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Scorecards: Tracking Progress In Senior Design Project Courses

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

The Best of Design in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1043.1 - 14.1043.10



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Paper Authors

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James Baker Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Mark Yoder Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Bruce Black Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Robert Throne Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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William Kline Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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

Scorecards – Tracking Progress in Senior Design Project Courses

Abstract Monitoring and evaluating the status of engineering design projects has traditionally been part art and part science. Weekly and monthly status reports, Gantt charts, design reviews, time logs, demonstrations, and presentations are often utilized to gain visibility of the progress on projects. Even with all these tools, it is often difficult to gain a clear, definitive view of the status of a given project. In recent years, project dashboards and scorecards have been added to the list of tools employed in industry to give visibility of project status to all stakeholders. These tools seek to concisely display key metrics that give a clear view of project status. In engineering project courses, students and faculty both are often challenged to assess the status and progress of the project. The traditional inputs of submitted homework, quizzes, and examinations are often not applicable. Assessment of progress tends to be more subjective, based on observations and conclusions drawn from reading status reports and team presentations. This paper describes the development and application of project scorecards to traditional classroom senior design projects to help assess status and progress. During 2007-2008 academic year, a weekly scorecard was developed and utilized by 20 senior design project teams in Electrical and Computer Engineering. The tool was designed to aid both the design teams and the faculty in honestly and clearly assessing weekly progress on design projects. The results of the study are discussed including both the perceived benefits and drawbacks.

Introduction and Background Dashboards and scorecards have been used in industry to aid in making the status of business and development projects more transparent and visible to upper management and clients. In 1992, Kaplan and Norton introduced the concept of a “Balanced Scorecard” as a management tool based partially on prior experiences at Analog Devices Corporation.3 The scorecard concept has also been applied in a variety of academic settings.1,2 The scorecard concept has recently been applied to the tracking of a distance-learning graduate program.6 Recently a scorecard has been developed to track student internship projects at Rose-Hulman Ventures5. The project work at the program is carried out on a contract basis for external clients by teams of students guided by a fulltime engineering project manager. The students are employed to work on the projects and receive pay but not academic credit for their involvement. The clients provide significant funding for the work and set high expectations for results. With 20 projects commonly active at one time, the scorecard provides quick overview of project status and problem areas. The scorecard was developed using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet incorporating conditional formatting of key metric cells. The conditional formatting was used to automatically highlight each metric cell in red, yellow, or green based on the value entered each week compared to

Baker, J., & Yoder, M., & Black, B., & Throne, R., & Kline, W. (2009, June), Scorecards: Tracking Progress In Senior Design Project Courses Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5571

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