Average lifespan of a team

It was mentioned last night in an im that I was in, and I thought it was worth pursuing.

What is the average lifespan of a team?

I was given a guess of 4 years, but it would be interesting to figure out (though Im not sure how to go about it).

Maybe the way to do it would be to make a list of the teams going into their 11th year, 10th year, and so on, until we start hitting teams that lasted for 3 years and then died, in which they would go under the 3 year bracket.

Any other suggestions? Any other guesses?

Given the massive increase in teams during the past two years, I would have to say that the average age would be around 2 years.

~Tom~

10 yrs…j/k…although it would be cool if every team could stick around that long…:slight_smile:

im gonna agree with clark here…its a shame that some teams dont last forever and eventually die.

What about the teams that probably will never die because they split into multiple teams? When my school started a team along with 2 other local schools, we thought that it would be a one year thing. Little did we know that our team (the old 61) broke into 3 (330, 207, 294) teams that though listed as 2nd and third year teams have kids that have 5 years of experience. Anyway, just something to consider when thinking about the average lifespan of a team.

By the way, have any other teams done that?

I’ve never thought about teams having life spans. I guess I just assumed that teams would go on forever, though I know some certainly haven’t for whatever reason. I guess I take it for granted that my team has been lucky to stay a team for five years, even after our main sponsor lost half of it’s staff (as well as two-thirds of it’s funding that it dedicates to my team and team 179). Well…I guess this post was worthless…I have no clue what sort of a guess to offer besides as long as the students, engineers, and funding exist.

~Angela

*Originally posted by littlefish180 *
**I’ve never thought about teams having life spans. I guess I just assumed that teams would go on forever, though I know some certainly haven’t for whatever reason. **

I used to be the same way. This year especially, however, has been a year of heartbreak for far too many teams. Politics and money have driven some of my close friends’ teams into extinction - and others struggle far too close to the brink.

I don’t really want to venture a guess. The only thing that I hope is that every kid who wants a chance at what we have all experienced will get that opportunity. And for that to happen, we all have to work together to make it happen.

~ lora

I’ll have to agree with Fish. As long as there are people, and funding a team will survive. And can’t forget the engineers, those too :wink:

Just like lora I dont wanna guess, but i have to say its sad. Sure we are increasing by what is it 10% every year. But we are losing 5% or so of the old teams, and its not just fun. FOr instance in miami we have a few teams and when last season started we had no money so we joined with 168, but not all teams have that luxury, We almost didnt due to pollitics. Only if the world was run the way FIRST teams are to each other.

Andrew

i think that there are 2 main reason for team to drop out.

  1. Loss of financial backing.
  2. Lack on engineer help

If you don’t have those i don’t see a team in FIRST lasting too long.

Thanx Mr. Obivious! :slight_smile:

*Originally posted by David Kelly *
**i think that there are 2 main reason for team to drop out.

  1. Loss of financial backing.
  2. Lack on engineer help

If you don’t have those i don’t see a team in FIRST lasting too long. **

i beg to differ. as member of a team with virtually no financial backing and literally no engineer help, those arent reasons teams drop out. our team had 6 “engineers”. these college students were, in reality, cs majors, mis majors, and i think one carpenter. next year we wont even have those 6 people. were gonna be going with highschoolstudent/engineers and it wont be pretty. but we will do it.
i guess what im saying is that theres one reason and one reason only for which teams drop out. politics.

I’ve gotta agree w/ the ‘politics’ aspect of teams leaving…

There’s also burnout. All the funding in the world can’t keep people who need to spend time w/ their families and concentrate more on work from doing that. And it’s just an overall exhaustion on people after a while.

So life lasts as long as the people can as well- if you have the great benefit of constantly gaining new people to take top roles in your team, you could literally last forever.

I’m currently on my second “10-year team”… I can see the politics starting to slow down T126 a bit… but in many ways the burnout of the many wonderful engineers and supporters who have been with that team since their very first National Champion robot until today.

But in great contrast, my current team: 190. There is a great thriving and strength among the team because the main source of ‘mentorship’ comes from college students who are constantly flowing in and out of the program and in and out of the top time-consuming and exhausting roles. As well, the high school kids are only around for 1 or 2 years, so the freshness of the team keeps burnout from having the chance to occur and allows the team to keep going strong.

So my thoughts: it takes strong, un-politically motivated minds to keep teams running… which means they are often new minds in the forefront every couple years. There will also be a way (like guys like the Rambots prove) to find the money and stuff… you just have to have the desire.

