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Unread 12-07-2018, 03:31 PM
jdaming jdaming is offline
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Build Season Scheduling Results / Lessons Learned

I am trying to improve our build season scheduling next year. In order to provide a proposed schedule I would like to compile a variety of different teams initial build season schedules and actual schedule data.

So if you don't mind can you lay out:
  • Build Season Initial schedule
  • Build Season Actual schedule
  • Scheduling related Lessons Learned (e.g. we always take longer than budgeted for prototyping)

This doesn't necessarily have to be for last year but it may be easier to compare apples to apples if they are. Examples of things I would like to be able to get as takeaways (I am making these up I have no idea if true):
90% of teams didn't have their drivetrain built until the end of week 2
50% of teams were making major modifications right up until bag day
"Top" teams schedule to have their robot done by the end of week 4 and almost always have it done by the end of week 5
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Unread 12-08-2018, 01:40 PM
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Re: Build Season Scheduling Results / Lessons Learned

A big thing our team has taken to heart is the training that team #1678 has offered. https://www.youtube.com/user/citruscircuits/videos
They lay out FRC training in a way that makes it easy to understand and practical to implement.

Some key takeaways from them,
-Settle on a West Coast Drive before kickoff (Kit bot is even better)
-Familiarize yourself with the rules quickly
-Accelerate your build schedule (Plan for projects to be done early, and push students to meet these early deadlines, because if you meet them your drivers will get more practice, and if not, you will be on time)
-Once you prototype an the team agrees on what is being built, stick with it (no tangent projects) unless it does not work/needs to be modified

Some major ideas I like to implement with my team,
-Stay organized with a schedule of who is doing what, and when
-Chain of command, project manager meets will all the sub-team managers and they figure out how and when everything is to be done so you have a schedule

As far as an actual schedule goes, ours varies slightly but we have a few things that hold true.

Week 1:
We use the kit bot and have it assembled that weekend (Picking the best fitting size for that specific game)
Prototyping (Ri3D teams are amazing sources to get ideas)
Programming team gets the drive base to start their work and test the basic drive code
This is the week where our managers decide the schedule and game plan out the next 2-3 weeks

Week 2-4:
Fabrication
We have a practice bot that our programming and electrical team members will collaborate on to get a mock up for the wiring and auto code established.
The coding transfer is simple (relatively speaking), and the wiring should be identical to what will be on the competition bot.

Week 4-5:
Test, break, re-fabricate.
Test it, and if it doesn't work or doesn't work well, scrap it.
Test it, if it seems like it has the potential to break, push it, and then when it breaks, build it better.
This is where the drive team and mechanical team work together to get all the kinks worked out and everything dialed in.

Week 6:
Practice. Practice. Practice.

Post Build Season:
Use the practice bot to improve upon mechanisms in any way, shape or form possible.

Anything not specifically related to building the robot, feel free to DM me for more info. Good Luck!
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Unread 12-08-2018, 04:27 PM
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Re: Build Season Scheduling Results / Lessons Learned

Our team uses a Gantt Chart to lay out our season. It goes something like this:
Week 1:
Breakdown the game, design the bot, and prototype. Basically, have your robot be designed by the end of week 1.

Week 2: Prototype subsystems (intake, shooter/whatever) and build drivetrain. Have a solid plan done by the end of week 2.

Week 3/4: Build subsytems and do any electronic/pneumatic wiring and work that needs to be done. Finalize practice bot so programming can do some auto testing and design.

Week 5: Test, break, then build it better. Finalize tele-op and auto.

Week 6: Practice. Touch-up on programming.

Usually we stick pretty close to this, but sometimes the week 6 practice gets cut a little short, but we have a practice bot that we can use. I think this system is great because we have flexibility in case something unexpected happens, and we can stay on top of things by knowing what we need to do.
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Unread 12-08-2018, 05:25 PM
jdaming jdaming is offline
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Re: Build Season Scheduling Results / Lessons Learned

I have seen those videos and they are great. I think it is a little over zealous to keep a schedule quite like they do, but it is something to shoot for.

So you both would say that you were pretty good at sticking to your schedule? Any tips or strategies on how you consistently manage to do that? What happens if you get behind, do you cut subsystems?

I think many times teams I have been on have had a schedule similar to those but both the prototyping and the "build" seem to always take almost a week longer than scheduled.
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Unread 12-10-2018, 12:44 PM
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Re: Build Season Scheduling Results / Lessons Learned

Here is what we try to do on 1014.
Week 1:
(A)2-3 days to finalize our strategy and our design hierarchy. This hierarchy prioritizes what capabilities take priority when there are design conflicts. For example last year we prioritized (1) being able to pick up cubes anywhere (2) robust drive train that is simple to maintain (3) be able to score anywhere (4) autonomous scoring in the scale or switch.
(B) The rest of the week to settle on a basic robot design

Week 2:
Get a practice chassis operating for the programming team to use. Design and build the main robot chassis. Prototyping of devices. This is usually the make or break week for us. When we stick to the plan we are usually not too pressed for time. When we don't the end of build season is a lot more stressful.

Weeks 3-4:
Complete "competition chassis" and get all the prototype devices mounted. The quotation marks are because generally the robot we have here ends up as the practice robot unless we have a lot of problems. So we can tweak all the designs (and carefully maintain CAD files) as we test.

Week 5:
Sometime generally toward the end of week 5 we will fabricate the final chassis and devices for the competition robot. Generally we end up wiring it on the second to last Saturday of build season. At this point we have a fully functional approximation of the final robot (minus the tweaks we have made) that we can continue to practice with.

Week 6:
Start practicing with the actual final competition robot. Generally the copy of the final robot (assuming everything is going more or less according to plan) spends all its time this week with the programmers. At this point we will spend a fair amount of time commuting to the practice field at the PAST Foundation (about a 20 minute drive) to practice driving.
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