Posted by Alexis Mallory on 5/12/2016

Final Project Design Briefs:  Design Challenges

Ethics is a complex word. When you hear it used, sometimes you are not really sure what it means.
The word is often used in several different ways. Ethics is generally defined as the study of morals,
which is the study of what is right and wrong or beneficial or harmful to others. In the field of
engineering and science, it is a very important concept that is considered in the daily workings of engineers and scientists.


The codes of professional engineers and scientists vary widely within different professional societies.
Many professional societies maintain a set of codes, such as the American Institute of Chemists,
the American Mathematical Society, the Association of Computer Machinery, and the American
Council of Engineering Companies.


These codes of conduct or ethical guidelines are used to govern the practices of the engineers,
engineering technicians, scientists, and mathematicians. Sometimes the codes are extensive
and may even result in persons losing their advanced degree if they are found to plagiarize work.
You may be surprised to learn that there is also a set of codes for student organizations that
includes a Hippocratic oath for scientists, engineers, and executives.


The following Internet sites may prove helpful to you in your research:


TEAM NORMS _ Introduction

When you walk into a library, how are you supposed to behave? What do you say when you answer a telephone or end a phone call? If you want to ask the teacher a question in the middle of a lecture, what do you do? All of these scenarios should bring about similar, if not identical, responses from everyone in the class. Each of these scenarios would result in a behavioral response that follows guidelines, protocols, or rules of acceptable behavior, also known as norms. Norms regulate proper and acceptable behavior by and among individuals.

Teams develop and agree upon norms through consensus to ensure efficiency and to avoid potential conflicts. Acceptable and preferred communication protocols, decision-making rules, and methods of conflict resolution are only a few examples of team norms.



  • Engineering notebook
  • Computer
  • Access to a fax machine, or scanner and email
  • MicrosoftÒ Word



In this activity you and your teammate will formulate team norms that will serve to guide your actions throughout your design challenge.

Using email, instant message, web cam, telephone, or some other means of appropriate communication, you and your virtual teammate will brainstorm ideas for team norms that address the following topics one at a time. Use your engineering notebook as a repository for your ideas.

  • Code of conduct
  • Standard communication method(s)
  • Frequency of communication
  • File management structure
  • File revision management
  • Process for making design decisions
  • Process for dealing with differences of opinion and conflict


Analyze the ideas for each topic and discuss their impact on the team and the overall goal.


Identify key norms that you and your teammate can come to consensus on and finalize them as formal statements in your engineering notebook.


Establish consequences for each norm should they be broken by either teammate. Write these consequences after each norm in your engineering notebook.


In your engineering notebook, create a project timeline in the form of a Gantt chart. The Gantt chart will reflect all of the phases of the design process that you are using to guide your efforts in the design challenge.


Using MicrosoftÒ Word, recreate the design brief for your design challenge. Construct the Gantt chart using the draw tools. On the second page, list the team norms and violation consequences that you and your teammate have agreed to. At the bottom of the second page, you will include three sentences for teammate and teacher signatures. The first two sentences are to be signed by the teammates. The last sentence is to be signed by both students’ teachers after they have reviewed your document.

  • Read, understood, and agreed to by ________________ on ___________.
  • Read, understood, and agreed to by ________________ on ___________.
  • Accepted by _________________ and __________________.


Have one teammate print out the document, sign it in the appropriate spot, and pass the document off to his/her teacher for a signature. The document will then be sent to the other school to be signed and dated by the other teammate and teacher. Finally, the document will be delivered back to its origin point. Both you and your partner will keep one signed copy that you will affix within your engineering notebook. Each teacher will receive a copy for his or her records.



1. What are team norms?

2. Why do teams establish norms?

3. What is consensus?

4. Why is consensus important in the development of team norms?

5. What is the purpose of a Gantt chart?