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Ferreting Out Capstone Design Issues In Large Scale, Complex Problems Using The House Of Quality

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.197.1 - 2.197.8



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John A. Marin

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James E. Armstrong

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3157

Ferreting Out Capstone Design Issues in Large Scale, Complex Problems using the House of Quality

John A. Marin, James E. Armstrong, Jr. Department of Systems Engineering United States Military Academy

I. Introduction An engineering capstone design experience is the crowning achievement in a student’s academic curriculum, and integrates the principles, concepts, and techniques explored in earlier engineering courses. Systems engineering concerns the design of systems which are large-scale, complex and multi-disciplinary and is defined as “the design, production, and maintenance of trustworthy systems within time and cost constraints.” [1] Successful real-world design is meeting or exceeding the effective needs of the client and stakeholder group in a cost-effective, high quality manner. However, it is usually not possible to resolve every aspect of a complex, real-world effective need in a one or even two semester capstone design course. In the Department of Systems Engineering at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, we mandate the application of the House of Quality in order to ferret out or discover those key criteria that are critical to the success or failure of a given system.

II. Ferreting Out Design Issues with the House of Quality We introduce a five step process for ferreting out, or mining the key design issues in a complex system in the hope students will discover a nugget that eventually leads to a successful design and unique educational experience. The five step process we use to incorporate the House of Quality in capstone design is depicted below in Figure 1 and subsequently explained.

Step 1: Scope and Bound the Problem Step 2: Create a Value System Step 3: Construct a House of Quality Step 4: Analyze the House of Quality to Ferret Key Design Issues Step 5: Assess Student Capabilities and Select Key Design Issues Figure 1: Five step process for ferreting out the key design issues.

A. Scope and Bound The first step in successfully bringing to light the key design issues is to scope and bound the problem. To scope a design project means to understand why the project is necessary, who will use the results of the design effort and how they will use them, what the stakeholders intend to accomplish with the project, and how to measure project success. In systems engineering terms, this means identifying the needs, objectives, and criteria for the design. The needs tell why the project is necessary or what void or deficiency the design will fill or improve in some way. A need is a lack of something required or desired.

Marin, J. A., & Armstrong, J. E. (1997, June), Ferreting Out Capstone Design Issues In Large Scale, Complex Problems Using The House Of Quality Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6569

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