The course spans over a full year and the prerequisite is to have finished the first two years of the education. This means that most of the students only have basic knowledge of the program they are participating in and they have mostly been involved in courses with very little possibility to influence the actual outcome of the course by them self.
The course is divided into four blocks as you can see from the picture above.
The lectures focus on giving the students a background to models for product development and project management. Questions like: How do I plan a project? How do I write a project plan and how do I present it? In addition much focus is spent on the importance of different background and personalities in a team. It is not the specialist, innovator or the shaper only who makes a project successful! The students are together establishing an estimation of their respectively strong sides (and with that their weak sides). This is normally very much appreciated. Also the non-obvious aspects (for an engineer) on product development are elucidated, e.g. production, logistics, environmental, economy etc... This specific part is normally given by invited lectures, mainly from industry.
To further understand the concepts learnt in the course the students are encouraged to do own research of companies in their field and discuss at seminars. The seminars are followed by company visits. The lessons learnt are discussed at seminars and also presented as reports.
Finally the students are divided into groups according to their personal profiles and assigned to present a product development plan for a hypothetical industrial product development project. The students have to take their own responsibility regarding project management and milestones. The project progress is reported at so called "toll gate" seminars. Usually the students plan their own set-up with company name and history. At a final seminar the project groups present a product development plan to each other and the other students represents a steering committee and asks questions regarding strategy, costs, development track etc...
If you´d like to learn more about this project, contact the author by mail Hakan.Engqvist@angstrom.uu.se