Keeping all members of large teams engaged

For teams on the larger side, how do you balance getting work done by deadlines and keeping rookies involved through the process? For rookies that come occasionally and not all the time, how do you keep them caught up and involved, even though they’re behind?

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Everyone has a set amount of hours they mus meet by the end of the season and everyone is required to come to the first meeting where we go through the rules and begin basic strategy. its not hard to meet the hours requirement (80 hours over “6 weeks”) that is coming to slightly more than half of the meetings. Anyone who isn’t making it to half of the meetings likely aren’t very interested anyways, or there are transportation problems.
As for getting stuff done, you need organization. Gannt charts, plans, and planning are the most powerful tool a FRC team has (for free). We create a plan that has been improved by the student leadership each year and try to stick to that.

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How many people are on your team?

To get rookies up to speed, you can do pair programming or pair _____.

But if they’re going to use a chop saw, don’t blame them if they use it with a chopping motion! Or at least warn them…

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For member attendance, @Britt has it spot on.
For engagement, the seniors on the team should be teaching the rookies how to help, while the sophs and juniors do the work. Mentors only step in when the seniors run out of steam or expertise.
Alternatives include having Rookies and 2nd years run the FTC team, and juniors and Seniors run FRC.

36 students, losing 8 seniors this year. we have been stable around 34-38 students over the past few years I think.
Edit: I guess I’ll also add that we try to do a Mock build season to show potential team members what a real season will look like and they usually get hooked there. This gives them a chance to learn skills they would learn in build like using wrenches, crimping wires, etc. and is very hands on because its a week straight of prototyping.

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