l. Gather Information
This step is listed first because it usually occurs with each of the other steps in the decision making process. This information may be gathered from a variety of sources; your own background and experience, books, other printed materials, on-line data bases, media, other people, instructors, experts, public relations specialists, sales people, experimental work.
2. Recognize a Problem
Recognition of a human need is the stimulus to engineering design. A working engineer might be assigned a problem after the company conducts an extensive market survey; in response to an RFP; as a sub-component of a larger problem the company is working on; or see's a problem and convinces the company to pursue it. The ultimate goal, to satisfy this need, should be stated in one sentence without any implication of its means of achievement.
3. State the Basic Objective or Goal
The basic objective focuses your thoughts on the problem to be solved. It should be broad enough so no reasonable solution is eliminated.
4. State the Constraints, Assumptions and Facts
Constraints are factors which affect the outcome of the project and cannot be changed. Assumptions are applied to factors which can be changed to simplify the problem and make it solvable. Facts are statements of things that are known.
5. Generate Possible Solutions
This is the time for creative thinking. Don't prejudge ideas as they are generated; get all the different thoughts you can.
6. Evaluate and Make a Decision
Determine which possible solution is most likely to solve the problem.
Combine the elements to create a detailed solution.
9. Evaluate the Solution
Does it satisfy the basic objective; is it feasible, practical, economical, safe, legal and moral?
10. Communicate the Design and Make Recommendations
Submit a report and presentation to those in a position to decide whether or not to proceed with your project. Get feedback. Make changes if necessary. If no go, better luck next time. If go, proceed with design.