P18711: MSD Team Assignment Process Improvement

Systems Design

Table of Contents

Team Vision for System-Level Design Phase

During Phase II our team planned to zero in on a solution technique based on information found from benchmarking from both internal and external systems to RIT. Potential solutions were compared at an ISE faculty meeting to gain more in-depth technique analysis. Potential techniques for solutions include both manual and automatic (digital) options such as Lean, Optimization (Assignment), and Simulation.

During this phase our team developed and roughly outlined a solution based on a digital, code-based assignment technique.

Functional Decomposition

The traditional Functional Decomposition table was modified and transformed into the following "Black Box" diagram to suit the needs of the process which needed to be analyzed. The inputs into the system enter the process box to produce the outputs of the system.
Black Box Diagram

Black Box Diagram

To ensure that all issues with the current system were analyzed, the following Fishbone diagram was constructed to map the root causes of problems in the process.

Fishbone Diagram

Fishbone Diagram



The current process of assigning students to MSD project teams is laborious and error prone. A solution must be found that is more efficient and creates less errors. The best solution that exists would be a system such as CATme. The downfall of CATme is that it fails to assess the different discipline constraints that exist. CATme is currently used on campus by the Chemical Engineering and off campus by other colleges.


RIT Housing Operations

RIT Housing Operations currently assigns students to housing by letting students choose their own rooms and roommates. The process is done with a software called StarRez. This same software is being used by RIT for billing, selecting dining plans, hiring RA's, and assigning mail boxes. Other universities are also using StarRez for similar situations.

After students pick their own rooms, the office is responsible for putting students in rooms and this is done manually based on the student contract and availabilities. Roughly 15% of students need to be assigned by the office this way. If all rooms are filled, students can assign themselves to a wait list and watch as positions open up.

The students are able to pick their room starting at an appointment time which is based on enrollment year and then sectioned randomly.

This new process has been implemented over the past few years and has had very positive feedback in the office and from the students. The process only takes 5 days to run through all of the appointment times compared to months that the office would have to spend manually assigning students before. Similar to MSD, the housing office would dedicate a conference room and spread papers around tables to group students to rooms.

Students are now able to see a more transparent selection of housing instead of just being assigned a room. For example, students can see themselves that there are no UC apartments with four available spots instead of being told that they cant get the assignment that they want. Student satisfaction has increased over the years with the implementation of this new system. Surveys are collected each year from the students living in RIT housing which are collected and analyzed by the office.

Currently, the housing office is working with a Software Engineering team (most likely a capstone project) to modify the StarRez system to allow students to interactively view and choose the location of their room similar to choosing a seat on an airplane or a seat in a concert arena.


Concept Development

Two distinct solutions to the problem were apparent after the system was analyzed. The assignments could either be made with an algorithm coded into a system, or they could be made manually as they are today with improvements to the manual process. After research of tools used in RIT Housing operations and of the software Catme, a third solution was developed that would combine the automatic algorithms with the manual process steps to create the best assignments efficiently. An algorithm would eliminate unnecessary time devoted to arranging the bulk of the projects, and manual assignments would increase the best placement of special cases.


Morphological Chart

Morph Chart

Morph Chart

Concept Selection

Pugh Chart

Pugh Chart

Systems Architecture

To break down the logic that the system will follow, the following decision tree was created to map all possible options and paths the system can take when a new student is added to the class. A similar process will be followed for each student if a project was dropped, potentially creating three, four, or five "new students."

A majority of these paths can be followed with algorithms, however there are some decisions that would be made best by a member of the MSD office who would be able to read and analyze data that couldn't be interpreted by software.

Decision Tree for Adding a New Student

Decision Tree for Adding a New Student

The coded system that would follow algorithms will need to prioritize what data to code assignments with first. The following list of constraints prioritizes what attributes of a project or student are most important for project assignments and which are not necessarily needed.

Constraint Prioritization

Constraint Prioritization

Test Plans

Test Plans were created for each Engineering Requirement to document how the system will be tested to meet all of the predetermined requirements. These Test Plans will be used to quantify and qualify the system.

Test Plans

Test Plans

Risk Assessment

Updated Risk Management includes owners for items with high importance.
Risk Management

Risk Management

Design Review Materials

Meeting Date: 10/16/17 2:30-4:00pm

Location: GLE-4435 Design Floor Conference Room



Meeting Notes: to be recorded in the team's OneNote documents

Slide Deck: Systems Design Review Presentation

Plans for next phase

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