This paper proposes the use of a design structure matrix/work transformation matrix (DSM/WTM)-based methodology in academic settings to serve engineering educators as a facilitating tool for predetermining the difficulty and feasibility of design engineering projects they assign, given both the time constraints of the academic term and the expected skill level of the respective learners. By using a third-year engineering design project as a case study, engineering students actively participated in this comprehensive use of DSM methodologies. The engineering design process has been thoroughly analyzed to determine convergence characteristics based on the eigenvalues of the system followed by a sensitivity analysis on the originally determined DSM based on data provided by students in terms of task durations and number of iterations for each task. Finally, an investigation of the design process convergence due to unexpected events or random disturbances has been conducted. The obtained predictive model of the design process was compared to the actual dynamics of the project as experienced by the students and the effect of random disturbances at any point in the design process has thereby been evaluated.

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