Engineering Project Management 1 - Presentations

ENGR 301: 2021 Trimester 1

The purpose of an engineering presentation is to communicate complex engineering design and technical information in spoken language appropriate to the technical level of the audience and directed at increasing the audience's understanding of the delivered project. In the context of a project the audience is the client(s), and the presentations are expected to be client-specific, client-centric, relevant to their level of expertise, their needs and wants, and relevant to the weaknesses or gaps in their knowledge about the delivered project. Below is further instruction and advice on the preparation of a presentation for assessment in ENGR 301.

Slide Preparation and Submission

Preparation

There are technical restrictions on the preparation of slides Powerpoint or LaTeX with the Beamer package are recommended. Any *non-cloud* slide preparation software is also acceptable, It is recommended that presenter names are placed in the bottom right of each slide presented by that speaker. Standard fonts and aspect ratios should be used and teams should check the aspect ratio and font display of the seminar room computer when they begin preparing the slides.

The use of unapproved external services remains prohibited and any team using unapproved external services to create or communicate content will receive a 10 mark deduction for this assessment.

Submission

Slides are to be submitted by all teams prior to the presentation, by the deadline indicated in the Submission System. The submission format is either PowerPoint (pptx) or PDF. The slides will be pre-loaded on the seminar room computers prior to the presentation sessions.

Presentation

Talks per group are 15 mins max. Up to 5 mins for questions and group change over. Each person in your team needs to speak. Slides must be presented from the pre-loaded as-submitted files using either Powerpoint or Adobe PDF Reader on the seminar room computers. Live demonstrations are encouraged and use of laptops, the document viewer and other devices for demonstrations are all acceptable. Individuals and teams are recommended to investigate and practice in the seminar room prior to their presentation day.

Technical Aspects

  • Put your name in the bottom right footer of each slide.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Page aspect ratio either 4:3 or 16:9 depending on the seminar room projectors.
  • File Format: PowerPoint (pptx) or PDF.
  • Presentation: as-submitted version, from the seminar room computer using either Powerpoint or Adobe PDF Reader.
  • All teams to submit their slides through the submission system.

Sessions, Punctuality and Dress

  • Sessions are indicated in the presentation schedule.
  • Students presenting are expected to arrive at the seminar room 15 minutes prior to their session slot, i.e. 0845 for 0900 session, 1045am for 1100 session.
  • Students are expected to remain for the full duration of their session.
  • Everyone is expected to be a good audience member and support the presenters by showing interest and engagement, and doing nothing that would disturb or disrupt their delivery. This is simply a matter of enlightened self-interest: you support your classmates just as you would wish to be supported by them.
  • Presenters are strongly encouraged to dress “business casual” for the presentations. Dress is evaluated as part of the Delivery trait. Presentations may be recorded and some presentations may be live-streamed over Zoom.

Tolerance on Speaking Time

Students are expected to present once and to keep to time to within an asymmetric tolerance of -60/+30 seconds. Keeping to time is evaluated as part of Organisation. If your presentation is running ahead or behind schedule due to someone else’s talk do not adjust your delivery to compensate – you are being assessed individually.

Provision of Speaker Order

Teams are required to provide a speaker order via email to the Course Coordinator by 1700 on Thursday 3 June on the day before the presentations when you submit your slides. This is to assist with assessment and, needless to say, it is in your best interests to provide this information as early as possible.

Presentation Tips Summarised from Lectures

  • The presentation is expected to be appropriate for your project client’s needs and wants, to be effective in its purpose of knowledge transfer. Everyone should have consulted their client about content and this consultation should have been a dialogue.
  • Keep in mind that your client is the primary audience, even though the wider audience may comprise clients, university staff, potential clients for next year, and even other interested parties. The level of explanation you give and the language you use is expected to be at the level of technical detail and language that is appropriate to your client.
  • The focus is on the technical and non-technical aspects of the project deliverables, at a level appropriate to the client.
  • The focus is on your technical achievement of the project deliverables, and the management of the project.
  • Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Tell the client what works, how it works and how the client can make it keep working. The client doesn’t need (or care) to hear how hard you found the journey.
  • Every speaker should explain their main technical achievements and how this fits within the overall project.

Common Pitfalls

The following do not achieve well against the marking schedule:

  • A presentation communicating general aspects of the project for a general audience with no familiarity with the project, which would be obvious or irrelevant to the client.
  • Presentations which repeat basic information that has already been provided to, or sometimes by, the clients. For example, a 7-minute repetition of the client's description of the project.
  • Showing code, circuit schematics or UML diagrams where the text on the diagrams is too small to be read.
  • Delivering a 7-minute university-style lecture whose primary purpose appears to be demonstrating the presenter's command of some-or-other arcane technical aspect. The technical aspect is largely irrelevant because it's not part of the delivered project.

Helpful Resources

All the same resources referred to for earlier presentations, including the ENGR 301 Talis Page Written and Oral Communication Skills section. A couple of helpful YouTube videos are:

and there is a large number of other videos on YouTube giving advice, but also examples of good and bad presentations.