I was a Team Queuer at Beach Blitz this weekend. We used FRC Queuer at the event. The entire development team was volunteering at the event. They provided great support for the tool and were open to feedback from the event.
I’m on board with this tool for events. At Beach Blitz the Lead Queuer made sure everyone queuing had the opportunity to work different positions within the team. I was able to spend significant time with FRC Queuer.
I fully endorse this to event coordinators looking to improve the team and volunteer experience around queuing. It can help keep and event on schedule or ahead of schedule. It reduces cycle times between matches giving an opportunity for teams to get more matches per event, or at least not have matches canceled due to delays in field reset.
We did have to explain the specific terminology used by the tool to team members who have been using a variety of terms for different positions or states of the queue. FRC Queuer uses the following:
- Now Queuing
- On Deck
- On Field
I’ve been Team Queuer for several events during the 2022 Season. The most difficult part of queuing is the filler line with Practice Matches. FRC Queuer made this easy to do. We captured team numbers as we put them in matches. The lineups were immediately available for the scorekeeper. The queue was editable until teams were advanced to On Deck. In all events, the Team Queuers locked teams and positions in at On Deck so the lineup could be passed to the scorekeeper to ensure all matches got presented and logged correctly. FRC Queuer didn’t change Team Queuer responsibilities. It only made it easier to adjust teams as they arrived to queue during Practice matches.
During Qualifications, teams could be checked off as drivers and robots have arrived or only a human representative has arrived. This made it easy to know how many robots needed to be on the field as well as if a robot wasn’t present if the team received credit for the match.
During Playoffs, Team Queuers identified which alliance won the match and FRC Queuer automatically built the lineups for future Playoff Matches. In Best of 3 Playoffs, this would be lineups for Semi-Finals and Finals. Beach Blitz used the Double Elimination Bracket style tournament and FRC Queuer was an ace at working in this mode.
Prior to coming to Beach Blitz, I was talking with a mentor who had been at an event where FRC Queuer was used. That team used the Slack integration so notifications didn’t go from FRC Queuer to individual team members. They went to the team’s Slack channel. The mentor mentioned that is was great for parents who were watching the live stream. They would get the Slack notification and know that was the time to watch the live stream. Then they could do other things when the team wasn’t playing. Helping a remote audience watch their favorite team at an event is a great opportunity. You have to know that team parents are probably not interested in watching eight straight hours of a live stream only o see their team play 8-9 Matches.
FRC Queuer has the ability to include more than one Queuer user at an event. We didn’t use this feature at Beach Blitz. At some venues there are different entry points for Red Alliance and Blue Alliance. It requires two volunteers to check in teams (one at each entrance). FRC Queuer is already designed to work with this situation.
From a volunteer standpoint, I was able to spend more time working with students to make sure they were in the right place and the in-person aspects of the event were working smoothly and less time juggling the Match Schedule or making basic status reports over the radios.
The tool was intuitive to use. It handled all of the unplanned or off-nominal use cases that we had come up. It is clear that the development team has spent lots of time volunteering at events, working with teams, and helping manage and coordinate events. All of this experience has already gone into the tool’s development. Working with the development team, I know the concerns raised here will be taken seriously and addressed in future builds of the software.