We have a single controls team. The controls team handles, wiring, programming, and pneumatics. There are no hard lines of demarcation in the group, and I expect all of them to be able to perform basic tasks in all 3 disciplines.
If you study business at all you will find that most businesses are a set of constantly changing org charts. The company will try to become a ‘flat’ organization with very few levels of middle management, where the layout is basically workers -> mananger -> director/owner/etc. Later, the company will slowly move toward monolithic structures with manager reporting to manager as it grows. Eventually it becomes multi-layered and someone in management decides it would be good to become a ‘flat’ organization again, usually with a head reduction to become ‘lean’ or ‘work oriented’ or whatever buzzword you like.
The constant migration is really just a way to justify head count reduction while giving the manager of the day something to report to their bosses as a continual improvement.
The benefit of small teams like we run in FIRST is that you can keep them small and agile. You don’t have to have them set in stone, and if someone wants to work on A they can, even if normally their job is B. Organizations that become rigid (“that’s not my job!”) become buearacracies. That’s the reason many companies will look at what FIRST teams do in the time span they do it in and tell you point blank “our engineers couldn’t do that”. The reality is that their engineers COULD do it, if the company would get the heck out of the way and let them work rather than filling out forms, attending meetings, and adhering to all the rules.
Big companies inevitably fall into this trap, and if you talk to engineers and designers in those companies you’ll find many of them spend huge amounts of time in administration like book keeping and paperwork rather than problem solving and designing. That is also how you go out of business.
I could give you a real life example and how this gets so bad that employees end up going without the ability to log into portions of their jobs for a week, and it’s considered business as usual. Or how a key system breaks and it’s discovered the sole guy who owned it was cost-saved out of the organization and on one was ever assigned his job tasks. It would take several pages to explain the absurdity of it all. I suggest you start reading Dilbert to get an idea. That comic largely is true to life.