Final Report

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The purpose of this page is to share information about how to write a project report. There is a standard, canonical form used in most of the engineering world, and the basic overview of this form is shown below.


Contents

Letter of Transmittal

The Letter of Transmittal is a letter sent to your project sponsor, on your official letterhead, that tells the project sponsor what the report you are sending them is about. It should also remind them of your next deadline, so they can be anticipating their next interaction with you.

An example of the layout for a letter of transittal can be found on the ME 406 website under writing. BROKEN LINK ----> http://www.mme.wsu.edu/~me406/writing.htm <---- BROKEN LINK

Title Page

More or less self explanatory, the title page should contain the name of your project, the names of the project members, and the name of the company sponsoring the project.

Executive Summary

This is what the "executive" or lead engineer will look at when he/she is handed the report. As such it must remind the reader of the basics of the project, and then fill them in on the current status. This summary is divided into two paragraphs. It should be kept to one page for easy copying.

1) Boilerplate Paragraph The boilerplate paragraph is a bare-bones summary of the report. For example, if the most recent stage of your project was generating concepts, your most promising or final concept should be outlined here (not too much detail). Specifics of the project should be used (who, what when, where, why, how), that are always repeated.

2) Past, Present, Future Paragraph This paragraph should be a quick history of your project - where you've been, what you are currently doing, and what you plan on doing shortly. If you have already written one spec for your project, the "past" part will be something that you have already told the company you have done or were about to do. The purpose of this is so that the executive is reminded of the remarkable amount of progress you have made so far. Obviously, the "present" part should be a short description of what you are doing when you are NOT writing specs. Remember not to make the "future" section unrealistic; never lie to the company about what you think you can accomplish, as they will be upset (and therefore not likely to hire you) when they find out you did not deliver as hoped.

Introduction

A typical introduction for a spec is not quite the same as an introduction you might write for a research paper. The intro here should have a few sentences about who the company is and what they do. Then you should outline the project (perhaps use the project description the company has given you). The intro will be essentially the "story of the project", and should end up being 1.5 - 2 pages, preferably with some pictures or diagrams, and should provide a seamless lead-in to the results and discussion section. In initial specs, the intro probably will not be as long, but you should try to at least produce a page of coherent thought.

Results / Discussion

The first part of your results should be an explanation of the design, with pictures/drawings or references to them in the appendix. Any testing results should be included with an explanation of how they affected the design. How the design satisfied the requirements of the project should also be included. Once you have a final definition of your project, your results and discussion should clearly be a complete and coherent description of your final thoughts.


Your results portion of your final report should include the following:


  • Explanation of the design.
  • Testing results and how they affected the design.
  • How the design satisfied established metrics.
  • If some metrics were not satisfied, explain why.


"Product Design and Development" (see references below) is a very useful book for understanding the basics of creating and optimizing these tables, along with a lot of other relevant information.


Conclusion / Next Steps

This will be very similar to your executive summary, but probably in more detail. The focus should be on what you are going to do next in your project, and some relation should be shown between your most important results and your new direction. Don't make this section too long - remember, if the reader wants more detail, he can go back to the results/discussion section.

Appendices / Schedule

Appendices contain all the supplementary and supporting documentation regarding your project. If you surf a webpage and it adds a piece of information to the pile, archive it on your computer, or print out a copy to include in a report. This includes all pertinent research. Most of the table and charts will be placed in the Appendices. Also include installation/manufacturing procedures, troubleshooting procedures, and any necessary drawings.


The House of Quality should be included in the appendix with accomplished metrics shown.

Your group should aim for completing the final report before the presentation. This way the sponsor will have a good understanding of your project before you present your process and results.

References

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