Design Proposal and Rationale




For any set of requirements, students generate a design proposal rationale that includes a UML class diagram. The rubric evaluates how the students model the requirements and how they justify their design decisions and how the design meets the requirements.  The objectives of this assignment are (1) to articulate a class diagram for an object-oriented system and (2) justify the decisions as modeled by the class diagram.

Prereqs: Students are expected to know advanced OO concepts like composition and inheritance.  Additionally, students should be able to model an OO system using UML and should be familiar with design patterns, such as state, strategy, singleton, MVC.

The team size is flexible.  

Any set of requirements could be used with this assignment.   For a CS 2 class, the requirements usually consist of 3-4 use cases and the class diagram is typically 3-7 classes with a minimum of one inheritance and composition relationship.

This assignment is has been used as a deliverable in a larger programming assignment that spans multiple iterations.  Students turn in a design document or proposal as part of an Iteration 0 along with a black box test plan.  For an example of how the assignment has been used, please see the Somewhat Simplified Solitaire project.  Please note that the project uses an older version of this assignment.  


Sarah Heckman, Ed Gehringer


design proposal, UML diagram

Assignment Duration

One Week

Communication Skill

writing, teaming, reading

Technical Skill


Workplace Scenario

A customer has provided your management team with a set of requirements. Your manager has requested that you and your co-workers each propose a design for the static layout of the system by identifying the objects, their state and behavior, and the relationships between the objects in the system. Your manager will then choose a design that best describes the requirements for implementation.

Team Size




Sarah Heckman, Ed Gehringer, “Design Proposal and Rationale,” Incorporating Communication Outcomes into the Computer Science Curriculum, accessed September 21, 2017, http://cs-comm.lib.muohio.edu/items/show/38.


Creative Commons License

File: DesignProposal.pdf

File: DesignProposal_Template.doc


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