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Chapter 18: The proposal and management of the major project

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THE PROPOSAL AND MANAGEMENT OF THE MAJOR PROJECT
OUTCOME, KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL STATEMENT
Outcome:
H1.2 H3.2 H4.1 H5.1 relates the practices and processes of designers and producers to the major design project uses creative and innovative approaches in designing and producing identies a need or opportunity and researches and explores ideas for design, development and production of the major design project manages the development of a quality major design project

Students learn about:


the work and practice of designers needs analysis research and methods of experimentation to generate ideas creativity and innovative design practice project management methods for actions, time and nance appropriate to the nature of the project and student

Students learn to:


emulate, where appropriate, the practices and processes used by designers to assist in the development of the major design project develop a major design project proposal respond to the ndings of experimentation, research and market research

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experiment with materials, tools and technologies when designing demonstrate creativity in the development of the major design project critically analyse successful innovation discuss concepts of quality, innovation and creativity formulate management plans apply and evaluate management plans manage a quality major design project that successfully meets the identied need.

18.1 Overview
The proposal
Your MDP proposal should be ready for implementation when the HSC course begins, so that work can commence immediately. Its purpose is to identify and dene the need that you will address through the project, for your own reference and that of the examiners. They will use the proposal to determine how successfully you have met the stated needs. The proposal will also serve as a guide to developing the criteria that you will later use to evaluate the design.

The project
The major project is really the culmination of your efforts, and this should be seen in the way it reects your personal interests, decisions and abilities. Self-motivation and continuously evaluating all aspects of your project will have a positive impact on its overall quality. The major design project contains two parts: the physical results of your efforts or the realised design, and the folio, which documents all development processes involved. Your folio and project are interwoven. They should, and need to be, developed alongside each other during realisation.

Deciding on a project
Most of us can readily identify needs in areas or activities that we are familiar with or have a personal interest in. An easy way to generate project ideas is to draw up a list of your interests, sports or hobbies and use a process such as brainstorming to identify needs associated with each area. This list can then be rationalised to some extent by considering the resources at your disposal. If your best idea requires resources outside the school, determine if they are totally beyond reach before discarding it. A search of the local community can often prove surprisingly helpful. There are several benets to selecting a project that you are enthusiastic about, rather than one that you have to do. Not only is it a better use of valuable resources, your efforts will bring you long-term enjoyment and pride (you may keep using the end product for many years) and you are more likely to produce a high-quality design and end product.
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Other areas for consideration include: Use the skills and abilities that you possess. Communication through drawing or some other medium will be an important aspect of any project that ends as a model or environment design. Adopting a simple approach and achieving one task well often results in success. Overdesigning or continually extending your brief to include new concepts will usually cause problems. Categorising your design as a product, system or environment can sometimes be a difcult task, as the boundaries are somewhat blurred. It may well be a product that functions as a system component or an environment that is part of a larger system. The designs classication should be based on its dominant features or primary function.

Identication and exploration of the need


The need that you identify has to be real and you will be required to justify and explain the reasons behind your decision to solve this particular problem. Research into the areas surrounding your identied need can begin at this time and will help focus your thoughts when you attempt to generate different ideas. At this point, you should also be starting to develop and rene a list of criteria against which you can measure the success of your design.

Needs analysis
Analysing the need is a fairly straightforward process that involves clarication of the following issues: What needs are you actually going to meet through development of the project? What is your motivation? Who are the intended users of the resulting product, system or environment? How do you envisage it will be used? Does it meet the needs of the target market?

Developing ideas
Once you have generated a number of possible approaches to the brief, it is then necessary to rationally sort genuine possibilities from those that are unrealistic. Usually, this can be done by strictly applying the following criteria: Does the idea satisfy all primary and associated needs? If not, why not? Have all aspects of the specication been met? Are the necessary construction skills and resources available? Is it nancially viable? Does market research support the concept? Does it comply with Australian safety and other standards? The next stage is to qualitatively judge your ideas. In effect, how well do they t into the current plan? Draw up a set of criteria for each major area of concern and apply a rating scale. Submit the sheet and your ideas to a number of people with specialist knowledge and then collate the results to obtain an average prole.

