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Unread 07-26-2012, 01:13 AM
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Levansic Levansic is offline
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AKA: Len Evansic
FRC #0585 (Cyber Penguins)
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Rookie Year: 2008
Location: Tehachapi, CA
Posts: 214
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Re: Team Documentation Best Practicesci

After I posted, I gave a little more thought. I'm guessing that you are really asking for a guide for gathering info and distilling into a Chairman's presentation. Many students and teams focus on the limitations in word count, etc, when they really need to focus on telling their story effectively.

Our team, from inception to four years ago, attempted to jam everything and the kitchen sink into the word count limit. The essays were unbearable to read, and sounded transparently implausible. For the most part, they were. The essays and presentations contained way too much recycled from the "history" of the club, without disclosing that many items happened many years before. Winning a Chairman's award was an all-consuming obsession for many of the adults tied to the club, almost like Gollum trying to recapture the ring. To that end, anything in the vicinity of the club seemed to be fair game for inclusion. Unlike Gollem, they never possessed their obsession.

Four years ago, we had a sea change in adult participation. We banished any talk about what would look good in Chairman's presentations, and essentially threw away our history, save for the barest facts of the club's founding.

Our new advisor held high standards for outreach, and incentivized participation. Soon, a new culture took hold. We no longer track laundry lists of questionable past "impacts", but instead talk about a small framework of guiding principles of our club. When we talk to judges, the principles are pushed, and individual outreach events are cited as examples that support the selected principle.

The principles are an abstract that tells an overarching story. The events are details that color the picture. We still track and document everything, but so does everyone else. Our principles anchor our action; they are the foundation and framing to hold up our outreach events.

I don't know if this helps, but stepping away from the requirement list for Chairman's has helped us to focus and be more coherent. We were blessed to win two RCA's in the last three years. I humbly argue that we must be doing something right.

Our website has not been updated recently. Our next update, hopefully in August, should have more about what i wrote above.

-- Len

Last edited by Levansic : 07-26-2012 at 01:21 PM.
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