Meeting Frequency

Hello, I’m part of a rookie team this year and we are still trying to figure out how scheduling and such works for the upcoming season. My main concern right now is with how meetings will work. Many members of my team are busy, so I’m thinking of requiring team members to come to a certain number of meetings during the season and allowing them to drop by whenever they are free during the season to work on the robot and stuff. So my question to all the veteran teams is how often do you meet, and what’s your meeting “structure” like? During both offseason and during build season? And during the meetings does the entire team attend, or do you have some other way of regulating attendance? Basically, in your experience, what has worked and what hasn’t gone so well.

Thank you very much! All help is very much appreciated :smiley:

During the off-season, my team meets every Tuesday from 4:30 to 8:30 (with an hour in between when school ends and practice starts). We use off-season practices to work on projects to prepare us for build season and prepare our robot for off-season events, which are great for preparing teams for regular competition*. Attached here is a map of FRC off-season events:

During the build season, we normally have scheduled meetings on Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 to 8:30, and Saturday from 9:00 to 3:00 (more flexible than the weekdays). We will add extra practices if need be. I’ve found this to be a very good combination of enough meeting time to get two robots finished on time, but not so much that all the students get burned out. Extra practices are optional, and are only declared if something on the robot really needs to get done soon (I attended most of the extra practices).

I hope this helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

*Since I assume you have not built a 2017 robot, in order to compete at an off-season, you will likely need to ask another team if you can use their practice robot. If that’s the case, I’m sure a team would be happy to lend theirs to you!

There have been several threads, polls, and google forms regarding this topic on chief delphi already. Please use the search function in the future to see if threads related to your topic already exist:

Examples of threads and resources regarding this topic can be found here, here, and here

First off welcome to FRC it is a total blast.

I am the project manager for team 3176. The way we structure the offseason is one meeting a week for 2 hours. These meetings are labeled as mandatory but the offseason allows for students to be flexible and show up to as many as possible. If a student cannot attend they will usually email. We take attendance at every meeting and can see who is serious about wanting to be a part of the team by there attendance. During these meetings we do training and offseason projects to prepare for build season.

As the build season starts we meet every weekday expect Wednesday for 3 hours and on Saturdays for 6 hours. The Monday meeting is mandatory and is when projects are assigned and helps keep everyone on the same page. From there it is the students responsibility to come to meetings to finish there assigned tasks and reach a goal attendence. Overall for people who are committed to the team the attendance percentage goal is easily met and many people attend every meeting.

During meetings we have subteam leads that have projects that are assigned to individual students or groups of students. We have a team wide work breakdown system that allows projects to be assigned and keeps everyone in the loop about what needs to be done.

As the build season comes to a close the team tapers down and is mainly pit and drive team working putting final tweaks into place. These meeting we called optional/taper because not as many people had projects to work on. For the period the robot is bagged we meet less frequently not meeting on Fridays an meeting for less time. This time we work on the practice bot and marketing materials for competitions.

Our team has approximately 60 people and this self management system works with clear communication. When we were a smaller team every meeting was mandatory but this did not allow for as much flexibility. I would recommend making sure students can communicate with the leadership there schedules and when they can and cannot make it to meetings.

Good luck this season!!

Our build season is pretty demanding, but people aren’t required to go every day. We have different people scheduled day to day with the main contenders going daily. We go Mon and Wed-Thurs from 5-8 and then Tues from 3-6. Sat is for a small dedicated group from 9-5.

Off season during school we have team meetings every Tuesday from 3pm to 5:30pm. The once build season starts we start going everyday except Wednesdays and Sundays (we do meet on these day’s if we need to). Monday through Friday we meet from 3pm to 8pm. Then on Saturday we meet at 11am to have a study session till 12pm and then go till 8pm. During the summer we meet twice a week usually Tuesdays and Fridays from 3pm to 8pm. We meet a lot more then most teams but kids come and help each other with homework and during late nights the entire team eats dinner together, which is a good way of team bonding!

During off season so far (we just finished our rookie season) we have twice a week meetings from 6-8 pm. During build season we have meetings every day except Sunday (unless required due to build season deadline). Weekdays are 6-9pm and on Saturday its 11am-6pm. Monday and Thursday are mandatory and the rest you can go to to fill in a minimum of 16 hours a week but you can go to as many as you want. On Saturdays with an FTC competition we usually go and volunteer there instead of a regular meeting. To regulate attendance we use Jibble, an integration in Slack (our team communication app). If someone shows up to the meeting they will just text Jibble “in” and then when they leave they text “out”. An admin can view and regulate this so you could set it up so that everyone is automatically “Jibbled” out if everyone forgets.