Formulating a design proposal


The project proposal is vital to establishing the intent of your project and the level of success that you have achieved in relation to that intent. On occasion, circumstances arise during research or production that will require you to change direction. If this is the case, you will need to justify the change and

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record it in a manner that is clearly understood. This would usually mean restating your proposal in terms of the new direction. The proposal should clearly indicate the motivations and purpose behind your project, list any target markets that you have identied and explain how it will meet the needs that rst prompted its development. Clear, concise statements that specify the design parameters and areas of investigation will also be required: Clearly identify the needs that your project will meet and the areas that you will investigate. Evaluation criteria must also be established at this point. Develop a time plan that accounts for designing and realisation time. Develop a production plan that allows time for quality principles (plan, do, check, act). Decide on the role that graphics will play in your communications. Determine what experimentation procedures will probably be necessary and how they will be carried out. Plan to conduct an effective evaluation of the functional and aesthetic qualities that you see as priorities in the end product. These tasks should be completed because they will be needed for decisions during the designing and planning stages of your project.

Market research
The initial step in responding to consumer demand is nding out what the consumer wants. Market research is done in a number of ways, such as selective trials of products, random interviews of the public, and selective interviews of groups of people. The information gained from this and other research into the target group may be used in: the design of the product features, materials, style may be incorporated to make it more appealing the modication of a product changing an existing product to make it more suitable and appealing the pricing of the product setting a price that the target group is willing to pay.

Areas for investigation


Investigation at this point should help dene the parameters of the brief and the nal design solution. You will need to determine the following: function what exactly is the intended purpose and product life of the nal article? appearance the external shape and surface materials any restrictions on materials should be noted manufacture is the item easily manufactured with the current resources? reliability what are the designs operating conditions? ergonomics is the design safe and comfortable to use? function how long is it expected to perform for the user? maintenance is the item meant to be easily repaired or disposable? environmental impact what is the overall impact on our environment? storage the manner in which a product may be packaged and stored nish the nature and texture of the products exterior nish shape and size determined by the nature of the product and its intended use safety a vital aspect of any design, no matter what its purpose cost sale price can be a major factor in commercial designs.

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Product design specication statement


ITEM
Function Safety Cost Materials Method of manufacture Appearance Finish Ergonomic considerations Shape and size Reliability Maintenance Environmental impact Storage Other

PRIORITY 1 2 3 4

COMMENTS

The extent to which each aspect of the specication inuences nal design varies with each brief. Generally speaking, though, successful designs are those that have achieved a balance between these inuences and met the needs of the user.

Criteria to evaluate success


Each design solution is created to satisfy a predetermined set of specications. Often, unique processes and circumstances will have exerted inuence on its nal shape and structure or choice of materials. The major criteria against which any design should be evaluated are its original specications. How well does it achieve its overall purpose or meet the identied need? How well does it satisfy each particular aspect of the specication? Currently accepted standards of design tend to emphasise a number of aesthetic qualities along with functional aspects. Some widely accepted generic qualities of good design applicable to products, systems or environments are: beauty of line appropriate colour visual and ergonomic proportion form-enhancing texture safe operation convenience and efciency of use ease of maintenance and repair durability ease of production and realistic cost.

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The relative importance of these criteria (and others) will depend entirely on the nature of your design. A tractor will have greater emphasis on aspects such as durability and ease of maintenance than would a lounge suite, which is more likely to be inuenced by line and texture. Evaluation should also include a critical analysis of production methods and accuracy of planning.

Action, time and nance plans


An action plan or ow chart is an outline of the steps you plan to complete in realising the nal design. It is your step-by-step guide through the process.

Time plans indicate the approximate dates and times that you intend to carry out each step in your project.

Finance plans relate to the budget side of your project and play an important role in its completion. Identifying and accurately costing the components that will be used in your project is essential in avoiding cost blow-outs. Do not guess at the cost of your materials, even if the exact quantities are not known. Find out the cost for what you think you will need. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your expenses.

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A Gantt chart is the easiest way to overview project planning and draws a direct relationship between actions, time and the critical path. PRODUCTION SEQUENCE AND TIMELINE
Marking out and measuring dressed cypress timber Cutting all legs, rails and planks for table top to the right lengths Marking out the mortise and tenon joints on the top of the legs and end of rails Drilling holes for the mortises in the legs Paring back mortises Cutting out tenons on the rails Testing and ensuring mortise and tenon joints t, xing Use template to mark out gentle tapering shape for legs Shape legs and smooth off Join rails to legs Checking squareness Marking out dowel joints for joining table top pieces Drilling holes for dowels, check drill size, top side of planks go face down Cut dowels for joints, making them a little shorter than the depth of the hole Join planks for table top with suitable outdoor glue Assemble table Sanding and treating

W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9

18.2 Project management


Project management is the art of using the available resources in their most effective manner. The action or production plan should clearly indicate how your project was divided into manageable stages and identify the production processes associated with each stage. Using a ow chart at this stage can be an invaluable aid to clarity as it links processes in order. Timelines can then be linked to your ow charts or action plan to determine critical paths and important milestones in production. Major events and deadlines can be identied and placed on a calendar. This can be extremely helpful in planning your nancial commitments and other resources during production. Calculate the anticipated total cost of your project and identify any additional resources required. These can include expertise or machinery from outside the school or even another student. All of these must be included and justied.

