An idea that has been thrown around 103’s mentor group for a little while now is professional design reviews. The idea is once the students (read engineers) decide what their strategy is, what they want on their robot (in terms of mechanisms, drivetrain, etc), and the general layout of said mechanisms, they make a quick presentation to the mentors (read managers) and the mentors give constructive feedback on the decisions that were made and how they can possibly improve them. Then later in the season we can do a similar thing with the CAD design of the robot and the mentors can suggest ways to make manufacturing easier or to make the mechanisms more reliable/durable/functional/whatever.
Ideally the students would take a day or so to create a quick presentation with whatever napkin, back of hand, and notebook sketches they have and see what the mentors have to say. Then a similar review of the robot CAD before we really start to manufacture anything.
Not only will the design reviews give the mentors a chance to give their input (because we are typically very hands-off), but it would give the students a different perspective on their solutions and also improve the communication between students. It also emulates what a real engineering team would have to do on a large group project.
I am sure many other teams do something like this and I wanted to hear if it was an effective way to give criticism, improve the quality of the final product, and inspire the students to improve their solutions.
So CD, do design reviews work for you?