HI6006 Competitive Strategy
PPMP20007 Developing the Schedule
January 25, 2018
BUGEN 5930 Business, Society & the Planet
COIT20256 Data Structures & Algorithms
January 25, 2018

PPMP20007 Group Case Study

BUGEN 5930 Business, Society & the Planet

PPMP20007 Group Case Study

Product Development Case Description


This case study simulates a project management scenario where the student takes on the role of project manager. Students are required to use Microsoft project management software as part of this assessment task.

This is a group assignment that also includes five individual student submissions (see below). You should aim for groups of four students. Four is the maximum number of students allowed in a group. Ideally, no group should have fewer than 3 students.

(Note that distance education students have the option of smaller groups or working on this as an individual assignment. To form groups with other distance education students, use the distance education forum on the unit website.)

Although this is a group assignment, all members of a group are required to attempt all parts of the assignment individually as assessment item sub-deliverables 1 – 5. Members of the group are required to submit their own individual attempt for each of the sub-deliverables in Moodle before the group meets to consolidate answers to produce the “group solution”. There are separate submission areas and due dates for the individual submissions. On time submission of the 5 sub-deliverables is worth a total of 10 marks, but these submissions are also be used to assess individual contributions and may impact on a student’s final mark. Late sub-deliverable submissions will be given a mark of 0.

Groups must meet at least once a week to produce the “group solution” for the most recently submitted individual sub-deliverable. This solution should then be added to the “in progress” final group solution. All members of the group must keep a copy of the   “current group assignment”.

It is also important to meet early in week 10 to produce the updated schedule to be used to complete the Part C questions and status report. Each group is responsible for providing their own status data. This means that the    group members must collaborate to produce the PartC.mpp file to be used to complete the Part C questions. This is explained further in Part C.

There is one final group solution to be submitted at the end of the assignment. It is worth 30 marks and is to be submitted by only one member of the group. The names and student ids of all members of the group must appear clearly on the coversheet of the final assessment submission.

Peer assessment and your individual submissions will also be used to assess group member contributions. If any member of a team is not contributing satisfactorily to the group then he/she may have marks adjusted and/or be asked to leave the group and be required to complete the assignment as an individual. If you are having any difficulties within your group you must alert your tutor/lecturer as early as possible.

To assist students in their assessment solution development the following information is provided:

  1. A product development case description
  2. Specific assessment questions that must be answered
  3. Information regarding the submission of the assessment
  4. Marking criteria

Where necessary, students are expected to find relevant information in the academic literature to justify their answers. Any assumptions made must be clearly documented.


Synthesys Informatics is a medium sized company that develops and manufactures mobile data collection devices.  You are an employee of Synthesys and work as project manager in the product development department. The people involved in this case are:

  • You as the project manager.
  • Mr. O’Brian – Director of Product Development.
  • Ms.  Horsell – Director of Marketing and Portfolio Management.
  • Ms. Thomas – Human Resource Manager.
  • Functional line managers in the research and development department.
  • Engineers and members of your project team.


You have been leading a small team of experienced engineers conducting a technical feasibility study to investigate if it is possible to modify one of its standard products to create a product variant to satisfy the needs of a local organisation involved in environmental management. You are planning to hold a M1 Milestone Concept Review on Friday, 2nd February 2018. The concept review is one of the milestones in the company’s product development process.

The need for the new product has been identified by the marketing department lead by Ms. Horsell, Director of Marketing and Portfolio Management. Ms. Horsell provided your small project team with a product brief, outlining the special end user, sales and service requirements to supplement the requirements already established for the standard product. She also developed the business case for the product and believes that there is a market for this variant of the product beyond the customer with the original requirement/request for the modified product.

