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Mutual Learning Experiences: Mechatronics Capstone Course Projects-based on Scrum

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Experiential Learning Programs and the Transition to Industry

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.963.1 - 25.963.13



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Paper Authors


Martin Edin Grimheden Royal Institute of Technology

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Martin Edin Grimheden currently holds a position as Associate Professor at KTH and is the Director of Mechatronics Education at KTH.

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Mutual learning experiences – mechatronics capstone course projects based on SCRUMIn 2011, the annual KTH Mechatronics Capstone projects involved 37 M.Sc. students, fivecompanies and five projects. This paper investigates the learning outcome with both thestudents and the company representatives based on project collaboration during a period ofnine months. The capstone course encompasses 18 ECTS credits, the equivalent of 12 weeksfull time studies spread over a period from the end of March to end of December, withsummer break from mid-May to beginning of September. The capstone course represents thesemi-final step before the students’ university degrees, followed by a master thesis projectwhich, at KTH, is preferably done at a company, in the form of an internship resulting in ascientific thesis report.During the 2011 projects, all five student teams voluntary choose and adopted the SCRUMmethod for organizing their project work. In some cases, the company representatives hadexperiences from using SCRUM or other agile methods in their software engineering groups,but in no case had SCRUM been used in projects with mechatronics design. In the capstoneprojects, SCRUM applied to the student projects greatly motivated the students to take ahigher degree of responsibility in terms of project organization, overall and detail planningand dynamic re-organizations. In all cases the student teams voluntary choose to base theirproject organizations on SCRUM after being presented with this opportunity by the faculty.SCRUM is most widely used in software development as an agile development method andtypically not considered for product development other than software products. SCRUM as amethod emphasizes the empowerment of the individual, prototyping, quick and repeatedfeedback to reach the ultimate goal: faster delivery with a higher quality. When applied toeducation in engineering design and product development, we identify a parallel to previousresearch of the importance of prototyping and quick feedback for the learning process. Inshort, the factors that positively enhance learning within these fields are also emphasized inthe SCRUM method.In the full paper, we present the results of a quantitative study where we have investigated themutual learning outcomes based on introducing SCRUM related to the two types of actors inthese projects; the students and the company representatives. The company representativesexpress changes in mindset after these projects, and expresses a greater understanding foragile methods in engineering design and how that indeed can improve the design process ofthe companies. The students express a greater understanding and preparedness for a futurecareer in industry.

Grimheden, M. E. (2012, June), Mutual Learning Experiences: Mechatronics Capstone Course Projects-based on Scrum Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21720

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