ESET 419

From ESET Wiki

Dr. Joseph Morgan, P.E.

Instructor:  Dr. Joseph A. Morgan, P.E.
Office:      F111B
Telephone:   979-575-0128



ESET 419. Technical Project Management. (2-3). Credit 3. I, II

The ESET 419 Course Syllabus (available at should be downloaded and reviewed. Students will have the opportunity to ask any clarification questions during the second class period. In addition, students should complete the Lab Safety requirements.


ESET 419 encompasses four primary areas. First, students should gain an introduction to the fundamentals of engineering/technical project management principles. Second, this course offers the student opportunity to develop the components necessary to satisfy the initial requirements of ESET 420. These components include evaluating and selecting the project, the sponsor, the faculty advisor, the project team, and generating formal documentation such as potential project quad charts, planning documents such as the WBS, RAM, NLD, Risk and Costing, and capstone design document with initial prototype design. Third, students enrolled in ESET 419 will have the opportunity to interact with engineers working in the public and private sectors through a series of guest lecturers and seminars. Finally, ESET 419 has been chosen by the ESET faculty members as the second Communications (C) Course required of all students graduating on or after catalog 130. Successful completion of this course provides the student with the tools and knowledge necessary to plan, execute, manage, control and document a valuable and beneficial capstone design experience while gaining significant insight into why these factors are important to lifelong learning and professional development.


The primary goal of ESET 419 is to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of working effectively in a team environment to accomplish an open-ended design project. By effectively planning and communicating the project scope, a realistic assessment of project time and costs can be made. This goal is realized through a team approach to defining the scope in terms of milestones, deliverables and the work to be accomplished via a work breakdown structure. Using the work breakdown structure, teams will create work packages and activities that can be arranged in time with task interdependencies indicated. A Responsibility Assignment Matrix will be created to assign tasks to team members and a Network Logic Diagram will allow the teams to determine total project time and identify the critical path and tasks of the project. Teams will prepare a Gantt Chart for the project and tasks to be accomplished and create a baseline schedule that includes the critical path. Teams will identify and evaluate risk factors that will need to be mitigated and estimate associated project costs . The planning together with the initial technical design will be documented in a formal System Design Process Document that should be used by the team as one of their initial deliverable in ESET 420. A web presence will be developed by each team to document all activities. Seminars and guest lectures will augment the “What” and “How” aspects of the tools and techniques with the “Why” these elements are important to the team's overall success.


To guide teams in identifying and selecting a project, the ESET Program has developed a Technical Merit Matrix. This allows the team to evaluate the technical content of a potential project as part of their selection process. Teams should strive for a technical merit score of 1.2 to 1.3 as a minimum to insure that the project being considered meets the level commensurate with ESET Capstone Projects.


The SDP is created in Capstone I during the initial design activities, submitted as the formal project documentation at the conclusion of Capstone I, and then is finalized at the beginning of the development, test, document and delivery elements of Capstone II. The outline of the SDP contents is provided so that Capstone teams can use these sections to guide their discussions and interactions with their stakeholders to ensure all requirements, specifications, deliverables, etc. are clearly known, understood (Mind of Customer) and communicated.


A major outcome of engineering projects is deliverables. Deliverables are "things" that have value to the client or customer. Each capstone team will prepare for thier project using a series of planning and design deliverables. Although other deliverables will be assigned throughtout the semester to document various capstone ativities, a number of DELIVERABLES will be submitted by each team. Before a deliverable can be completed successfully five attributes must be known. These are:

   1.  WHAT the deliverable is
   2.  WHO is responsible for the deliverable
   3.  WHEN is the deliverable due
   4.  FORMAT for the deliverable
   5.  WHERE to submit the deliverable


Each deliverable has format and content requirements that must be observed by each capstone team. Documentation and examples are provided to assist the teams in meeting these requirements.

1. Team Formation Memo 
2. Team Web Page and Video - Review examples on Capstone Projects
3. Weekly Status Report Form 
4. System Design Process Presentation
5. SDP Presentation Grading Form 
6. System Design Process Approval Form


For many of the lectures, Power Point Presentations will be used. This section contains the files used for these lectures/discussions.

Week 1 
Prerequisite Certification Form
1. Capstone I Course Overview - Part I
2. PIC Mission and Requirements
3. Capstone I Course Overview - Part II
4. Team Placard

Week 2 

System Design Process

Week 3 


Week 4 

Network Logic Diagram

Week 5 

Risk Management

Week 7 - CDR
CDR Grading Form 

Week 8 - PDR
PDR Grading Form 

Week 9 

Capstone Project Costing

Alpha Schematic Review

Alpha Schematic Review Example Slides

Alpha Schematic Review Video

Week 10 

Capstone Earned Value Approach to Project Management, Control, and Reporting

Week 11

Technical Assistance Team (TAT) Meetings

Week 12

Mr. Paul Hill, former Director of Mission Operations at NASA-JSC has spent a career in space operations where making the right decision and making it in a timely manner is what it is all about. Having worked operations for both the Shuttle and Station Programs, Mr. Hill has had the opportunity to be on both sides of the table -- giving presentations to Executive Level individuals and receiving briefings from his personnel. Mr. Hill, who is now on an IPA with Blinn is an expert in Communicating with Upper Management.

Presentation information is provided in two different formats:

      Videotape of Power Point slides with audio - [1]
      In addition, Mr. Hill provided the actual power point slides [2] 

Week 13 


Paragon Innovations is a Dallas-based company started by a former ESET student over 25 years ago. The company is a work for hire product development firm that specializes in embedded intelligence based system design. Many of its projects have similar requirements to the prototypes that are designed, developed, documented and delivered as part of the ESET Capstone Design sequence. Mr. Mike Willey is a former EE student and currently is the CTO and Lead Design Engineer for the company. He has a wealth of knowledge in both hardware and software design. In giving back to Texas A&M, he conducts periodic workshops for Capstone and other ESET students on the "right way" to do product and systems design. The following zip files contain valuable information in both of these critical design areas.


Files contained in Hardware Design Course Notes are recommended to be printed out and brought to the Hardware Design Class.

Files contained in Hardware Design Course Reference Materials are recommended to be available in soft copy and brought to the Hardware Design Class.


Files contained in Software Design Course Notes are recommended to be printed out and brought to the Software Design Class.

Files contained in Software Design Course Reference Materials are recommended to be available in soft copy and brought to the Software Design Class.



Because electronic hardware design is generally on the Capstone project critical path, especially during the early stages, Capstone I now requires a formal review of the schematic capture and highly recommends the team conduct a board layout review before the end of Capstone I. These reviews are formal presentations conducted in the PIC Collaboration Room, and project sponsor and advisor should be invited to the reviews that are scheduled with the course director. Being ready and having all information available is critical to a successful review. The team should:

 1.  Make sure they know how to use all PIC Collaboration Resources 
 2.  Begin review with overview of project using CBD and FBD.  The FBD is used to fully understand what will be covered in the review - so this diagram must be complete and accurate.
 3.  Prepare the review in stages, starting with Power, then Microcontroller, followed with each peripheral that is part of the system being developed.
 4.  Make sure that all data sheets are available if needed to answer a question or better understand the design
 5.  Any reference designs that are being used should be available for review
 6.  Footprints of each device that is used should be selected prior to the review
 7.  Remember, this is a team presentation - not a one person presentation with three others wondering what it is all about.  
One example of a complete and successful Schematic Review is shown in the video

In addition, PI Engineering provided a guest lecture on how to deliver a successful formal schematic review which included lessons learned and best practices for other Capstone teams. The three videos that document the guest lecture are available for download.

 1. PI Engineering 1
 2. PI Engineering 2
 3. PI Engineering 3


In a similar manner, the embedded software design is something that needs to be accomplished at an early stage of the project and it needs to at a level for stakeholders and team members to fully understand how the software will be developed. An extensive Flow Chart of each software program that will be developed must undergo a formal review during Capstone I. Although changes and modifications to this software may happen during the course of the project, having a solid base from which to begin improves the potential for success. Identifying issues, concerns early in the design process and correcting them before extensive coding has begun will shorten the development and validation cycles. Being ready and having all information available is critical to a successful review. The team should:

 1.  Make sure they know how to use all PIC Collaboration Resources 
 2.  Begin review with overview of project using CBD and FBD.  The FBD is only used to fully understand important aspects of the software development
 3.  An overall hierarchy diagram should be used to introduce the various modules that will be created in software
 4. Each module should be then described in a detailed flow chart showing initialization, setup, use, etc.
 5.  Data reduction, analysis, and control algorithms should be thoroughly explained 
 7.  Remember, this is a team presentation - not a one person presentation with others wondering what it is all about
One example of a complete and successful Flow Chart Review is shown in the video

The slides associated with this presentation are available in Flow Chart Slides

Product Innovation Cellar (PIC)

The Product Innovation Cellar PIC is available to all student teams enrolled in the capstone sequence. ENTC 420 student teams have priority, but ESET 419 student teams can request access to the PIC in Thompson Hall, if available. Requests are made by completing the PIC Authorization Request Form after reviewing all safety and operational requirements in the presentation. The completed form must be provided to the ESET Administrative Coordinator so that ID Card access can be set up. Approval will be on a first-come/first-served basis. Eating, sleeping or entertaining in the PIC is absolutely prohibited. All student conduct must be that of an adult and a professional engineer. Any unauthorized activities will result in the individual and possibly the entire team losing access privilege. Video monitoring of the PIC is done 24/7.

  ONLY AUTHORIZED STUDENTS should be in the PIC at any time!

Team Placard

A Team Placard must be prepared by each Capstone team. One copy of this placard is provided to the ESET 419 course instructor, and the another will be inserted into placard holder attached to the team's equipment locker located in the Development Area of the PIC. The placard should identify the project, stakeholders and provide pictures and contact information for each team member.

ELE Seminar

The Ethics Leadership Entrepreneurship (ELE)Seminar is an integral component of the Capstone I course. Teams are encouraged to identify, successfully invite, host and conduct a round-table discussion with an executive-level individual in the private/public sector.

Activity Scheduling 

Teams should request that important Capstone activities be placed on the Capstone Calendar maintained by the ESET Administrative Coordinator. Team activities are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.



When purchasing any item for your project, you must have the purchase pre-approved or you may not be reimbursed for the expenditure. All teams must use the current procurement process that begins with submitting a PO for the items that need to be purchased. In addiiton, each PO must be accompanied with an up-to-date and accurate spreadsheet showing all project expenditures and the total funds expended to include shipping, etc. Two documents are provided for use in the procurement process:

PO Form 
ESET PO Instructions
Example Expense Report

ALTIUM - MISL Architecture

ASEE Paper on MISL Stack and use of Altium 
ASEE Presentation on MISL Stack and use of Altium 


In the Fall of 2015, a team of four students (Dakotah Karrer, Vince Rodriguez, David Smith, and Trent Tate formed DVDT as their Capstone Team. One of the goals they set for themselves was to set a standard of excellence for all ESET Capstone Teams. The team was able to fully complete their project, delivering a fully functioning prototype to its customer - Texas Space Technology Applications and Research (T STAR) that met all functional requirements to the associated performance specifications. The following is a selection of their deliverables that were submitted for Capstone I and Capstone II. These are meant to be informative only and do not supersede any requirements provided in the current Capstone classes.

The Capstone Story

Team Formation Memo

PDR Presentation


Network Logic Diagram developed by Synonym Systems


Below is a link to a video describing the use of a new Earned Value Spreadsheet created by Kelson Astley of Vector Engineering Systems (VES) and SliKK Innovations. Within the video description, the links to the two versions and a word document outlining their use can be found. Earned Value Spreadsheet Tutorial Video

      The referenced documents are provided here:
      Earned Value Tool - 3 Person
      Earned Value Tool - 4 Person
      Earned Value Tool Document

Other tools that seem to have glitches: Earned Value Tool developed by Digerati