We are a third year team, and so well remember rookie days…

Off season we have had some focused projects. Software team met twice a week for about six weeks to learn new programming. Build team had some meetings to build parade stuff. But these were optional.

This year for the first time we will have attendance requirements to be on the tournament team. Or at least for the team to pick up the non trivial cost of hotel, food etc. Teams who live in a town where the event is held have such an advantage. 50% of the meetings of your team/sub team is our expectation…but mentors can make exceptions where there are extenuating circumstances (family stuff for instance) or where doing so will help the team as a whole. You might need a programming guru or an ace driver who fell just short on attendance.
We are putting this in place because we have had a few peripheral members with minimal attendance in our first couple of seasons. At tournament time they are generally not an asset.
Our build season schedule has been 4-7 M thru Fri and 10 - 3 Saturdays. We might skip Wed and do a Sun aft session.
Media/PR actually has more work now in the fall, and our kids who are doing outreach visits, middle school teaching etc, get double or triple attendance points for these activities. Long term benefit and all.

Enjoy the chaos!

T. Wolter

Welcome to FRC!

CRUSH has 3 hour meetings 3 times a week from May-December, and meetings of various lengths 4-5 times a week January-April. Members are expected to attend a min. number of shop hours, and a min. number of fundraisers/outreach/service events throughout the year. This system gives members more leeway with their schedules, especially those who have commitments outside the team. We still have some members who attend nearly every meeting, and some who attend less frequently, but all have to attend enough to meet the minimums. We generally have at least 40% of members at any given meeting. Some meetings are spent on a specific project, like everyone attending works on taking apart past year’s robots, and some are less structured so students can work on any variety of technical or non-tech projects.

That being said, CRUSH has some very committed mentors who are willing to spend a lot of their time at meetings and events year round. I don’t know what level of supervision your school requires at meetings, but the commitment level of team mentors and other factors will likely influence how often you can have meetings. However, at a minimum, I would suggest meeting at least once a week in the fall. Your schedule is going to depend a lot on your team culture, what students want to get out of the team, and what the adults involved are able to offer.

My team meets 6 days a week (not Friday unless there’s a pretty serious emergency). The need for so many meetings comes from having team members on so many different personal schedules. We are a community based team, and on weekdays we meet at night. With enough members and mentors coming from neighboring towns, we’ve found that cutting back meeting times would actually be a detriment. During offseason we meet 1-2 days, and between build and competition it’s 2-3.

The most important is to do what’s best for your team. With good time management, many teams can get away with as few as 3 days a week. 4 might be a safer bet for a newer team.

Like so many matters of internal team management, there is no one-size-fits all answer. There are teams with less than a dozen hours a week who put tools down between bag and their first event, and others whose shop is open 60+ hours a week until CMP, and 40 hours year-round. The best solution for you depends on your resources, including number of students, number and dedication of mentors, your sponsoring organization’s rules and stipulations, your facilities and your access to them, budget, communications/project management ability, and likely more. I think many of these are obvious - you can’t build when you don’t have access to your shop, don’t have a mentor (or other qualified adult) to open the shop, or when your sponsoring organization forbids you to. Lay those out early in your decision process so you don’t consider things that can’t work for you.

One of the less obvious problems with having a lot of “optional” build hours is that it is easy for the team to split into two (or more) groups who come in on different days, and don’t communicate well with each other. The Monday-Wednesday-Friday group is working on a spring-based launcher, but the Tuesday-Thursday has decided hydraulics is better, and on some Friday, you find out that your last three weeks of work was torn out yesterday. A few bad experiences along these lines have kept us on a “mostly mandatory” schedule, with “optional” meetings having explicitly limited scope (e.g. drive practice, programmers & controls, tweaking that pesky launcher).

ask Kenneth.

On 45 in the off season we have team meeting Tuesdays from 5:30-7:30 with an actual meeting from 5:30-6:00ish. The rest of the time its work time for various projects. On Thursdays we have open shop from 5:30-7:30/8:00ish for projects and FTC. We meet on other days if required. We dont require you to be at every meeting and come when you can.