Shedule and Budget

Project Milestones

The milestones your team will use are:

  1. M1 Concept review complete (At this point the feasibility study will be complete. A go/no-go decision for the project will be made at this milestone).
  2. M2 Designs Complete and Reviewed (At this point the overall design will be complete and reviewed. A go/no-go decision for procurement will be made at this milestone. For the purposes of this assignment assume that this go/no-go decision is made at the design review meeting, so you are not required to add any additional tasks for this decision making process).
  3. P1 prototype-build start (Everything is ready so that the product “prototype 1” is able to be manufactured with the quality level expected).
  4. P2 prototype-build start (Everything is ready so that the product “prototype 2” is able to be manufactured with the quality level expected).
  5. M3 Final Design review (At this point the product quality is verified based on the product validation testing carried out on the last prototype. A go/no-go decision for production of required number of units for customer is made).
  6. M4 Launch review (A go/no-go decision depending if all business areas are ready for market launch and required number of devices are in stock. For the purposes of this assignment this is the milestone marking the end of the project. You are not required to add a task to make the decision – it will be made by senior management at this point. This milestone is the end of your schedule).

At the M1 concept review it was decided to go ahead with the project. M1 milestone is to be the start of the project. Make the start of the project Monday, 5th February 2018. This is M1 – the first milestone.

On Monday, 5/2/2018 (after M1) you have a workshop led by Mr. Software, Mr. Mechanics, Mr. Electronics, Mr. Production and Mr. Validation to plan the product development activities. They are members of your project team and very experienced managers and engineers.

From the team workshop you have obtained the following information:

  1. A work break down structure (WBS), resource estimates and some dependencies provided in Table 1 below.

Note that the following abbreviations are used:

  • Electronic Engineer (EE)
  • Software Engineer (SW)
  • Mechanical Engineer (ME)
  • Test Engineer (TE)
  • Production Engineer (PE)
  • Technical Writer (TW)
  • Printed Wire Board (circuit board)  (PWB)
  • Electromagnetic Compliance (EMC)
  • Planning Workshop (PW

Table 1- Work Breakdown Structure

Activity Description Predecessor(s) Person days/weeks of effort 1(and type of resource required.) To be completed at the following milestone
The MDC Project        
PW: Planning Workshop Planning workshop M1 2 days fixed duration. 1SE, 1TE, 1ME, 1 PE, 1EE, 1TW will be in attendance.  
1.    Electronics        
     1.1 PWB outline modifications   Planning workshop(PW) 1 EE for 1 week.

(fixed duration)

     1.2  Component selection Selection of electronic components. Must be started together with 1.3. 1.1 1 EE for 2 weeks (fixed duration)  
     1.3 P1 circuit design and PWB


Creation of circuit diagram and PWB layout. Breadboard solution created. Must be started together with 1.2. 1.1 1 EE for 2 weeks

(Fixed duration).

      1.4 P1 electronics verification


Electronic verification tests with the use of the P1 prototypes. P1 build complete (5.5) 1 person-week of EE.  
      1.5 P2 circuit design


Electronic improvements to circuit diagram, component selection and layout. 1.4 1 person-week of EE.  
      1.6 P2 electronics verification


Electronic verification tests with the use of the P2 prototypes. P2 build complete (6.5) 1 person-week of EE. M3
      1.7 Thermal verification tests Verification that electronic heat generation and heat transmission through covers is acceptable. P2 build complete 2 person-days of EE.  
      1.8 EMC verification tests Verification of compliance with electromagnetic compliance regulations. 1.7 2 person-days of EE. M3
2.  Software        
     2.1 Software specification Specification of the software functionality based on user requirements. PW 1 person-week of SE.  
     2.2 User interface specification Detailed specifications of the user interface 2.1 1 person-week of SE.  
     2.3 Database specifications   2.1 1 person-week of SE.  
      2.4 Software test plans   2.2,2.3 2 person-weeks of SE  
      2.5 Software design   2.1 1 person-week of SE.  
      2.6 User interface design   2.2 1 person-week of SE.  
      2.7 Database design   2.3 1 person-week of SE.  
  2.8 Review of designs and test plans


