We have compiled a list of the lessons we have learned while trying to successfully complete our senior design project. We learned some early and avoided running into trouble, but we learned others the hard way. In retrospect, following the eight points below should help future teams keep up our teamís strengths and avoid our pitfalls.
∑ Get started early!
o No matter how early you beginning working on your project there will still be last minute issues. However, making progress early will help you smooth out most major problems in enough time.
∑ Do research!
o Look everywhere you can think for solutions to your problem that may already exist. Once you have done that, do it again; there is huge chance that you will find something new.
∑ Sometimes the easiest solution is the least hi-tech!
o Although new technology is always intriguing, there may be a low-tech, easy-to-implement solution that already exists. The simplest designs often work the best.
∑ Ask for advice early!
o Before you make a final design selection, be sure to ask professors in and out of your area about whether or not your design is feasible. You may get an important tip that will greatly reduce your future problems.
∑ Double and triple check your design!
o Everybody makes mistakes; some are easy to fix and some arenít. In order to avoid as many mistakes as possible, have all of your group members check your designs. Something simple could have been overlooked by someone close to the problem, but having the rest of the team or a professor look things over could save you a significant amount of time troubleshooting your design later.
∑ Get help as soon as you need it!
o If something confuses you, be sure to ask right away. Your team members, advisor, and even other students are always willing to help. Their input can end of saving a lot of time and frustration. Keeping everyone updated with your progress will also help to keep you from getting too far behind.
∑ Use all of your resources!
o If you are have a problem, be sure to use every source you can possible access to try to find a solution. ECE professors, whether or not your project is in their area of expertise, are amazing resources. They are completely willing to help and will most likely give you new ideas or at least point you to people that could have the answers. Also, your advisor, your customer, your team, and other students can all be extremely helpful if you ask.
∑ Know your team member's strengths and weaknesses!
o Each of your teammates has unique abilities, time constraints, and commitments. Take the time to get to know your teammates. Everyone is happier and more motivated when they are doing something they are good at and enjoy. If there is task the no one particularly wants to do, divide it up, so no one gets stuck with the entire burden. Encourage your teammates when they are frustrated and let them know you appreciate them when they are doing a good job.
© Team AudioVibe - University of Idaho 2004-2005
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