How is your team planning on operating next year?

Given that stop build day is retiring in 2020, how are teams planning on running their teams next year in terms of time management? How much additional time are you guys going to put into each stage of build? Are you guys planning to build 2 robots? I am just curious as to how teams are going to do the logistics. Thank you for your response in advance.

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We will probably only end up with an extra half-whole week (due to shipping lead time), this will most likely be spent on programming and drive practice.

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We’re planning on keeping a self imposed stop build day on week 6, basically mechanical and electrical has to be mostly done so programmers and drivers can have the robot. So not much will change for use besides not really having to build a practice bot unless we want to make a drastic change to the robot mechanically and test mechanisms against eachother.

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We will be using the same approach.

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We’ll still build two robots, so the programming team and the drive team can work in parallel.

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Our approach will likely vary depending on if we need to ship our robot to Worlds or we can just carry it in.

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We have not really laid out a detailed plan as a team yet. However, we have agreed that we still plan to operate as if there is a stop build day at the same point in the season. We will likely only build one robot instead of two which will help reduce the stress on the build team. But we intend to have that robot complete on stop build day. We will probably use the drive bases from this year and previous years’ practice bots as a prototyping and programming development platform, so we may build 2 copies of certain mechanisms to put on the development platform, but I suspect that second robot will not be a complete copy of the competition bot. Once we pass stop build day, we intend to do all the fine tuning, autonomous development and driver practice on the main bot instead of the practice bot. This will actually put us a bit ahead of where we have been the past few years as we have never been able to have the practice bot complete on stop build day and we always spend the next week or so finishing it before we can turn it over to the programmers for true final programming work. So, we should have an extra week or two next year for the programmers and drivers to do their work, which will be nice.

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We’ll be having that conversation in a month or so once we’re through this season, but the general feeling I’ve gotten is that people were pretty happy with this season workload wise and want to next year to be roughly similar. Honestly, it’s all up in the air at this point and I suspect we’ll deviate significantly from whatever plan we make.

We’ve never been down this path before, so it’ll all be an adventure!

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Why is it that many teams want to finish the robot in 6 weeks when they would obviously have more time? I just don’t understand why. Why would you work for 15-20 hours a week for six weeks when you could would work for 10-12 hours a week for 7-9 weeks instead.

First off, to try to avoid Parkinson’s Law.

Second, weeks 7-9 now become driver practice and minor iteration time, which is absolutely necessary if you want to have a high performing robot.

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Our team has stated pretty much the same thing. We plan on still having a self-imposed “Stop Build”. Any time after that we want to leave for driver practice, programming, and improvements.

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This would be more productive because of the way many teams work. The amount of work done at a given point of time during a meeting, is inversely proportional to long it has been since the meeting has started. At least that is what people have told and i have observed sometimes myself. So would a longer season not be more productive?

This is a huge consideration I didn’t even think about…that information really needs to be available before kickoff.

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Quite frankly, it needs to be available very very soon after champs. I know that our team won’t wait long before we begin deep-dive discussions about how we will organize our meeting times and work in the post-bag era.

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One of the first things I learned on my first job out of college is that projects behave like a gas - they expand to fill whatever container you give them.

If we allow the “deadline” to change to the day before our first competition, then I can guarantee that we will be scrambling until midnight that last day to get the robot done. We have 4 FTC teams in our club and they have 5 months to complete their robots, but they end up working long Saturdays the weekend before their first competition to try to get something drivable.

Keeping the deadline of stop build day forces the team to make their design decisions in a timely manner, get the parts fabricated and get the robot assembled so that the “neglected” half of the team (programmers and drivers) can still get their work done.

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Get the first and only robot done as soon as possible. Try to break it as quickly as possible. Rejoice in that we do not need to spend time and money building a second one and get to iterate on our one competition robot.

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We had some discussions about the then-hypothetical post bag era on 3946 this past summer. The specific rules will likely modify things, but the general agreement was that (unless the team increased significantly in membership), the “practice robot” would likely go away, to spend more time iterating on the manipulator(s). The basic milestones (chassis week 2 or 3, basic functions and real drive practice week 5) will likely stay about the same. There will also be some shifts in leadership and likely therefore priorities and schedule as a result of about half the students graduating this May, six of whom were on the team four years, and at least another four for three years. (Team has had about 25 members each of the past three years.)

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We’ve had some discussion… but until we figure out who our new captains are going to be, no decisions will be made.

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Im split between ‘Build a “Do Everything” bot since it has a higher skill ceiling’, or ‘Build a specialization bot and get it done fast’.

My issue is that, in the weeks after our first competition, the “Do everything bots” (e.g. Rocket bots) will get significantly better, while the “Specialization bots” (e.g. Cargoship bots) will not have room to grow.

Also, what should our timeline look like? I’ve always pushed my team to do ‘Robot in 4 weeks’. Is that still necessary? Should we instead aim for a 6 week timeframe, knowing it probably wont be done for 8 weeks?

I honestly don’t know what our game plan is next year. I’m thinking that we will start building more complicated ‘Do Everything’ bots rather than specializing, since that leaves us plenty of room to grow in the later weeks. The last thing I want to do is to limit our team in the later half of the season, while other teams’ robots can continue to get better.

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Why not do both? Focus on one for the first event and add more functionality for later events. There have been many examples of teams in districts focusing one one thing at an earlier event and adding more functionality for the next event within the 30lbs(my team included - we only cycled hatches at our first district event and added cargo for our second), which will be made more accessible without the bag. The most important things with that are to leave room and make sure the mechanisms are modular so they can be easily added.

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