazard method of storage sometimes results in bags tumbling out of the closet when the door is opened. Retrieving a specific item is impossible unless all the items are removed from the closet. St. Joseph’s current policy is that guests may not access their belongings during the day, but this means that guests are often denied access to critical items which they forgot in their luggage.

The goals of this project are to develop a sleeping arrangement which is space-efficient, more hospitable for guests, more sanitary than previous solutions, easier to set up and store, durable, and repairable, and to develop a personal belongings storage system which is organized and provides efficient access to guests’ belongings. The sleeping arrangements at the home should make guests feel welcome and comfortable. The process of rearranging the facility from sleeping to dining and vice versa should be efficient, organized, and cause minimal wear and tear to the mattresses. Guests’ belongings should be neatly organized in the storage location so that retrieving specific items at any time of day can be accomplished in an efficient manner. The new solution must provide sleeping accommodations for at least 20 guests, dining accommodations for at least 48 guests, and be handicapped-accessible. The expected end result is a working prototype and a process book which will ultimately allow the system to be implemented at St. Joseph’s.

An executive summary of the project can be found here.

Use Cases

The use cases illustrated below represent the current state of operations at St. Joseph's. Two primary services are offered by St. Joseph's: "hospitality" and "shelter". "Hospitality" includes lunch, laundry, showers, and inviting guests in for coffee or simply a place to sit and socialize. Hospitality is offered from morning through early afternoon. "Shelter" refers to the housing of overnight guests. The shelter services are only offered during cold-weather months, from October through April. The shelter invites guests in at 8PM each night, and awakens them at 6AM the next morning. St. Joseph's stores the belongings of guests who utilize the overnight shelter. The use cases shown below cover all aspects of both hospitality and shelter services.

Click on the images below to enlarge them. All use cases (including the "live" flowchart) may be found in the Use Scenarios folder.

Hospitality Use Cases

Use case scenario for

Use case scenario for "hospitality" operations provided by St. Joseph's, covering the process of serving lunch.

Shelter Use Cases

Use case scenario for normal shelter operations, covering one cycle of setting out mattresses, sleeping, and picking up mattresses the next morning.

Use case scenario for normal shelter operations, covering one cycle of setting out mattresses, sleeping, and picking up mattresses the next morning.

Use case scenario for normal storage of guests' belongings.

Use case scenario for normal storage of guests' belongings.

Use case scenario for

Use case scenario for "long term" storage of the belongings of guests who have stopped returning to the shelter.

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

The following items will be developed by the end of the project:

Customer Requirements (Needs)

The following table itemizes the specific tasks that St. Joseph's must accomplish in order to provide shelter and hospitality services to homeless persons of Rochester. These needs are also listed on the "Cust Rqmts" tab of the Requirements And Testing spreadsheet.

Category

Customer Rqmt. #

Importance

Description

Lunch L1 9 Our system will accommodate 80-100 people per day for lunch.
L2 9 Our system will seat 48 people for lunch (per sitting).
L3 3 Our system will be able to transition between shelter and food services within a set amount of time.
L4 9 Our system will allow St. Joseph's to provide the daily meal service year long.
L5 9 Our system will utilize only first floor for dining.
Sleeping Arrangements SA1 9 Our system will allow St. Joseph's to provide shelter services in the winter months (Oct-Apr).
SA2 3 Our system will be able to shelter 10-20 people per night.
SA3 9 Our system will utilize only the first floor for shelter.
SA4 9 Our system will be durable and last multiple seasons or be easily repaired.
SA5 9 Our system will increase the lifespan of sleeping materials.
SA6 3 Our system will reduce effort required to set up and put away the sleeping materials.
SA7 9 Our system will improve the overall guest experience and make the space feel more hospitable.
SA8 9 Our system will be easy to keep clean and pest free.
SA9 9 Our system will be resistant to bed bug infestation.
SA10 3 Our system will promote hygiene.
Storage S1 9 Our system will improve the process for storing guests' belongings.
S2 3 Our system will have enough space for storage of 10-20 guests' belongings.
S3 1 Our system will be able to store blankets given by the shelter.
S4 3 Our system will discourage theft of personal belongings.
S5 1 Our system will include a process for storing the belongings of guests who don’t return.
S6 3 Our system will enable St. Joseph's staff to retrieve a specific item for a guest without removing belongings of all guests.
Staff St1 3 Our system will utilize volunteers and staff efficiently.
St2 3 This customer requirement is in need of rewrite or removal. See Sarah's email on September 9th. Needs a consistent amount of volunteers daily
St3 3 This customer requirement is in need of rewrite or removal. See Sarah's email on September 9th. Needs enough space to house volunteers

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

The following table itemizes the metrics which will be utilized to measure whether St. Joseph's needs have been met. These metrics are also listed on the "Eng Rqmts" tab of the Requirements And Testing spreadsheet.

Rqmt. No.

