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Mid-Project Review

A formal project reviews occurs at the end of the Fall semester. This is a major presentation, typically done on-site at the company. Treat this as a serious events and a chance to show off what you have done. The audience should include all the course faculty, as many people from the company that you can convince to attend, including the heads of whatever division you are working for, and any external stakeholders cleared by the company.

Plan for a 60 minute slot with about 30 minutes of you talking and 30 minutes for discussion. Unlike academic presentations, the discussion is the most important part of a business presentation. You are asking important people to spend 60 minutes with you and therefore must be sure their voices are heard.

The Fall semester presentation should present progress and where the team is headed for the second half of the development effort. This presentation usually has the effect of showing the company that this is a serious project and a serious team worth paying attention to. That's why it is important that company execs attend.

Content for the Mid-Project Review

While the specifics of your 30-minute presentation are up to you, your company contact and your faculty coach, here is a suggestion for what to cover.

Open by introducing the team, your company contact and your faculty coach. Title slide could have a rendering of your future product

Spend the first part of the talk introducing the product opportunity. Overview the context for the project (e.g. disease state for medical products). Specifically, state the needs that you discovered and describe the voice of the customer research you conducted that informs your needs statements. Essentially, you are describing the problem you are trying to solve.

Spend the next part of your talk on an overview of market and market size. Include a description of the target market and credible numbers on size of the market. For example for a product that goes into a hospital OR, you should know how many ORs are in the U.S. This section is data driven with credible numbers from reliable sources. This is where you must impress the audience with how the market is significant.

The next part describes the concepts you came up with to solve the customer need. By the time of the mid-project review, you should have two to four credible product concepts. Create high-quality product renderings show the product in use. Or find other ways that you can clearly describe the concepts. Generally,all concepts should be presented with equal importance, unless you already know which path to take, in which case you can just present one concept. This is where you get the audience excited about the technology.

The next part is an analysis of the business case that explains how the company makes money on the project. This will necessarily be rough as you have yet to uncover fiscal details such as cost of goods sold. The goal of this section is to convince the audience that money can be made.

The final part describes what happens next and the major activities the team will undertake between January and May.


If you can, also cover these topics
  1. What products compete with yours.
  2. A review of idea protection, including whether prior art patents provide freedom to operate and whether future patents on your product will have claims that will provide protection from the competition, current and future.

Think of the presentation as a business pitch. Review your notes and the lecture notes from the Fall semester lecture on how to give a business pitch.

Do not spend any time talking about the course or what you learned from the course as that is assumed. Instead focus on doing an impressive and professional pitch for your product.

Use your *best* presenters. There is no need for everyone to present.

Logistics and planning

Assign a party-planner who will take care of scheduling the presentation, sending invitations (with an RSVP) to all appropriate project stakeholders, and arranging for food. Target 10-20 audience members in addition to the project team.

Schedule a one hour time slot for the review. In scheduling the review, you must work around the other teams. Those who schedule first get first choice of times. Reviews are held during exam period. Schedule at least one month in advance.

**Important** Email the course webmaster with time, date and place of your presentation. Presentations must not overlap and those who schedule first get the best choices. Your requested start time cannot be any less than 2 hours before or after the start of a previously scheduled review. The course schedule on the web will always have the most current information on project review scheduling. A project review is not "officially scheduled" until you see it posted on the web.

Suggestion: Find a one hour slot during exam week that is compatible with company execs and liaisons. Have your liaison make sure the execs are there. Check on the web that the time doesn't conflict with project reviews scheduled by other teams (allow for travel time if other reviews are on the same day), then e-mail the course webmaster with the time, place and driving directions. Hint: early morning slots tend to get many attendees because few have excuses.

Practice your presentation and familiarize yourself with electronic projection equipment in the room you will be using. Be professional. Have your splash screen or title slide up and running as the audience arrives. Nothing worse than spending the first five minutes of your presentation wondering why your laptop isn't compatible with the data projector.

Make copies of overheads for each member of the audience. Paper copies of the mid-project or final report need only go to key stakeholders, but should be available at the presentation.

Impress the company!