Managing actions, resources, time and nance


Time, money, materials, expertise and energy all deserve consideration at this point. The way in which you organise activities or processes and allocate resources can make a considerable difference to

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the ease with which you achieve your goal. Organisation and planning are the keys to success. There is a real need to identify your resources and specify where, when and how they will be used. Justifying your decisions on these matters will clarify the processes that you have undertaken and allow you to evaluate their quality. Take the necessary time to plan your actions, time usage and nancial arrangements. These and other resource decisions will need to be documented and reected through the development of your project. Identify specic areas where exible planning has been involved and how it has beneted the project. Attempt to organise the use of facilities and equipment in advance. Do not wait until the last minute and then nd that a vital piece of equipment is broken or already booked for use by someone else. Rationalising your use of tools can also save time. Plan to complete as many components as possible each time you set up for machining. Before you start, realistically estimate what can be done in the time available and aim for that target. When circumstances do not permit progress on a particular aspect of your work, examine the critical path of your project and nd an alternative task to go on with. This not only means that you reduce wasted time, but that you maintain impetus, which can be hard to recover if the delay becomes protracted. This is where Gantt and ow charts are particularly useful.

Documenting procedures to develop management plans


Planning is the creation of order from chaos. It involves logically grouping ideas into categories and classications. It is the art of dening a sequence of events. It involves thinking! Planning will enable you to deal with production and other problems that arise in priority order. It should allow you to deal with the areas causing the greatest inefciency rst and gradually work your way through to less important issues. It would be unrealistic to say that, once created, your plan will be strictly adhered to and never need to change. However, it should provide the necessary guidelines for progress. Changing circumstances will always require some exibility and your plan should evolve to take advantage of opportunities and cope with problems. Designers at all levels need to record their progress and the paths they have taken to reach a nal solution. Accurate recording of your progress, from identication of the original need through to evaluation of the increased quality control and more efcient nal solution, is an essential aspect of folio/report presentation. This rigorous documentation is the primary means of communicating your ideas with others. It helps them understand why certain decisions were made and the context in which you made them. It must show in detail how the design was developed, constructed and the processes of evaluation that took place during each stage of development. Your production ow chart should provide the basic structure for any documentation of construction processes and ongoing evaluation. A well-structured production diary supported by photographic and/or video information provides for clarity of information and detail. Each step should then be readily understood by an outside observer. The rst major step in planning for production is completing a set of working drawings (orthographic) that clearly indicate all of the sizes and relevant information necessary for others to carry out construction of your design. They are a major communication tool in any further discussions and development of your project. A parts list should also be included. Pictorial or presentation drawings should also be developed to aid in communication. The detailed planning involved in producing these drawings reinforces background knowledge crucial to organising further steps in production.
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No matter how brilliant you are as Start a designer, it is vital to keep an open mind because renement of your ideas may still occur, even at this late stage. Check plans and The best designers are often those make material list who select and incorporate ideas from diverse sources. Seek the opinion of Check experts and apply this knowledge to your construction area design. Reorganise Production or manufacture of your If Adjust necessary If No area design may appear a simple and OK processes for next time relatively straightforward process, yet If Yes it can really become a can of worms Locate and if not properly controlled. This is the order materials stage where your management skills come to the fore and where you will Mark out and nd timelines, Gantt and ow charts cut to size invaluable aids. The construction skills required for completion of your major project will Perform any special shaping operations depend on the nature of your brief. In some instances, you will need to acquire new skills in handling and Trial assembly processing materials. The time and effort involved should be identied and taken into account during your planning. If No Adjust components Documentation should also be updated OK to correct fit to include these occurrences. Your greatest chance for successful Yes construction lies in dividing the project Final assembly into manageable stages and giving a and joining precise overview of the procedures to be followed at each stage. Perform finishing An effective method of achieving operations this is to formulate a ow chart that indicates all of the necessary stages in Evaluate production and a timeline that clearly indicates your intended progress at a specic date. Both are graphical If No If methods of representing information OK that all too often seems intangible. If Yes Interpreting these charts will allow you to make rational decisions when not End all goes to plan during construction, or there is some unavoidable delay. A ow chart indicates the order in which processes are carried out and the tasks that are dependent on each other. For instance, it is impossible to even commence marking out and cutting materials if they have not been ordered or a supplier identied. It will also allow you to identify other tasks in production that may be completed independently. Instead of production coming to a complete halt when delay strikes one aspect of the process, other important things may be accomplished, saving time at a later date.

