Reflection 3 - Project Management Lifecycle – Phase III
Phase III - Project Execution And Control
Thanks for stopping by! My name is Patrobas Adewumi and I have the privilege and honour of being the project leader for team Delta in our third year Engineering project – Pulse
This is the third of the reflection series where I will be sharing my experiences; lessons learned and project progress. Please enjoy!
When it comes to project management cycle, execution and control just may be the most important of the five steps in that it ensures project activities are properly executed and controlled. During the Execution and Control phases, the planned solution is implemented to solve the problem specified in the project's requirements. In the case of our project - Pulse, a design resulting in a specific set of product requirements was created to ensure a timely and professional delivery of the final product. Prototyping, testing, and reviews of our product design helps to measure and establish the convergence of the different development stages in our project.
As the Execution and Control phase progresses, I find that groups across the project become more deeply involved in planning for the final testing, merging all parts of the project together and overall production. This as has been the major motivation for us as a team to keep pushing towards the end goal. A characteristic trend in any project development is the setback that may occur due to unexpected events. In our case, it has been mostly due to the parts. There have been at least two cases where the parts we ordered for are not what we got. This brought upon us a challenge that does not necessarily align with our project goals or expectation. In the case of our LED matrix, we were provided with a very different product than we ordered and require more circuitry and programming skills to get the part working and blended with our initial product design.
Below is a rough sketch of the proposed circuit by Che to enable our dynamo to effectively transfer the energy from mechanical to electrical by regulating the voltage in the circuit
This design uses a zener diode with breakdown of 5V. Therefore any voltages higher than 5V will cause a breakdown and allow large amount of current to flow.
Updating Schedule Progress
It feels like for every huge step taken forward in the project, two smaller steps are taken backwards. And this can sometimes be frustrating, however, we are still able to deliver the project on schedule. This is only possible because we have been very successful with other aspects of our project completing tasks and preparing the parts for merging to form the final product.
We have meticulously monitored our progress in the project and made necessary adjustment and changes needed to ensure that we continue to advance in our work. One major step towards this, hopefully, gleeful ending is completing the programming of our pulse sensor and getting it ready to be hooked to the final product. Looking back on our progress and quantifying the skills and contribution of each members, we decided to come up with another development in the team to allow for maximum productivity. We split the team into two smaller teams. Such that the one team is comprised of Joanna, Andrew and me, while the other team is comprised of Althaf, Ahmed and Zihao (aka Jimi Hendrix).
In my smaller team, we are focusing on getting the dynamo to work so we can transfer the mechanical energy from cycling the bicycle to electric. While the other team is working towards designing a new circuit for the LED matrix to ensure it can function as intended and properly installed at the rear of the bicycle.
We made sure to seek every available resource to understand what kind of circuit design is needed to ensure a functional dynamo. And with the help from the head TA, Che, we have made some significant progress in getting the exact parts needed to build the fairly complex circuit.
In the new circuit design for our dynamo as suggested by Che, we will be building a rectifier circuit. A rectifier is an electrical device that converts AC to DC. AC regularly reverses direction, while DC flows in one direction only. Rectification produces a type of DC that encompasses active voltages and currents, which are then adjusted into a type of constant voltage DC, although this varies depending on the current's end use. The current is allowed to flow uninterrupted in one direction, and no current is allowed to flow in the opposite direction.
Adding a Zener diode with breakdown voltage of around 5 V gives the ideal voltage regulator needed to transfer the energy to our gadgets as needed
Circuit By Che
Challenges And Successes
It is virtually implausible to not face any challenges in any given project. Since the last reflection (Reflection II), we have encountered few but significant challenges in the project. Especially with getting undesired but applicable parts for certain functions in our project. In this case the 8x8 LED matrices provided to use was different than what we had ordered in that it came without a circuitry for its MAX7219 driver. The MAX7219 driver is useful for regulating the amount of current flowing into the LED to ensure they lit but not blow up or become non-functional.
Additionally, it is useful in controlling each individual LED matrix and therefore makes it easy to program displays tray suit the functions or our project.
In spite of the misfortunes, we have been able to make progress designing the required circuit to drive the two 8x8 LED matrices for our project. We successfully designed and tested the code required to run the LED matrices. This was a major win for us and it brings us closer to our final product.
Moving forward, we need to implement the circuit design for the dynamo, test it and preparer it for our final product. Once this step is concluded, we would need to do some testing and verification for all parts and then install them on the final product for presentation.
Insights And Lessons Learned
(Since Reflection II)
The image above shows our semi-functional regulator and rectifier circuit for converting AC to DC from the bicycle wheels
Since the previous reflection, I have learned more about project development lifecycle in the areas of project execution and control, and how it affects the timeline of projects and deliverables. A major lesson learned in the last two weeks on the topic of execution and control is how dynamic and malleable any given project can be. With the knowledge of this ungodly fact, I feel like I am more informed and somewhat more prepared to tackle such events in the future, whether in this project or any other projects I may be working on. It also helped to highlight and exude the strength we have as a team to quickly find solutions to impending challenges as they occur while simultaneously improving on the work we being done at that moment in time
Another major lessons I have learned since my last reflection is that I may not be able to always control my circumstances but I am responsible for how I manage such situations and the results therein.
Even more importantly, I do not have to worry about the problem alone since I have a team of dedicated and impassioned engineers to solve the problems with.