  1.2,1.3, 2.4, 2.5,2.6,2.7, 4.1, 3.4 2 days fixed duration. 3SE, 1TE, 2ME, 1 PE, 2EE, 1TW will be in attendance. M2
     2.9 Software development You can assume that there are three modules of approximately similar effort and if there are 3 SEs available for this task it could be reduced to duration of 4 weeks (this is still 12 person-weeks of SE effort).  For this assignment, you can also assume that individual modules will be tested during development 2.8 (i.e. M2) 12 person-weeks of SE. In your initial schedule assign 2 SEs to this task, so it should take 6 weeks.  
       2.10 User interface


Assume this includes interface development and testing 2.8 6 person-weeks of SE.  
       2.11  Database development Assume this includes development and testing 2.8 6 person-weeks of SE.  
     2.12 R1 release creation Creation of the R1 software release used for  testing with the P1 prototype (in 4.4) 2.9,2.10,2.11 3 person-days of SE.  
     2.13 R1 error correction and user interface improvements   4.4 1 person-week of SE.  
     2.14  R2 release creation Creation of the R2 software release to be used for testing with the P2 prototype 2.13 3 person-days of SE.  
      2.15 R2 release tests Testing of the R2 release with the P2 prototype 2.14,6.5 (prototype 2 build completed) 1 person-week of SE.  
      2.16 R2 error corrections Correction of errors 2.15 1 person-week of SE.  
      2.17 R2 interoperability tests Testing of interoperability with 3rd party accessory devices. 2.16 1 person-week of SE.  
     2.18 R2 interoperability error


Correction of errors 2.17 1 person-week of SE.  
     2.19 R3 sales release creation Creation of the software sales release 2.18 3 days of SE. M3
3. Mechanics        
    3.1 Industrial design Design of the industrial design for the device. Must be started in parallel with 1.1 and 2.1 PW 2 weeks of a ME/industrial designer.  
    3.2 PWB outline modifications Modifications of the PWB to fit the industrial design, new components and usability requirements. Must be done in parallel with 1.1 3.1 1 person-week of ME.  
    3.3 P1 mechanical CAD design CAD design of mechanical plastic parts and metal parts for the device. 3.2 2 person-weeks of ME.  
    3.4 Tolerance stack analysis Analysis of the mechanical tolerance stacks compared to part tooling and moulding capabilities. 3.3 1 person-week of ME.  
    3.5 P1 mechanical part analysis Physical analysis of moulded plastic parts and sheet metal parts used in the first prototype P1 build complete 1 person-week of ME.  
    3.6 P2 mechanical part


Modification of moulding and sheet metal tools used for P2 parts. 3.5 2 person-weeks of ME.  
    3.7 Mechanical tool approval Evaluation of P2 mechanical parts and approval of moulding and sheet metal tools used in part manufacture. P2 build complete 2 weeks of ME. M3
4. Verification        
    4.1 Test plan creation Creation of a plan documenting what is to be tested. PW 2 person-week of TE


    4.2 Component tests Test of key hardware component reliability to various standard tests like drop and humidity.


After delivery of components for P1 i.e. 5.1,5.2,5.3 and also  4.1) 1 person-week of TE P1
    4.3 Module tests Test of module functionality after assembly. P1 build complete, 4.2 1 person-week of TE.  
    4.4 System integration tests Test of integration of modules and R1 software – i.e. testing of P1 prototype 4.3 ,2.12 1 person-week of TE and 1 person-week of SE P2
    4.5 Product validation tests Test of product against reliability to various standard tests like drop and humidity and end user requirements. 4.4, P2 build complete (6.5) 1 person-week of TE  
    4.6 Technical Construction File


Creation of documentation for regulatory approvals. 4.5 1 person-week of TE.  
    4.7 Type approval and regulatory

approval tests

Approvals from regulatory authorities. 4.6 4 weeks by regulatory authorities. M3
5. prototype 1 build        
   5.1 P1 Component lead-time Components from Suppliers M2 4 weeks by Suppliers P1
   5.2 P1 PWB manufacture and