Getting into build season we will meet from after school to 7:30-8:00 most days. from after school at 2:20 we to about 4:00 we have study tables to do school work. The rest of the time is work time and on Saturdays we meet from 9:00 to 4:00-5:00. After build seasons it calms a bit, but we maintain essentially the same schedule.

We have had multiple ways to track participation. we’ve tracked number of days at shop. The last two years we have had a shop credit system with tiers on how many credits you need to travel and to what event. We give credits to how many meeting attended, work done, study tables, awards work, etc.

I dont know how you are operating now or how many students you have, but choose what you think will work best for your team.

Off season is 6 hours a week, build season is 6 days a week.

Having team members responsible for a minimum number of hours (or they don’t travel with the team to events) is reasonable. On a former team that meant 50% of the normal hours or more. Oh, and while ‘there’ they had to be actually productive, not just sit there playing games.

Once a week there is a mandatory-for-everyone meeting.

Worst case are people who keep others from being productive: They get asked to leave.

Off season is where folks learn to drill holes, measure & cut, set rivets and crimp terminals on wires. And much more. Have stuff to practice on.

The Bambert559 heeds your advice and the Bambert559 agrees!!

During build season we work Mon-Thurs and Sat. During the week we meet from 3:30pm-6:00pm. On Saturday we go 9:00am-2:00pm with parents and local businesses providing lunch for us.

Our mentors understand that many students have other things going on but the expectation is to be present the most you can. I often would spend my lunch getting stuff ready for our afternoon meetings. We always leave Fridays open for parents to schedule doctors appointments and such.

Living in michigan we have to deal with snow days during the build season. When our district dies call a snow day we ask whoever is available to come in and work on the robot. We only ask students to come if they can safely travel to the school and on snow days we will work noon-2:00pm.

During the off season we are open Thursdays 3pm-5pm and weekends 2pm-5pm.

During build season, we are open every day of the week. Exact hours usually vary from year to year. Last year was Mon-Thurs after school-7pm, Fridays after school-9pm, weekends 1:30pm-6pm.

Our team meets as a whole on Thursdays after school and leadership meets on Mondays at 7:30pm. Expectations are minimum 6 hours of work per week during off season, minimum 15 hours of work per week during build season and minimum 10 hours of work per week during competition season.

1257 has meetings from 3:00pm-5:00pm on Monday and Thursday. During build season, we meet from 3:00pm-6:00pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

We’re looking into having leadership meetings online on Sunday and meeting before each team meeting for a 15 min discussion.

We had a channel on our Slack last year where students would give a heads-up if they couldn’t come to a meeting. Subteams usually split up after attendance and complete their own projects. Certain students take on side projects, like power racing, and they meet as necessary: on weekends and over the summer.

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At 343 we require a certain number of hours put in throughout the school year (off season and build season) to travel and to earn a letter. We do it this way so that team members who can not make certain days of the week or even certain times of the year due to sports or work load still have the ability to travel with us and can still earn their letter. We structure the system this way because we recognize that there will always be someone who can’t make the day you choose to be a mandatory meeting. That said, in the off season we only have 1 meeting a week unless there is a special event but during build season we step that up to every week day and some Saturdays and we make it clear that no one is expected to make all of those meetings (though a few of us who have/had no other life might)

First off: We use a platform called Basecamp in order to communicate between members of the team, arrange stuff, and be able to have design discussions outside of meetings. Leaders are also expected (and requested) to post meeting updates so all team members can know what happened in the meeting and discuss. I really recommend it, it’s so much better than platforms like slack for so many reasons.

On our team, we meet every Thursday from 15:30-18:30 during preseason mostly for training for rookies, and we meet on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00-17:00, generally intended for working on veteran projects, but also for preparation for offseason events, robot repair, etc.

During build season, we meet every weekday from 15:30-18:30 and every weekend day from 10:00-17:00. We could probably meet less often, but due to inconsistency in attendance we need this many meetings to counteract the way that not that many people show up to every meeting. Plus, 18:00 to 18:30 is cleaning up since we work in a classroom.

We do not have any level of required attendance. Generally, it’s just people show up whenever they want; for some, like me, that’s every day. For others, it’s every day they don’t have other activities, like a sport or dance or Math team. For even others, that means they show up once a week for an hour. Any student can go to any event; the team only arranges hotel and transportation for some of them, however. There is no real strict way for selecting who goes, it’s mostly down to each subteam selecting some people to go. Obviously, this system has issues, but our team tries to remain “open” so we are not yet clamping down on this.