Asee peer logo

Project Management Implementation in a Capstone Design Course

Download Paper |


Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference



Publication Date

April 9, 2021

Start Date

April 9, 2021

End Date

April 10, 2021

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Mike Simard PE Villanova University

visit author page

Mike is an engineering leader with over 30 years’ experience in start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. Mike possesses both a Bachelor and Masters in Mechanical Engineering, as well as an MBA. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), certified Project Manager Professional (PMP) and Certified Estimating Professional (CEP).
Mike has held senior positions in engineering design, project management and operations in the power generation, biomass conversion and building material industries. He has led a variety of projects including the development of new processes & equipment, the design & build of pilot & demonstration facilities, as well as the construction and start-up of large manufacturing facilities. He has worked internationally in Europe and China. He is a published author, conference speaker and inventor with multiple patents.
Mike is currently an Associate Professor of the Practice at Villanova University.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Project management has become a standard practice in the fields of engineering, construction and information technology, leading to significantly lower project failure rates. While fundamental technical content takes up the bulk of the typical undergraduate engineering curriculum, the capstone design project is an excellent opportunity to teach project management principles through a project-based learning experience. However, few programs actively promote project management although most programs include project management topics in capstone lectures. A few institutions have taken a more formal approach by creating dedicated project management courses or incorporating substantial project management materials in an existing course earlier in the curriculum. Another approach is the creation of project management workshops or one-day seminars. Our mechanical engineering capstone design course was revamped to include more project management activities. In addition to the standard triple constraint of scope management, schedule and cost control, the updated curriculum includes the implementation of a communication plan, dashboard status reports, project commissioning & testing plans, and project close-out. Student teams are provided with effective templates to facilitate implementation and the activities are integrated directly into the design process. A survey of graduating students found that 57% of students considered the project management activities to be either Very or Extremely Helpful, and another 32% as Moderately Helpful. These are considered excellent results for the initial implementation and the initiative is being improved further. Students not only learn to apply basic project management techniques that improve the outcomes of capstone projects, but they are also better prepared for entering the workforce.

Simard, M. (2021, April), Project Management Implementation in a Capstone Design Course Paper presented at Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference, Virtual . 10.18260/1-2--36313

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015