PWB manufacture and delivery M2 4 weeks by Suppliers P1
   5.3 P1 mechanical part lead-time P1 mechanical part lead-time M2 3 weeks by Suppliers P1
   5.4 P1 assembly and production

test preparation

Assembling and production test preparation by PE M2 2 person-weeks of 1 PE P1
   5.5 P1 prototype build Building prototype P1 prototype build start 2 person-days of 1 PE  
6. prototype 2 build        
   6.1 P2 Component lead-time Components from Suppliers 1.5 4 weeks by Suppliers P2
   6.2 P2 PWB manufacture and


PWB manufacture and delivery 1.5 4 weeks by Suppliers P2
   6.3 P2 assembly and production

test preparation

Assembling and production test preparation by PE 1.5 2 person-weeks of 1 PE P2
   6.4 P2 mechanical part lead-time


P2 mechanical part lead-time 3.6 3 weeks by Suppliers P2
   6.5 P2 prototype build Building prototype P2 prototype build start 2 person-days of 1 PE  
7. Documentation        
      7.1 documentation plan  Table of contents etc. 2.8 1 person-week of TW and 1 person-week of SE  
      7.2 development of


TW writes documentation 7.1 2 person-weeks of TW  
      7.3 review of documentation  Review by SE and corrections by TW 7.2 1 person-week of TW and 1 person-week of SE M3
8. Production of devices for customers/market        
       8.1 assembly and production


  M3 2 person-weeks of PE  
       8.2 Production of devices Bulk production of required number of devices for customers and market launch 8.1 3 weeks fixed duration. Requires 1 PE. M4



As the project manager you have accepted the tasks of creating the compiled project schedule and allocating resources.

  1. One “person-day” is a “unit of work” representing the work done by one person in one day. It means that the task will normally take one person one day to complete. You can assume that a week refers to a normal working week of 5 days (Mon-Fri) with people working 8 hours per day. This is the default in Microsoft Project. Unless otherwise stated you can also assume a linear relationship, i.e. 3 person-weeks will take one person 3 weeks or 3 people one week. Note that this is not necessarily the case in practice. Refer to the discussion of the “mythical man-month” in your text book (Brooks’ law, chapter 9). In addition, some tasks will be a fixed duration (e.g. delivery times).
  2. For the purposes of this assignment (to reduce variability in solutions and complications for the markers) build your Part A1 schedule by assuming that you allocate one resource (i.e. one person with the required skills) to each task. In that case, if the task required 2 person-weeks of a SE, you would assign one SE to the task and give it duration of 2 weeks.

Available Resources

The maximum full time resources available for your project are:


Resource $/hour Number Available
Electronics Engineer $100.00 2
Software Engineer $95.00 3
Mechanical Engineer $85.00 2
Test Engineer $90.00 1
Production Engineer $105.00 1
Technical Writer $70.00 1


Your team is committed to producing only two prototype iterations to develop and validate the design.

General Information

In addition to the work breakdown structure, you have collected the following information.

  • The project booking of the prototype builds (treat the bookings as B1 and B2 milestones for task 5.5 and 6.5) will have to be done at the latest four (4) weeks in advance of the build. This is the lead time required to include builds in the manufacturing’s master production schedule.
  • The booking of the Type Approval (TA) test house (B3 milestone) has to be done 8 weeks prior to type approval (task 4.7).
  • The engineers work a 40 hour week from Monday to Friday (i.e. a 5 day week with 8 hour days). There are no differences among the abilities of all engineers.
  • Enter the following public holidays
  • 30/03/2018 – Good Friday
  • 02/04/2018 – Easter Monday
  • 25/04/2018 – Anzac day
  • 11/06/2018 – Queen’s birthday

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