JVN Build Tip: READ!

Hi Everyone,
As FIRST teams around the world are all beginning their design processes, I thought I’d post a few tips from our team to yours…

Today’s tip is simple: READ!

Get your entire team together, and read through the “key” sections of the manual together as a team. (We usually focus on the Game, Tournament, Robot, and Arena sections). Have your lead engineer, head teacher, or team captain go through these sections OUT LOUD – as they read, have them try to paraphrase the rules into very common language. Discuss the possible reasons the GDC included the rule, try to find the “root intent” of each rule: “Why do you think they put a 60” extension limitation in?" As you’re going along – write down any questions you have on the rules to be answered later (either by re-reading the manual, or by asking on the official FRC Q&A).

This seems like such a simple thing, but it is INCREDIBLY effective. By reading the entire manual as a team, you’ll ensure that every single team member has a basic understanding of the rules. If you don’t know the rules, how can you figure out what to build?

As always… good luck in 2011!

Originally posted here:
http://jvengineering.blogspot.com/2011/01/jvn-build-tip-read.html

Very sage advice John, thank you!

The Game rules section is less than a dozen pages long, as is the Robot rules section. If this is all you read today, it will give you enough to start. Although, do not neglect to read the entire game manual as soon as possible.

The big point is to do it as a group. If you asign it as homework, only a few will read it. This will then lead to giant delays during the next design phase. Having tried it both ways, the 1-2 hours doing this will save countless hours of arguing (or at least you will use those hours to argue about relevant stuff).

This is a great pro-tip.

I’d like to add, not only read the rules, but read prior CD posts before you post. I’m watching the onslaught of CD threads asking the same things over and over and over.

Look for a similar thread and read it through and maybe the answer you want will be in that thread. Lots of common info has been asked, answered, re-asked and re-answered. The search function is your friend.

FIRST published about 50 pages of info 28 hours ago. That means you should have spent 30 minutes reading each page, breaking each page into tiny paragraphs, each paragraph into tiny sentences. The GDC is very good at meaning what they write, writing what they mean (I personally love how each sentence has both a noun and a verb, oh if only CD posts followed that).

Reading is fundamental, take your time, read the document. JVN has a super tip, read it out loud. Reading out loud slows your brain down from a billion words a minute to just a few dozen.

But remember the rules and the official Q&A always trumps CD responses! So rules interpretations posted here flawed. On the other hand a post from Andy saying that you can’t order game parts for 12 more days from his store is most likely a good bet.

My team always does a group rule reading session before even starting any strategy sessions.

This year we splitted into groups each covering a section of the rules (We did not read the intro or the tournament section)

Each group would have spokespeople and diagrams drawn on whiteboards to show field layout, scoring, robot maximum dimensions e.t.c

Everyone is encouraged to voice concerns over interpreting the rules and the possibility of doing something thought to be unlisted.

Forgetting a rule like <G16> seems like it can easily happen on at least the 1st week by teams that didn’t read all the rules thoroughly.

John, you have beaten me to the punch! As Dylan and I have talked to you about this idea before, we have started our strategies blog this year. Check it out!

http://dsstrategies.blogspot.com/

Edit: Thread about Dylan Starke Strategies started here

I must say, another great piece of advice by JVN.

I have just finished going through your design process by the way. It has helped our team an indescribable amount already, and it will help us even more as the season goes on.

Design is an Iterative Process is ingrained in my head, and will always be now! :slight_smile: