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Unread 02-25-2006, 09:14 PM
lukevanoort lukevanoort is offline
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Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

How do you tell someone that the project they've been working on is unusable? We have a kid who works on PR and ia attempting to make a website (it is our fallback site). However, his site is completely inappropriate and unusable, how do I tell him this nicely? This site in question is here . (I uploaded it so you'd know what I was talking about however, the pictures aren't showing up (I suspect bad code))
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Unread 02-25-2006, 09:19 PM
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

You just have to tell them. When you have a personality of telling people everything straight up just because its a fact... and they know its all because you are in service of a true fact, they will understand and like you regardless. At least thats how we run on team 25. We are open about our feelings and state the facts as they are. You can tell them how you really like their initiative but the site cannot be used because of a, b, c.
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Unread 02-25-2006, 09:22 PM
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

Be upfront about it. Don't sugarcoat it too much, but don't drop him flat on his backside.

I'd try something like "Jimmy, I really don't think the web site is working out--our main site is functioning well enough, and we could really use an extra set of hands on our blahblahblah. Would you mind helping out there?"

Of course, YMMV.
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Unread 02-25-2006, 09:30 PM
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lukevanoort
How do you tell someone that the project they've been working on is unusable? We have a kid who works on PR and ia attempting to make a website (it is our fallback site). However, his site is completely inappropriate and unusable, how do I tell him this nicely? This site in question is here . (I uploaded it so you'd know what I was talking about however, the pictures aren't showing up (I suspect bad code))
Is there a mentor watching what this kid is doing? That website is way off base and totally misses the mesage of FIRST and this kid needs a good talking to. Or at least be not be left alone to do as he pleases.
Our kids designed some buttons for this year's theme K.I.S.S. I.T.
One said : Kiss Me! I'm an X-Cat! The teachers couln't squash it fast enough, They thought it gave a very inappropriate message andwith such a girl heavy team could be problems at events (we also designed an Easy button that got squashed because of fear of copyright infringment). Use the mentor to lay down the law. They're not there to be your friends they're there to keep the kids focused on the job at hand.



hmmm. This thread should be in the general forum where it can be seen.
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Unread 02-25-2006, 10:05 PM
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lukevanoort
How do you tell someone that the project they've been working on is unusable? We have a kid who works on PR and ia attempting to make a website (it is our fallback site). However, his site is completely inappropriate and unusable, how do I tell him this nicely? This site in question is here . (I uploaded it so you'd know what I was talking about however, the pictures aren't showing up (I suspect bad code))
sigh. One of the hardest things to do in a leadership position.

The basic formula is SBI: Situation, Behavior, Impact.
Explain the
situation (we asked you to build a backup website, and I just had a close look at it), then state exactly what the
behavior you are commenting upon is, what they did (You built a web site, but while it tells a bit about the people on the team, it really has little to do with FIRST and the message we need to send, plus there are a number of weird things that might be code errors), and then the
impact (If we released this, we would probably lose points because the FIRST message is not being told, it is not fully functional, and some of the language is a bit too informal).

You then have a decision: Have him keep doing it, but with closer supervision and guidance, or just scrap it and work on something else (not web page related).

This late in the season, I'd scrap it, but promise better guidance next year. Send him to look at other team sites for some guidance, have him take notes on what he sees and take the time to look at the notes.

good luck, and welcome to the world of leadership.

Don
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Unread 02-25-2006, 10:45 PM
KenWittlief KenWittlief is offline
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

One of the great things about engineering is you have specific requirements and functions that need to be performed, you can document these, and then compare the results of any work against those requirements.

If someones efforts do not fullfill the requirements they were given, its easy to approach things on that level. Talk about the project, talk about the work. Point out all the things that went well, the things that worked, and point out the things that didnt turn out as expected. (for example, getting a URL name, a web hosting site, and getting one page up that says nothing but "OUR WEB PAGE" takes a great deal of time and effort, esp if this is all new to you).

You can even go over what it would take to bring the project in line with where it needs to be, and if it takes too much time and resources then it becomes obvious that you (sometimes) have to pull the plug.

Every engineer I know has been on a project that was cancelled for one reason or another. We take it in stride, and as long as the discussion stays on the project (and not on the people who were working on it) nobodys ego takes a pounding.
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Unread 02-25-2006, 11:13 PM
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Smile Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

This is innapropriate for any organization to ever have. Now I would understand (sort of) if this was just a "My Space" type thing and not a "This is Team ??? and we are part of FIRST".

Just my opinion and please don't flame me for my opinion.

Tomasz Bania
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Unread 02-26-2006, 02:16 AM
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

Hi there,

I think that the best thing to do would be to ask your guy a couple of simple questions:

1. WHAT is our site supposed to accomplish?
2. WHO is the target audience of our site?

If he doesn't understand that you are trying to represent your school and your robotics program within the context of the FRC, then he can't possibly succeed.

Likewise, if he doesn't recognize that sites that receive recognition (your secondary goal in creating a site for your team!) MUST appeal to both JUDGES and other team members, then he is missing the boat.

Show him some of the sites that have received awards in past years, and explain why they work. You want to give him room to be original, but he HAS to know the ground rules and get a good idea of what the job demands.

Make sure that he has the resources to create a good mix of content and interactive features. And remember, a site team needs more than coders-- you gotta have a photog, a graphic designer, and writers, too.

A final suggestion: DON'T let him hand-code pages. Get him to use a good site-management program like Dreamweaver, or even Front Page.

Kaye

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Unread 02-26-2006, 03:09 AM
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by micro3000x
This is innapropriate for any organization to ever have. Now I would understand (sort of) if this was just a "My Space" type thing and not a "This is Team ??? and we are part of FIRST".

