EG1003 Project Milestone Presentation Format

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The semester-long project is one of the most important components of EG1003, so it's important that you do an honest assessment of where you stand on the project, and that you receive input from the teaching staff on how your are doing. Therefore, several milestone presentations are scheduled during the term to achieve this

In some ways, the milestone presentations are similar to the lab presentations. You will present with the rest of your team, like the labs, and much of the material you present will be similar. However, the intent of this presentation is much different. In this case, you're not presenting an activity you've already completed, but are showing how you're progressing on an activity that lasts into the future. Also, the emphasis will change from how you present your findings to how you present your progress, and convince the audience that you will be successful in your project, or at least where you stand in completing it.

Because of this, the presentation will emphasize cost and schedule issues rather than technical issues, although technical issues will certainly be covered. This will cause the agenda of the presentation to change, and the issues you cover to be different as well.

You will only have about five minutes to do this presentation, so be sure to be brief.

Title Slide

This is one of the slides that you have in common with the lab presentation, and the information is similar. The slide should contain the following information:

  • The Milestone number
  • The course identification (EG1003) and section you're in
  • The date of the presentation
  • The names of the members of your group, usually in alphabetical order
  • The type of project you're doing

If one of the members has done the overwhelming majority of the work in preparing the milestone, their name should come first, followed by the other team members.

All this information should be on individual lines, centered.

Like the lab presentation, the presenters should stand in the same order that their names appear on the title slide.

Agenda

Like the Overview slide in the lab presentation, this tells the audience what subjects will be covered. It consists of a list of bulleted items:

  • Project Objective
  • Background Information
  • Technical Design Description
  • Cost Estimate
  • Project Schedule
  • Summary

Like the lab presentation, each of the preceding bullets will become a section in the presentation that follows.

Project Objective

This slide tells your audience what project you're doing, and how you plan to approach it. It also discusses issues that affect your standing by trying to achieve bonus points.

The slide should cover the following topics:

  • A quick description of your project, i.e., are you doing a bomb robot, a train guidance system, etc.
  • Your overall approach. For example, for a bomb robot, what path you plan to travel. For the train system, do you plan to solve the entire problem at one time or in pieces. For the retrieval system, which balls will you pick up for how many points, deposited in which bin.
  • What extra credit points you plan to try to achieve if any. These points raise the project risk, so it's important that you address this.

Background Information

This consists of a quick description of the mission. You can usually get this from the project description in the online manual. You should tailor the mission to what your project does. For example, if your solution is fast, stress speed. If your project is inexpensive, stress price. For the earlier milestones, a simple mission statement will be sufficient, i.e. a paraphrasing of what's in the online manual. For later milestones, you should be more specific.

Technical Project Description

You've explained what you're trying to accomplish, and why. Now it's time to give more detail. This part of the presentation will typically consist of several slides. The first slide will discuss how your project works in more detail. For Milestone 1, this will continue the theme you gave in the project objective, giving a little more detail. For the later milestones, you should be much more specific.

For Milestone 1, you should give a sketch of your project, if appropriate. In later milestones, you should show a picture of your project as well, and describe any changes from the sketch. For milestones after Milestone 2, you should describe what changed in the project implementation from earlier milestones.

You should review the online manual for any tasks that were to be performed for this milestone. These tasks should be presented here.

Cost Estimate

This is one of the most important parts of the presentation. It should be a single slide showing how much your project will cost, presented as an Excel spreadsheet that's embedded on your slide. What this means is that you should NOT show an Excel screen shot, but have a table that looks professional.

For many projects, your list will be long, possibly more than can fit on one slide. If this is true, you can just show the major cost items (for example, for robots, the RCX block and motors are expensive) and put the rest in one or more "miscellaneous" categories. Frequently one category is enough, but if it looks too large (usually more than 20% of the price), you can break it out by function (e.g., grappling arm), or by type of component( e.g., technic, brick, etc.).

A critical item in this cost should be labor. If you're not sure how to calculate labor, there is a section on this in the online manual that will tell you how to calculate it.

The overall cost, which is the sum of all the preceding components, should be in the bottom right corner of the table.

After Milestone 1, you should have a second slide that explains any changes from earlier milestone presentations and why they occurred.

Project Schedule

This is another critical section, and it's important that it be presented clearly. First, you should have prepared a project schedule by the start of your milestone presentations. If you're not sure how to do this, there is a section on how to do a schedule and also a Skill Builder on Microsoft Project. You should read them both. One of the key items is to have a schedule that shows at least 20 detailed tasks, plus an appropriate number of summary tasks (also known as rollup tasks), plus the milestones themselves. The schedule presented can be extracted from Microsoft Project by using the "copy picture" icon in Microsoft Project (the icon that looks like a camera in the center of the screen at the top). The schedule you see in Microsoft Project usually won't fit on a single slide, so you'll have to reformat it before doing the "copy picture". Between the task table and the Gantt Chart, there's a bar. "Drag" the bar so that you only have the task descriptions, without things like the duration, start and end dates, resources, predecessors, successors, etc. If you drag the bar so that only the descriptions show, and have the correct time line, you should be able to present the schedule on a single slide. On the Gantt chart you present, all tasks should show the name of the responsible individual.

On any project, some tasks will be late. Therefore, your presentation should also show progress bars, and explain any late tasks. Note that being late on some tasks is not necessarily bad – in fact a project where everything is running on time will probably raise the suspicions of any manager. What is important, however, is that you show that you know you're late, and also present a "get well" plan that explains how you will still be able to complete the project on schedule.

For presentations after Milestone 1, you should explain any changes to the schedule.

Summary

This is your last slide, and is an overall assessment of where you stand. The first bullet should be a quick summary of how you think you're doing. Some typical bullets you might use are:

  • We're on schedule (really?)
  • We're running late, but can catch up (the most likely)
  • We're dead (sure to ignite an spirited discussion from your faculty member about what you plan to do, other than drop the course)

The second bullet is an assessment on how you're doing on cost. For Milestone 1, and assessment of how realistic you think your cost estimate is. For later milestones, you would note whether there was a cost increase or decrease and why. For all milestones except the last one, you should also forecast whether you think the cost will increase or decrease in future presentations.

Finally, the last bullets should highlight what tasks you plan to perform by the next milestone.

Conclusion

The preceding slides should give your Recitation TA and faculty member a good idea of where you stand. They will give you helpful advice on how to be successful. For each milestone, you should also review the online manual to insure you've achieved what's required of you for each milestone, and presented the necessary information.

By following this format, it is highly likely that you will be successful in your project.

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