Table of Contents
MSD I: Readiness to move to Build & Test
- The team completed a Self-Critique which can be seen here
Current state of the project
At this point, the team is around the "yellow" category. Since a complete redesign was done at the end of MSD I, the team still has a lot of specific design details to work out. We are hoping that this new design will meet all requirements more easily and completely. We understand that we have behind due to the redesign but have created a very detailed schedule for next semester to help us catch up and get back on track.
Current requirements document can be found here
Issues Raised During Detailed Design Review:
- GREEN - Update Risk Management document to include any possible risk we can think of.
- GREEN - Create a very detailed schedule for next semester
- YELLOW - How will the user load the computer into the enclosure? Will we attach the shop vac to the system so they don't have to drag it around?
- YELLOW - Have a final design by the end of MSD I that we feel confident will work.
Current Plan vs. Original Plan
The actual scope of the project has not changed drastically. A few weeks into the project the customer brought up that he'd like the system powered and controlled by the shop vac, but this did not change the scope of the project. As far as the schedule is concerned, we originally planned to create a static system with a multitude of nozzles. We figured out that this design would not work with the airflow that the shop vac is able to give off. This led us to a complete redesign of the system which changed our plan significantly. We have placed new milestones and markers in our schedule to reflect this last-minute change and hope to catch up within the summer term.
Before the end of MSD I the team would like to have a design that we feel confident about and a solid start on the BOM so we can hit the ground running once MSD II starts. Our limited budget is a big constraint as of right now. Our new design is much more complex since it contains an XY axis with a moving air column full of nozzles and our current budget may not be able to support this complexity.
Having to do a complete redesign taught us quite a bit. We should have done more robust testing and concept selecting earlier on. This may have given us a better chance of catching the major flaws we faced. We also should have consulted SME's sooner to see if the concepts we had in mind were plausible and if the formula's or assumptions we were making were valid before jumping right in.
We were on track to use our MSD I plan effectively, the redesign is the only thing that threw it off. We used the tools given and described to use efficiently later in the term. We definitely learned to not put resources into a concept that is not confirmed to work. As we started the redesign, we attempted to find the flaws quickly so that we wouldn't fall into the same hole again. The Electrical side was able to incorporate last-minute changes and redesigns into their boards quickly.
Individual Team Member Status
Toward the beginning of the semester, there was a lack of personal responsibility amongst the group. As we got further into the course and started using more tools to keep everyone on the same page, we were able to improve on this personal responsibility. Moving toward MSD II, the team won't be able to meet together as often due to schedule conflicts so we hope to distribute more personal responsibility so everyone understands how important it is to get their tasks done on time. Especially since we are behind due to the redesign, the project needs to progress quickly and efficiently. For more in-depth individual team member status and information, personal three-week plans and end of semester plans are located at the end of each phase's edge page.
Current Risk Assessment vs. Original
Updated Risk Assessment is available in the figure below. New risks were added to the bottom along with possible mitigation plans.
Current Excel Sheet here
Risk Plans to be added to MSDII Schedule here
Due to the redesign, many older risks are no longer applicable and newer risks were added. The remaining risks all have remediation plans and we tried to establish a more broad and complex list of risks that could happen in MSD II. None have manifested into problems yet since we haven't started any building or testing.
We continuously work on updating our risk assessment document as we think of new things or as older risks become obsolete so it is often changing. We learned that it is important to flush out risks early on so that planning, budgeting, and other resources can be used efficiently. Planning for risks to happen instead of just wondering if they'll happen seems to help in risk mitigation. Also, no matter how many risks you can think of, some things you just can't plan for or think of in advance. In this case, the team just needs to be ready to quickly come up with a back-up plan so that no extra time is lost.
MSD II schedule
A current MSD II Preliminary Schedule is below. Updates still need to be made as risk mitigation is planned.
Preliminary MSD II Schedule PDF Available Here
MSD II: Project close-out
Status Review - Current State of Project
Performance vs. Requirements
- A few requirements were not fully met. The team isn't sure how the system will hold up after continued use. Dust build-up on components, especially the switches, may cause the system to not work properly. We did not feel comfortable saying this requirement was fully met. For the time it takes to clean one computer, this requirement couldn't be completed tested since the system didn't move the way we anticipated. We were able to test it using only x-axis movement which resulted in cleaning times of just under 1 minute. Lastly, the requirement regarding the cleanliness of the PC was not met since issues with the exhaust suction and nozzle pressure occurred last minute.