Need Nos. #

Metric

Importance

Units

Acceptable Value

Ideal Value

1 SA2, SA4, SA5 Life span of sleeping materials 9 yr At least 1 At least 2
2 L5, SA3, St1 Time to move sleeping materials from storage to sleeping configuration 9 min At most 30 At most 10
3 L5, SA3, St1 Time to move sleeping materials from sleeping configuration to storage 9 min At most 45 At most 20
4 SA3, SA9 Number of guests who can be accommodated for shelter 3 guests/night At least 10 At least 20
5 L1, L2, L3, L4 Number of guests who can be accommodated for hospitality 9 guests/day At least 80 At least 100
6 S1, S2, S3, S5, S6 Volume of storage space available per guest 3 ft³ At least 3 At least 12
7 SA2, SA5, SA6, SA10 Frequency of bed bug infestation 9 per year At most 1 At most 0.2
8 S1, S3, St1 Time to retrieve any given guest's belongings from storage 3 min At most 7 At most 3
9 SA8 Distance sleeping materials must be moved from sleeping configuration to storage 3 ft At most 60 At most 15
10 SA5, SA7, SA8 Altitude of sleeping material storage location above ground level 3 ft At most 9 At most 1
11 SA4, SA8 Weight of the sleeping materials that the system must be able to support 1 lb At least 25 At least 50
12 S1 Mattress dimensions 1 in 39
75
8
39 to 40
75 to 77
4 to 10
13 L5, SA8 Number of staff required to set up/take down sleeping arrangements 1 persons At most 3 0
14 SA8, S1, S2, S3 Number of staff required to retrieve a guest's belongings 9 persons At most 2 1
15 SA7, SA10, St1 Utilization of the laundry 1 % < 90 ~ 80
16 SA7, SA10, St1 Utilization of the showers 1 % < 90 ~ 80
17 SA4, SA5, SA7 Weight of guest that the system can support 3 lb At least 250 At least 350

House of Quality

The house of quality shown below correlates engineering requirements to customer needs. This ensures that every engineering requirement is written to satisfy at least one customer need, and ensures that the system performance with respect to every customer need can be measured by at least one engineering metric. The importance of the customer needs are rated on a 1,3,9 scale, with 9 being most important and 1 being least important. The strength of the correlation between each engineering requirement and each customer requirement is weighted on the following scale:

The relative weight of each engineering requirement is computed by multiplying each correlation weight by the corresponding customer need importance, then summing. This helps to identify the most critical engineering requirements.

A preliminary house of quality is shown below. This house of quality represents the team's understanding of St. Joseph's needs prior to the Phase I gate review. It is in the process of being revised per feedback received from St. Joseph's after the Phase I review. Revisions will include additions, edits, and deletions to the list of customer needs, a re-weighting of customer needs, and a review of the correlation weightings between engineering requirements and customer needs.

Preliminary house of quality, prior to Phase I gate review. Note that frequency of bed bug infestation, number of hospitality guests, and lifespan of sleeping materials are the three highest-weighted engineering requirements.

Preliminary house of quality, prior to Phase I gate review. Note that frequency of bed bug infestation, number of hospitality guests, and lifespan of sleeping materials are the three highest-weighted engineering requirements.

The "roof" of the house is also a work in progress and is shown below. The roof identifies tradeoffs between engineering requirements. The pluses in the roof identify relationships between requirements where an improvement in performance relative to one requirement should also improve performance relative to the other requirement. For example, reducing the distance the sleeping materials must be moved should also reduce the time required to change from shelter operations to hospitality operations. The minuses in the roof identify the opposite kind of relationship, where an improvement relative to one metric causes a regression relative to the other metric. For example, decreasing the time required to retrieve a guest's belongings might require the assistance of more staff members.

The

The "roof" of the house of quality, which identifies tradeoffs between engineering requirements. This diagram will be updated periodically as engineering requirements are added, removed, and revised.

The house of quality spreadsheet can be found here.

Risk Assessment

A preliminary list of risks that are associated with the project is shown below. Note that these risks are solution-independent and must be considered over the course of the project, regardless of the chosen solution. The severity and likelihood of occurrence of each risk are rated on a 1, 3, 9 scale, with 1 being the least severe (or least likely) and 9 being the most severe (or most likely to occur). The importance of each risk is calculated as the product of the severity and the likelihood of the risk. The risks are categorized and a potential action for mitigating the risk is proposed. Click the image to view a larger size.
Preliminary analysis of solution-independent risks associated with this project.

Preliminary analysis of solution-independent risks associated with this project.

Design Review Materials

Preparatory material sent to St. Joseph's prior to the review can be found here.

The presentation given at the gate review can be found here.

Notes from the review can be found here. The minutes include feedback from St. Joseph's staff and action items assigned to team members.

Plans for Phase II

The team has established a common vision for the next phase of the project. This common vision is characterized by a set of goals established for the team, to be accomplished by the end of Phase II.

Team Goals

The goals are categorized according to the specific task to be accomplished. This includes goals for improved team dynamics, creating a functional decomposition of the system, generating and selecting a concept or concepts, and performing a feasibility analysis.

Team Dynamics

Functional Decomposition

Concept Generation/Concept Selection

Feasibility Analysis

Individual Goals

Each member of the team created their own individual goals for Phase II, based on the shared team vision. These goals are excluded here for the sake of conciseness, and can be found in the individual visions Word document.

Acknowledgments

The members of P17431 would like to thank the following for their assistance during the Problem Definition phase of the project: