3 Ideas
Sketch Model Review
Mockup Model Review
Assembly Review
Tech Review
Final Presentation

Team Roles

Resource title Roles Resource allocation
System Integrators Product and team integration 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Financial Officers Managing budget 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Tool Officers Maintaining workspace 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Information Officers Interface to librarian 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Team Site Master Team project site management 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Safety Officers Product and team safety 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Yoda Officer Facilitate teamwork excellence 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Video Log Officer Capture the team's learning experience 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Student Design Teams Product development execution 16-24 per team (two lab sections)
Task Forces Ad-hoc tasks Defined by teams as needed
Course Instructor Set course vision Supports all class participants
Course TAs and Armin Assistance 3, available to all teams
Lab Instructors Technical managers 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Communication Instructors Communication consultants 1 per team
Lab Staff Prototyping experts 4, available to all teams
Librarian Aid in finding resources 1 per class
Meta Yoda Coach to team Yodas 1 per class
Team Mentors Project consultants ~4 per team
Media coordinators Coach to team video loggers 2 per class
Course Sponsors 2.009 Investors Gifts that fund team budgets


System Integrators

There are two systems integrators per team (one per section). In the first lab meeting all students interested in this role should be identified. Then, each interested person should have one week in the position before a section vote is made to choose the integrator for the rest of the term. After the convergence, when the two sections reunite as one team and members decide on one product concept, it is customary for the two system integrators to continue on and cooperate in the role.

The system integrators will assume a number of coordination and integration functions during the project, from both a project management and technical design viewpoint. While they are not the owners of the design vision (the team is), they are the hub of team communication. (Note: All team members should actively share ideas, information, and feedback and not expect the SI to always elicit or motivate it.) The system integrators will have management responsibilities that include:

  • Coordinating weekly team meetings, agendas, and goals.
  • Structuring the process to define task forces.
  • Ensuring that the meeting minutes and team's slack site is properly maintained.
  • Facilitating communication within and between team task forces.
  • Forming and maintaining the overall project schedule in consultation with the team lab instructors.
  • Spearheading the development of the product contract and specifications.
  • Forming and maintaining a system image of the product as it is designed.
  • Helping with the physical integration of product subsystems.

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Financial Officers

Each team has two financial officers (one per section) who track expenditures and monitor the project budget. The financial officers also ensure that purchases follow ethical guidelines. Team financial officers will be selected during the first team lab meeting.

Financial officers are responsible for initiating the process of purchasing project materials (team credit card or purchase order) and reimbursements. The financial officers will have a team credit card in their name.

Financial officers are expected to keep receipts, keep an accounting ledger for the project, and be prepared to provide a budget status report at each team meeting. Each week they will update an expenditures spreadsheet (.xlsx) documenting all charges—credit card, requests for payments, and requests for reimbursements. The spreadsheets may also be reviewed by lab instructors during weekly staff meetings.

In many cases the financial officers also play a lead role in product cost modeling.

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Tool Officers

Each team will have two tool officers (one from each section). The tool officers will be responsible for coordinating the cleaning of the team workspace and the weekly organization of the team tool cabinet.

Tool officers will be elected during the first week of lab. Tool officers will sign a form verifying that the team is responsible for the tools in its cabinet. Then, the tool officer will receive a list of tools that are in the team workspace and the combination for the team tool cabinet. At the end of the semester, the tool officer will inventory tools  in the team’s cabinet, compare it to the initial list, and replace ones that are missing.

Tool officers will also help with the care of the pdl prototyping facility (toy lab) in 3-004.

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Information Officers

Information officers (two per team, one per section) are the primary contacts who work with the course librarian to facilitate secondary research, helping team members obtain any information or relevant standards that the team needs. The information officers should also take responsibility for observing team meetings, paying careful attention to note when decisions are difficult or arbitrary due to insufficient background information, and bring this issue to the attention of the team. They should also play a key role in developing a team web site and mechanisms for members to share information, monitoring team use of information technology, and propose ways to use the technology more effectively. In many instances the information officers will help integration officers by recording and maintaining team minutes on the team project site, or designating other team members to record and maintain minutes in both task force and team meetings.

It is also expected that the information officer will play a significant role in research related to the development of your team's business model, along with financial officers and other team members.

If desired, a section may also elect two information/IT officers and combine the responsibilities of the information officer and project site master.

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Team Project-management Site Master

Each section of a team will have a project site master (two per team), elected during the first team lab meeting. This person, who is ideally web savvy, is responsible for taking the initiative in utilizing the team's project management site to its full potential as a communication and project management tool. A key responsibility of the site master is to advocate for and educate the team on the use of the project management tool.

With many team members contributing, it is important to have somebody to make sure everything that should be posted is, and to keep things organized. While everyone on the team can and should add pages and materials, the site masters work to lead organization of the information and files in the site. Site masters will suggest procedures to the SIs and team for the efficient and consistent use of the project site in a way that supports team product design goals.

If desired, a section may also elect two information/IT officers and combine the responsibilities of the site master and the information officer.

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Safety Officers

Each team has two safety officers (one per section), elected during the first team lab meeting, who assist shop staff with monitoring working conditions within the team space and reminding teammates or instructors about safety issues when dangerous practices are observed. Additionally, the officers will identify safety issues related to their team's product and conduct research to identify relevant regulations or standards. They should obtain and post material safety data sheets (MSDS) in the team area for potentially dangerous materials.

The safety officers will meet for a tutorial with the department EHS Presenter near the start of the term.

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Yoda Officer

Each team has two Team Yodas (one per section) who monitor work distribution, individual engagement, and team dynamics.  Team Yodas will be selected during the first team lab meeting.

The Team Yodas’ ultimate purposes are to promote balance and productive engagement within the team and to assist members in reaching their full potentials.  They may fulfill these duties by acting as a mediator or an active listener, or by supporting individuals in voicing their needs to the team.  While Yodas can act as a team resource for any interpersonal conflicts, they should be particularly sensitive to any and all imbalances due to team member identity, including (but not limited to) gender, race, or religion. 

Team Yodas are encouraged to work closely with System Integrators to identify opportunities for a) improvement in the division of labor and b) students who wish to expand their knowledge and capabilities to do so.  With guidance from mentors, Team Yodas should both proactively and passively engage with team members to discuss ways to optimize their 2.009 experiences.

Team Yodas are expected to keep track of their observations on team dynamics and of their role-related interactions with team members in their notebooks.  They may be called upon by System Integrators and/or lab instructors and/or the course instructor following class milestones and team review surveys to provide recommendations on how to address weaknesses in team operations.

Team Yodas will have periodic meetings throughout the term with the Meta Yoda (our Yoda coach) during the term. The meetings will be scheduled once all team Yoda officers are appointed.

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Video Log Officers

Each team has two video log officers (one per section) serve to document their team's learning experience in video.  Video loggers should be passionate about video, and interested in learning and developing their craft. Video loggers will gain experience as a storyteller, cinematographer, and graphic historian. Video log officers will be selected by the team during the first team lab meeting.

Each team will be provided with camera equipment to be shared by their Video Loggers. The Video Loggers will receive instruction/mentoring on video and audio technique, and in building a documentary narrative from the course media coordinator. After an introductory session with the media coordinator, the Video Loggers will deliver media files and receive feedback on a weekly basis throughout the term. The meetings will be scheduled once all team video log officers are appointed. Some materials will also be used at the course final presentations.

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Student Design Teams

Students on a design team are ultimately responsible for identifying a promising product direction and designing and building an alpha prototype in a manner consistent with the course vision, using their lab instructors, the course instructor, course TAs, communication instructors, librarian, lab staff, and mentors as resources. The course grading outline provides a concise summary of milestones by which success will largely be measured.

The team owns and drives their product development process and the vision for their product. The team creates and coordinates an internal structure; develops and follows a schedule for the project; and plans for how the prototype will be manufactured and assembled. The team begins by working in two somewhat independent sections, and then in the middle of the semester converges to a single concept and builds a carefully designed and well executed alpha prototype.

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Ad-hoc Task Forces

The full team is needed to tackle the problem of developing the product concept and alpha prototype in roughly 3 months. However, it is rare that all members will be able to simultaneously work together on the same thing.

Throughout the development process, the team will typically divide into ad-hoc task forces with different responsibilities. Each task force is a mini-group with 2-4 members typically. One of the main functions of the weekly lab meetings is project coordination through the sharing of information between task forces, making group decisions, and terminating, adjusting, or forming new task forces to address current project demands.

The system integrators are responsible for coordinating the ad-hoc task forces and facilitating the task force definition process.

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Course Instructor

The course instructor sets the vision for the course, how the course is structured, and what is expected of all the participants. The lectures, project theme, grading structure, guidelines, and milestones for the project are determined and administered by the course instructor. The course instructor is available to offer advice to teams, or to receive input from any student on any aspect of the course. The course instructor is also available to all teams for design consultation in the Pappalardo lab.

The course instructor does not have a primary role in grading teams and team members.

The course instructor works with the lab instructors to: clarify and maintain the course vision; obtain detailed feedback about team progress; and identify ways to ensure that the goals of the course are met.

More details:

  • The course instructor is equivalent to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company, setting the top level vision and having ultimate decision power.
  • The course instructor sets the vision for the course: how it will proceed and what is expected of all the participants.
  • The course instructor invests heavily in guiding lab instructors and facilitating cooperation between teams.
  • The course instructor may offer suggestions to lab instructors or individual students, but without insisting on executing details in a specific way. Similarly, the course instructor listens to feedback and stays in tune with the project so that adjustments can be made to help achieve course goals.
  • The course instructor is available to help with any 2.009-related issues.
  • Lab instructors (technical managers) act to implement the course vision and facilitate their engineering team.

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Course TAs and Administrator

The course TAs and administrator assist the course instructor in preparing materials for class and for the teams. The administrator works with financial officers to process team credit card purchases and receipts for reimbursement. The course TAs are available to all students to provide advice, administrative assistance, and technical assistance.

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Lab Instructors

Each team has two faculty members or lecturers (one per section) who serve as their laboratory instructors. The lab instructors attend many lectures and all of their team's labs. During lab, students make most decisions and design and build the product prototypes. Instructors facilitate team organization; provide advice on the product specification/contract; help with risk assessment and concept selection; provide technical advice; assist with prototyping techniques; and conduct informal design reviews. One of the key roles of the lab instructor is to help a team plan, and adhere to, a product development schedule.

Lab instructors explain their thinking behind their suggestions. For example, the lab instructor will not say "do not do that because I did it once and it does not work". The instructor will instead say "you should not do that because force does not equal mass times acceleration squared". Instructors may encourage the testing of an idea using analysis or mockups to learn whether a concept is, or is not, viable, and to perhaps synthesize a new design from observations. The lab instructor should not allow students to incorrectly pursue a design on false hope.

Lab instructors also grade their lab section and team members on the basis of weekly performance in lab and their individual lab notebooks. All lab instructors grade each team on the major project milestones.

The lab instructors act like technical managers, and thus they:

  • Augment the course instructor's vision with detail (i.e., help teach the design process).
  • Help students organize their projects by helping them to select feasible design goals and create a workable schedule.
  • Act as coaches and facilitators.
  • Encourage students to create and learn, allowing them to take chances and make mistakes.
  • Allow students to have a period of discovery and invention.
  • Help the design team recognize problems and prompt for solutions.
  • Help the design team let go of dead-end ideas and refocus on workable solutions.
  • Require justification of a concept's feasibility (analyses, experiments, or supporting data), preventing the design team from unduly pursuing concepts on the basis of a wish or hunch.

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Communication Instructors

The communication instructors are from the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program and provide feedback and suggestions before and after milestones. They can also help with communications/interactions within your team and with outreach to potential users for feedback. There is a communication instructor for each team who will participate in most of your team's lab meetings and the milestone reviews. Note: 2.009 is a CI-M class, and it counts towards satisfying your communication requirement.

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Lab Staff

The lab staff members are employees of the Mechanical Engineering Department and work in the Pappalardo lab. They are available to help with advice on prototype fabrication, suggesting ways to make parts easier to fabricate, and assisting teams in the use of heavy or specialized machine equipment. The shop staff are very valuable team resources.

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Course Librarian

The course librarian, who is a specialist in resources for Course 2 students and faculty, provides tips on how to find information. The librarian prepares resources organized specifically for the course, and assists in class exercises geared towards improving information gathering skills. The course librarian is available to work with team information officers, suggesting possible sources or search methods for different types of information.

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Team Mentors

Each team has ~4 mentors. The mentors are professionals with product development experience, and/or they are 2.009 alumni. They volunteer their time to the class. They can assist with a wide variety of issues, ranging from technical details, to team organization or business models. Most mentors will meet with teams during lab, others will be able to come in when requested, and others are available through email. The mentors can be thought of as experienced advisors, as is common for startup companies.

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Meta Yoda

The meta Yoda is a coach and support mechanism for the team Yoda Officers. The meta Yoda will arrange meetings with the Yodas during the term to provide tips about techniques for promoting balance and productive engagement within the team and to assist members in reaching their full potentials. In addition to coaching, the meta Yoda will be available to help think through any challenges or questions a team Yoda may have.

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Media Coordinator

The Media Coordinator is a mentor for the team Video Log Officers. The coordinators will arrange and initial meeting with the video log officers form camera equipment disbursement and instruction, and meet with video log officers individually, on a weekly basis to collect media and provide technical and documentary narrative feedback.

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Course Sponsors

Course sponsor donations provide resources for the team budgets, general supplies for projects, shop prototyping equipment in the Pappalardo lab, staff overtime, reference materials, team office materials (fax, printer, phone, etc.), and materials used for active in-class exercises. Sponsors also participate as reviewers in the final presentation.

More details:

  • The course sponsor may be thought of as seed investors in a new product development organization. Course sponsors are often interested in recruiting graduates from the class.
  • Sponsor donations have been a key enabler for the course. This support has become essential to offering 2.009 in its current project-centric form. Without this support, the class design and activities would be significantly reduced.