- The final design is fairly robust. The enclosure itself is expected to last for a while. It's made out of plywood with aluminum angles to further reinforce the corners. The sealant should also last for a decent amount of time. The internal components and electrical components may need to be replaced after some time, depending on how often the system is used. It also depends on how well the system is maintained. If it is cleaned often and dust isn't allowed to build up on the switches and components, there's a better chance of it lasting longer.
- During MSD II we were able to get a budget increase. This gave us plenty of room to buy all the components necessary and even some extra things to play it safe. We had money left over at the end.
- The customer was satisfied with the work presented to him at the end of the semester and thought we made great progress. He understands that it's a prototype and still needs work to get it to where he ideally wants it. All he wanted was to make sure we had a document of recommendations for what should be done in the future/what we would have done so he can, hopefully, have it improved upon.
Current Plan vs. Original Plan
- The scope of the project did not change during MSD II
- As far as the schedule is concerned, we got very far behind and had to keep moving things back. We, unfortunately, weren't able to stick to the schedule very well this semester. We got all of the tasks on the schedule completed, just not in the time frames that we originally planned. Our testing was very rushed and crammed into 2-3 of our final days. The completion of the technical paper and edge pages also had to be pushed into the final few days because of the delay in testing.
- As a team, we agree that we should have stuck to the time frames in the schedule better. This would have put us in a much better position at the end of the semester and allowed us to possibly fix some of the issues that we came across too late. We learned how important personal responsibility is and that it's important to hold each other accountable for tasks not being completed on time. We also learned that when creating a schedule, always give yourself more time to complete a task than you think you need. Understand that the schedule will inevitably change and be prepared to be flexible and work on other tasks if some get delayed.
Individual Team Member Status
- Team members were more vocal about their concerns and holding each other responsible for personal activities this semester which was beneficial. We learned that it's important to make sure no one person is taking on too much work and that everyone feels comfortable asking other team members for help if they feel overwhelmed.
- Our MSD II plan was realistic but we had a tough time sticking to it/keeping up with it. We had various delays during this second semester and ended up getting pretty far behind in our schedule. Had we been stricter with ourselves and crammed during the beginning of the semester, we would have been able to more closely follow the schedule and most likely have ended in a better position. Creating a detailed plan and sticking to it is essential to the success of a project like this. We lacked with this activity and ended up paying for it in the long run. We learned that we should have picked up the pace at the beginning of the semester and not let ourselves get so far behind.
Risk Assessment and Problem Tracking
- A risk that the team did not originally anticipate for were components taking too long to ship, thus delaying our building process. Things like the x-axis rods needing to be perfectly parallel and the gears binding were not anticipated. Some other smaller issues that arose were also not anticipated. It's hard to think of every possible thing that could go wrong so it's inevitable that we weren't able to plan for everything.
- A few anticipated risks did end up manifesting themselves as problems. The risk of there being insufficient air pressure from the shop vac may be an issue. The team wasn't able to do full testing to determine the root cause of the system not effectively cleaning the computers but one possible reason is that the shop vac is too weak. Another risk that ended up happening was the nozzles not being able to pivot so the sides of the computer can not be cleaned. During the testing, it was found that the nozzles would not pivot due to binding of gears.
- The team used the Problem Tracking document to help with the problem-solving process. This document allowed us to keep track of issues and organize them into importance. It also helped us to resolve problems with the six-step process.
- Problem Tracking document can be found here
- The team learned various important lessons during the course of this last semester. Contacting SMEs as early as possible is essential to ensure you aren't headed down the wrong path. Team communication is also very important. Everyone needs to be on the same page at all times, everyone should know what the other team members are working on. Sticking to the schedule is a big one as well. You don't want to get behind, like we did, and have to cram and rush at the end of the semester. You want to leave time to find/fix mistakes. Testing/simulating/prototyping as early as possible would also be beneficial. You want to catch any huge design issues early on.
- Further advice and recommendations can be found here