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Title Page

The title page should state the title of the report, the date, your team name, the name of all team members, your mentor’s name, and your customer’s name (if applicable).  Each team member should also “sign-off” on the report (indicating each is responsible for the content).


Executive Summary

The executive summary is usually the most important part of your report.  When in industry, it is likely the only portion that many colleagues will read.  The executive summary should provide in a single page (no more) a summary of what the report accomplishes.  Details are not presented, but the content of the report should be well understood after reading this summary.  Place yourself in the role of the reader.  The executive summary should provide sufficient information to allow the reader to decide quickly if he/she wants to read the entire report in detail.  This is normally written last after all your other work is done.


You are strongly encouraged to use the automatic Table of Contents features within Microsoft Word®.  This will ensure the Table of Contents is updated with each document change.


This introduction should provide sufficient information to allow the reader to understand your vision, mission, and project.  This is an introduction to your design effort.  Unlike the Executive Summary, which serves to summarize your report, the Introduction serves to motivate the report.  It should make clear to the reader why your design project is being pursued and what is expected to be the outcome. This should be written at the beginning.


Team Charter


Place your Team Charter here as a stand-alone document. 



Project and Concept Overview

It is appropriate and necessary to start with an overview of the project.  Start with a paragraph giving an overview of the approach and contents of this section.  Sections that are recommended (speak with your mentor for the specifics of your project):


  • Customer and Needs Analysis
  • Overview of the QFD work (House of Quality)
  • Functional Requirements
  • Design specifications with targets
  • Context Diagram
  • Functional decomposition
  • Utilize appendices as appropriate to include supporting figures and graphs.



This section should then present the Customer and Needs Analysis and the Quality Functional Deployment (QFD).  The QFD should summarize the sections of the House of Quality (HOQ) in a concise manner.  All requirements (specifications) for the design should be clearly stated with target values noted for each.  After this section, the reader should have no questions about what a successful design will accomplish.



This section should present the Functional Decomposition.  A graphical representation is likely best.  Use multiple diagrams if all the functions of your system can not readily be presented in one diagram.  Each function necessary to reach the design specifications and targets needs to be described in this section.  This section should make it clear how your system is to behave functionally. 



Concept Generation

This section should present all the potential concepts you generated for your design.  It is understood that many concepts were likely created, but each needs to be described.  As such, you should strive to provide a concise description of each at a level of detail only sufficient to distinguish concepts.  Use graphical representations heavily in this section.  A picture of a potential concept tells much more than a few words.



One effective method for presenting your concepts would be to first show the “big picture” by providing an overview of all the concepts considered for each subsystem.  A concept table or a morphological table is one approach (among many) that might look something like the following…


Subsystem 1

Concept 1-1

Concept 1-2



Subsystem 2

Concept 2-1

Concept 2-2

Concept 2-3

Concept 2-4

Subsystem 3

Concept 3-1

Concept 3-2



Subsystem 4

Concept 4-1

Concept 4-2

Concept 4-3


Subsystem 5

Concept 5-1

Concept 5-2

Concept 5-3



(Note: in actual document, do not show a split table; make sure the entire table appears together)


A very brief word description of each concept would be used in this table.  Subsections would then be added to the text to discuss each of the concepts to an appropriate level of detail.  This section should make it completely clear to the reader what ideas will be considered during concept selection.



Concept Selection


This section should present the methodology used to narrow your design options.  Absolutely no ambiguity should remain concerning the selected concept.  All decision matrices should be presented with clear justification of criteria and weighting utilized.  Both subsystem and system matrices are appropriate.  No “selection” should be presented that can not be justified in some way. 



System Architecture

This section should summarize your selected concept and communicate exactly what you intend to build.  Describe each selected subsystem that comprises the design and provide drawings (sketches) of the entire system level architecture. It should concisely and completely describe the system level design showing how each selected sub-system contributes to the final system concept.  This should be done in a combination of words and pictures.  A system level block diagram is typically very useful.  Upon reading this section, an individual should fully understand the system you are designing (enough to completely describe it him or herself).



Detailed Design Analysis

Several subsections, collectively discussing the detailed design of all subsystem within the selected concept, should be included.  This section will likely be longer than most of the other sections in the report as it must provide sufficient detail for the reader to assess the validity of the design.  Use appendices when you need to include long calculations or large figures and/or tables.  Be certain to reference the appendices from the text.



Other Considerations

This section should assess your completed design as to how it addresses and satisfies the other considerations, or “non-technical” factors.  Examine how analyses of the other considerations were incorporated into the design, then how the design is expected to impact those areas.  If the consideration is not particularly relevant to the design, then explain that rationale.  If relevant, explain how that impacted the design process for the project.  Explain how solutions to issues or trade-offs incorporated into the design made the results better or worse.



Research Reports and Presentations

In this section, include the Research Reports and Presentations done by each of the team members. 



Design Confidence Assessment

This section should assess your confidence in the selected design satisfying the target specifications.  On a subsystem by subsystem basis, discuss if the selected concept will clearly satisfy all functional requirements noted prior in the report.  This discussion should be backed up with evidence either from a reference or from the detailed design analysis.  If a selected concept poses significant risk, detail how the risk will be managed and provide potential design contingencies.  Also assess your confidence that, given success in the design of each subsystem, the components will integrate to form a fully functional system.  You are strongly encouraged to use belief maps within this section.



Hints for a Better Report

  1. Your report needs to read as a consistent document.  Consistency will not occur easily with different people writing various parts of the report.  Consider designating one person on the team as the formatter (likely with reduced writing responsibilities).


  1. Allow time to generate quality drawings.  All drawings need to be in electronic form.  Scanned images and drawings are ok IF, AND ONLY IF, they are neat and readable. 


  1. Every table and every figure in your report should have a caption that clearly and concisely explains the content of the insert.  The reader should not have to scan to the text to determine the intent of a table or figure.


  1. Extensive calculations are likely best placed in an appendix.  The calculations may then be easily referenced from the text, but will not adversely disrupt the reader.  Shorter calculations (a few lines) may be placed within the text itself.


  1. Make a template of the document before each person begins writing so that paragraph formats, etc. can be defined early.  This will make integration of text from different sources easier.


  1. Plan to provide a draft copy to your mentor at least 2 to 3 days prior to the due date.  While your mentor will not “pre-grade” the report, he will be able to provide guidance on the content and completeness of the report.



Product code: Essay-QA428

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