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Can agile methods enhance mechatronics education?: Experiences from basing a capstone course on Scrum
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Mechatronics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3699-5049
2012 (English)In: ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings: 2012, 14p, 2012Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In 2011, an experiment was undertaken at KTH Royal Institute of Technology to introduce agile methods for product development into a mechatronics capstone course. This paper describes the method used, Scrum, and the context of the studied mechatronics capstone course. Mechatronics is here defined as "synergistic integration" of electronics, mechanical engineering, control and software engineering. Mechatronics product development, in this context, therefore deals with the development of complex and intelligent products, which implies multi-disciplinary work and the use of models etc. from several domains and areas. With the integration of Scrum into the mechatronics capstone course, an educational favorable alternative is identified, to previously used design methodologies such as more traditional stage-gate methods as the Waterfall or method or the V-model. This is due to the emphasis on early prototyping, quick feedback and incremental development. It still might not be the favorable method for use in large scale industrial development projects where formal procedures might still be preferred, but the pedagogical advantages in mechatronics education are valuable. Incremental development and rapid prototyping for example gives many opportunities to reflect and improve. The Scrum focus on self-organizing teams also provides a platform to practice project organization, by empowering students to take responsibility for the product development process. Among the results of this study, it is shown that it is possible and favorable to integrate Scrum in a mechatronics capstone course and that this can enhance student preparation for a future career as mechatronics product developers. It is also shown that this prepares the students with a larger flexibility to handle the increased complexity in mechatronics product development and thereby enabling the project teams to deliver results faster, more reliable and with higher quality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Curricula, Education computing, Engineering education, Exhibitions, Rapid prototyping, Software engineering, Speech recognition, Teaching
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-101350ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84864992509ISBN: 978-087823241-3OAI: diva2:549364
119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition; San Antonio, TX; 10 June 2012 through 13 June 2012

QC 20120904

Available from: 2012-09-04 Created: 2012-08-27 Last updated: 2013-10-15Bibliographically approved

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