Just my opinion and please don't flame me for my opinion.

Tomasz Bania
You kind of missed the point of the discussion, OP Nows its inappropriate, but is looking for a way to tell the student nicely.

Here is my idea as a mentor:

If you have a website team that is willing to sit down and teach the kid a bit, that might be the best solution. Just say "Hey, this isn't exactly what we were looking for, but i got soandso here who wants to help you create a better team website." Then Sit down with them all and hash out some ideas for a new website page, or some new information for your primary site.

Not only does this show the student where he can improve at, it teaches him some skills, and still includes him in the website!

Also, a couple notes on the website:
@kaye: He didn't handcode, he used Microsoft Word 9 (Office 2000?), actually in retrospect, it would be nicer if he would have handcoded, since the code would be much cleaner. The code word generated is a MESS

Also the images would have worked, as long as they were in the 587web_files/ folder, I dunno if first slash would make a diff (Its been a long time since i used HTML straight) but there is nothing major wrong with the code, i half expected him to be linking to C drive
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Unread 02-26-2006, 06:10 AM
meaubry meaubry is offline
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

Luke,
In cases like this, any team member (regardless if they are a captain or not) should bring the problem to the attention of the Team Mentors (Instructors/Parents/Engineers) - whom ever are in the leadership role and that made the assignment to the student.
Students from the team often use the team captain as the person that they tell stuff to - the captain then determines if the problem really needs to be addressed above them. Sometime they do - sometimes they don't (in this particular case, this one does need to be addressed above them)

Rather than confront them directly, which could end up being taken wrong or misunderstood, let the mentor address it. The role of team captain varies greatly among teams, but whenever one student takes it upon themselves to tell another they think is good or bad, the communication often goes bad.

In cases where the issue involved can and should be handled among the students, do so. This case involves an assigned project from someone other than you.

So, my advice is to quietly get a mentor involved and then just let that mentor take care of the situation.

Whom ever assigned the website project should review the project and determine if the outcome has met the expectations and goals. (Hopefully, that included something about what was appropriate and what wasn't)

Mike

Last edited by meaubry : 02-26-2006 at 07:01 AM.
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Unread 02-26-2006, 10:29 PM
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rombus
You kind of missed the point of the discussion, OP Nows its inappropriate, but is looking for a way to tell the student nicely.

Here is my idea as a mentor:

If you have a website team that is willing to sit down and teach the kid a bit, that might be the best solution. Just say "Hey, this isn't exactly what we were looking for, but i got soandso here who wants to help you create a better team website." Then Sit down with them all and hash out some ideas for a new website page, or some new information for your primary site.

Not only does this show the student where he can improve at, it teaches him some skills, and still includes him in the website!

Also, a couple notes on the website:
@kaye: He didn't handcode, he used Microsoft Word 9 (Office 2000?), actually in retrospect, it would be nicer if he would have handcoded, since the code would be much cleaner. The code word generated is a MESS

Also the images would have worked, as long as they were in the 587web_files/ folder, I dunno if first slash would make a diff (Its been a long time since i used HTML straight) but there is nothing major wrong with the code, i half expected him to be linking to C drive
I'm sorry for going a little off topic there.

I think you should just say that this is an inappropriate representation of our team and this should be pulled off the web immediately, as others said, tell it straight.

Tomasz Bania

P.S. I love sugarcoating things, don't I
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Unread 02-26-2006, 11:45 PM
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

I agree with pretty much what everyone has said before. If you personally dont want to come down on the kid yourself, go to a mentor and ask them to take care of it. However, if you want to do it yourself, dont sugarcoat it. Personally, i'd warn them that i wasnt going to be nice about what i'm going to say, and i have nothing against them personally, but i'm just being blunt to they dont misunderstand me. then i'd blatently tell them it wasnt appropriate as a backup website, explain why, give suggestions on how to fix it (in a question/answer fashion (ex: what are the objectives for the website? do you think this meets the criteria? what do you think should be changed? how could you change this? etc)) and either offer to help them myself, or direct them to another student or mentor that can help them refine what theyre doing. Its all a learning process, and sooner or later, this person is going to have to learn how to deal with harsh critisism. i'm not saying to be harsh, but i'm saying not to completely baby him/her either, because thats not the way the real-world works.

What i do if someone asks me to proofread something they've read (or something to that extent) is i literally tear it apart, explaining what sucks, what needs to be fixed, and praising whats good (if theres any). it seems a bit ruthless, but its highly effective constructive criticism. Once someone knows whats wrong, they're less likely to do it again or forget your point if they dont like you criticizing their work.

just my two cents
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Unread 02-27-2006, 09:59 AM
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

for reviewing someone else work, in the past I have been on design teams where we reviewed our peers designs (one to one swap, I review your work while you review mine). It was fun, became more like a contest - who can design a board with the least mistakes, and how many mistakes can you find in someone elses designs.

Since we were all doing designs we were all equals, we all made some mistakes so nobodys ego got bruised. Great learning experience too - great way to share insight and knowledge from past experience.
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Unread 02-27-2006, 12:46 PM
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Re: Unpleasent captain duties, how do you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koko Ed
One said : Kiss Me! I'm an X-Cat! The teachers couln't squash it fast enough, They thought it gave a very inappropriate message andwith such a girl heavy team could be problems at events...
Was it a St. Patrick's Day Weekend Regional?? A little spoof on the "Kiss Me I'm Irish" saying? That would be cool.
The female student's don't have to wear them if they don't want to.

Idk, I'm guessing there was more to that issue than I'm seeing here. Oh well.
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