Kinda like the reason the folks in Kokomo gave the “Team Spirit Award” to us at the IRI even though we only had 4 team members there… it’s ‘embodiment of the FIRST spirit and a determination to spread the word of FIRST’… when that exists… teams will never die down.

Average team lifespan: as long as someone remembers the impact they had on their lives :slight_smile:

corniness ended.

What about teams that take a year off and come back?

Well all of you have the right factors which determine the existence of a team.
1) Dedicated people (Engineers/Teachers/etc)
2) Funding (Corporate Sponsors/ Fundraising)
3) Politics

All those go hand in hand. I’ve been lucky to be on a 10 year team #191 X-Cats which has been part of the Company culture at Xerox. Without those few who have been doing this for years you still need to bring in new blood every year on the mentor side of the team in order to continue the existence. Helps alleviate the burnout problem. Without these dedicated people to fight against the politics and funding within the school and company programs like this would be more of a 1 year experiment unless a structure is formed and a porcess is followed year after year. Keep the leadership team refreshed to keep people interested since new leaders will bring new enthusiasm back to the team.

Definitely with the huge increase in teams the average team life is pretty small.

Ellery - 2002 X-Cat Team Leadership Committee

Our team has never had any engineers and a real serious money backing. In our First year we came in 6th @ regionals, then the second year 3rd @ regionals. So if you dont have any engineers its not a reason to quit.

*Originally posted by Spooks180 *
And can’t forget the engineers, those too :wink:

BAH! Who needs engineers when you’ve got H!


This message brought to you by the FEDS, reminding you it IS possible to run a team without the help of engineers

now that we’re on this subject, does anyone know if the Baxter Bomb Squad will be back next year? You could defently feel a lack of their presence this past season.

FIRST has been concerned about the life span (longevity) of teams for several years. In fact, three years ago they formed a task force of about 10 team leaders to discuss this very topic. The warning signs are there if you look.

If you look back the last few years several teams that have been chairman’s award winners and finalists have not been able to sustain the effort and some have left the competition.

Often called burnout, this is what happens when team members expend so much energy and effort to rise to the top that their personal life as well as their professional life is compromised. Choices have to be made and often it affects the FIRST team.

The problems as I see it is that many teams are built around 1 or 2 persons. If either of the people stop participating for whatever reason the team stability is compromised. Teams that are constantly bringing in new persons to revitalize the energy seem to have a better chance at longevity.

I know with our team we have a turnover rate that has been manageable to this point. Being able to get other people involved is a conscious effort by the entire team. Each year we have several new teachers and engineers to replace the ones that need a rest or have moved on to other challenges.

FIRST takes a lot of time and effort. Not just during the 6 weeks + competition but year round.

Idea? Should teams that have been chairman’s winners still compete for the award. Or should the pressure be taken off the team by having them exempted from the competition. Like the Hall of FAME status. I am sure they would continue to do great things but with less pressure. Comments.

*Originally posted by Mike Martus *
**FIRST has been concerned about the life span (longevity) of teams for several years. In fact, three years ago they formed a task force of about 10 team leaders to discuss this very topic. The warning signs are there if you look.

If you look back the last few years several teams that have been chairman’s award winners and finalists have not been able to sustain the effort and some have left the competition.

Often called burnout, this is what happens when team members expend so much energy and effort to rise to the top that their personal life as well as their professional life is compromised. Choices have to be made and often it affects the FIRST team.

The problems as I see it is that many teams are built around 1 or 2 persons. If either of the people stop participating for whatever reason the team stability is compromised. Teams that are constantly bringing in new persons to revitalize the energy seem to have a better chance at longevity.

I know with our team we have a turnover rate that has been manageable to this point. Being able to get other people involved is a conscious effort by the entire team. Each year we have several new teachers and engineers to replace the ones that need a rest or have moved on to other challenges.

FIRST takes a lot of time and effort. Not just during the 6 weeks + competition but year round.

Idea? Should teams that have been chairman’s winners still compete for the award. Or should the pressure be taken off the team by having them exempted from the competition. Like the Hall of FAME status. I am sure they would continue to do great things but with less pressure. Comments. **

Removing the ability to win the Chairman’s Award again would seem to work, except for the fact that it presumes that teams only do what they do because they want to win the Chairman’s Award. Frankly, I hope that’s not true. I hope they do it because it’s the right thing to do. So if that’s the case, not letting them win the Chairman’s Award again doesn’t really accomplish all that much.

I think when it comes down to it, it just requires teams planning far enough in advance to bring new people in to take over when the original people leave. I don’t really think there’s all that much FIRST can do to change that unless they want to dramatically alter the competition.

Matt