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The timeline will indicate how you are actually going compared to your original schedule and indicate areas where time can be saved if necessary. This may sound simple, but if you are responsible for each step in the production process, it must be identied and an appropriate amount of time allocated for its completion. It is all too easy to put off a task such as ordering materials because it is perceived to be a ve-minute job. Continually putting off the task may cause the ordering to consume several weeks of valuable construction time. If you are relying on someone else to assist or provide resources, allow twice as long as normal because they may not have the same level of motivation as you or they may be unavailable to help at the required time.

Selection and use of resources


Each project, by virtue of the materials used and the shapes required, will need a unique combination of processes and techniques to complete its realisation. The choices that you make should be based on the criteria. The techniques that you choose should not only give the desired effect, but also take into account your abilities, the equipment available and the extent to which you can utilise other resources such as outside expertise and nance. The human resources that you enlist during this phase can have a signicant bearing on the end result. Seek the opinions of experts, teachers and tradespeople to guide you with difcult choices. Through rational consideration of your choices in light of the criteria, unsuitable alternatives will eliminate themselves. If in doubt, seek further advice from your teacher or others who have expertise. Your ability to apply a construction technique successfully can be the difference between a project that has impact or one that merely sits there and has little appeal. Remember that the quality and manner in which construction techniques are performed has a signicant effect on the end result. Select your methods carefully. Your health and that of those around you is a prime concern when commencing any process that manipulates materials. Appropriate safety regulations and devices should be employed throughout the entire operation. Particular care needs to be taken during machining. Most of these operations create some sort of particle or fume hazard alongside those physical hazards already associated with machine operation. As noted in Chapter 6, shaping and construction processes are often material-specic. In other words, they do not readily transfer between different materials. It is not only the processes, but the tools and their operating action that often render the process dysfunctional. Planing, for example, is unsuited to preparing a metal surface. Filing, on the other hand, can be successfully employed to shape timber, metal and most plastics to some extent. The resources that are most appropriate to you and your situation will depend on factors such as your background, production skills, nancial capacity and design project, all of which will interact to create a unique situation. Each material or technology offers its own possibilities for use in an innovative way. How we make use of these properties depends largely on our prior knowledge and current conventional thinking. In some cases, it is a number of years before construction techniques catch up with and fully exploit the physical properties of a material.

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Choosing materials
The materials that are most suited for use in a product are determined by the requirements of its design brief. For most design briefs, there will be a number of materials or products that possess the necessary physical properties to meet specications. One will become the favoured choice, or will be deemed most suitable for other reasons. Always choose materials carefully. A poor choice of materials could see the design fail to perform well or, at worst, break and fail completely.

Finding suitable processes


Attempting to create your design to the highest possible standard may well call for some inventive combinations of processes and materials. Ultimately, the availability of suitable shaping techniques will inuence your choice of materials.

Tools
Selection of an appropriate tool is closely linked to the type of operation being considered and its economic viability. Tools can be classied by the manner in which they operate, or by the materials they were designed to shape, and your access to them (as with all other resources) is a factor in your design process.

Specialised production equipment


Quality designs often rely on combining materials to make best use of their properties. Skilled designers not only create solutions that fully satisfy the stated needs, they also use materials and processes in an innovative manner. Jigs, templates, moulds and formers are among the most frequently used customised tools. Whatever resources you choose to utilise in making your project a reality, they should be safe, achievable and add to the quality of your solution.

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Activities
1 Spend this time working on rening your proposal and ensuring that you have met all of the requirements. 2 Create a series of assessment criteria for tools, processes and materials that can be used to make judgements during your construction. 3 Create a list of resources that you might need and start organising how you gain access to them. 4 Investigate common materials testing techniques.

Websites
http://proj.chbs.dk/ www.aceproject.com/ www.projectmanagement.tas.gov.au/ www.projectperfect.com.au/pa.htm

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