Project Manager: The project manager is the lead person responsible for ensuring the successful completion of the capstone project. Their primary roles and responsibilities include:
Creating and maintaining a clear project plan and timeline that outlines all the key deliverables, milestones, resources required, budget if applicable, and project schedule. This involves breaking down the overall project into individual tasks with assigned start and end dates.
Effectively communicating the project plan and any updates to all stakeholders involved such as team members, faculty advisors, partners/clients etc. This involves holding regular status meetings to keep everyone informed and on track.
Managing the scope, budget, quality, human resources and overall change requests for the project. Part of this involves working with the team and stakeholders to finalize requirements and ensure expectations are managed throughout.
Assigning specific tasks and roles to team members based on their abilities and scheduling to ensure work is evenly distributed. This involves maintaining accountability and monitoring progress on all assignments.
Identifying and mitigating any potential risks that could jeopardize the successful completion of the project. Risk management requires continuous assessment and implementing of backup plans when needed.
Resolving conflicts or issues within the team or with outside stakeholders. As the team leader, the PM facilitates open communication and consensus building.
Preparing and presenting the final project results documentation and deliverables. This includes final reports, demonstrations, presentations that showcase if the project goals were achieved.
Collecting feedback and lessons learned to improve future project management capabilities. The PM leads a retrospective to evaluate what went well and identify process enhancements.
Faculty Advisor: The faculty advisor acts as a mentor and guide for the student capstone team. Their main duties include:
Helping the team properly define the overall project scope and goals based on learning outcomes and course requirements. This entails ensuring projects are sufficiently complex yet feasible.
Providing guidance on effective project management practices, problem solving approaches, research methods, documentation standards and overall quality expectations.
Assisting the team with sourcing appropriate resources, equipment or expertise needed that are beyond student capabilities. Connecting teams to industry mentors is also common.
Holding regular check-ins with the project manager to review status, address any challenges, and answer technical questions the team faces. Advisors offer an outside perspective.
Facilitating collaboration when conflicts arise and helping teams course correct when off track. Advisors draw on experience to get projects back on pace.
Reviewing and approving significant project deliverables and documentation like proposals, status reports, design specifications and final presentation materials.
Assessing the learning and skills gained throughout the process through evaluation of artifacts, presentations, and informal conversations. Advisors provide summative feedback.
Helping secure funding, facilities access, partners/participants when needed that require institutional permissions. Advisors leverage professional networks.
Celebrating accomplishments at completion and facilitating the transition of successful projects to be implemented in “the real world”.
Client Representative: When the capstone involves working with an external partner/client, one of their staff typically fulfills this role. Their duties include:
Providing important context on the target user/customer needs the project aims to satisfy through concrete requirements, constraints and goals.
Sharing organizational priorities and guidelines the project work should align with such as brand standards, policies, regulatory factors.
Offering subject matter expertise through knowledge sharing sessions and answering technical questions from the student team.
Regularly reviewing work-in-progress and deliverables to ensure the end solution will actually benefit the client and addressing any concerns early.
Facilitating access to necessary resources the client can provide like data, equipment use, facilities access that are fundamental to the project.
Promoting the student work within their own organization and championing for potential implementation if outcomes are deemed successful.
Judging the final results from an end-user viewpoint and providing perspective on real world feasibility, adoption challenges, and overall value to their operations.
Maintaining open client communication with both students and advisors throughout the process to manage expectations on scope, priorities and timelines.
This covers some of the extended details around common capstone project roles seen such as project manager, faculty advisor and client representative that often guide larger student teams towards successful completion of complex work. Let me know if any part of the answer requires further elaboration or clarification.