Placing Blame

On your team, who’s fault is it when something goes wrong?
-On our team, no matter what, even if the wheel falls off and breaks in half, somehow it is always a programing error, and I was the only one programming this year, plus this was our rookie year, so my code didn’t meet all of my team’s expectations. :frowning:

While this is a fun game to play - we most often blamed the person who wasn’t there that particular day - keep in mind that it is a game and not reality. Our joke was that if something wrong happened, we “blamed” one of the stronger members of the team. Some of the rookie members took this to heart, and thought the student who was always blamed really was worthless.
Teamwork is about finding problems and solutions, not assigning blame.

Spending time to place blame takes away from fixing the problem. Teams should emphasize fixing the problem and moving on.

Come on…this is easy.

If you can’t fix it mechanically, you fix it with electrical.
If you can’t fix it electrically, fix it with programming.

And if you can’t fix it with programming, it’s the GDC’s fault for making a stupid rule.:wink:

That’s easy, We have an Elgin. :ahh:

Seriously, FIRST is not about blame, it’s about team. Blame and GP don’t mix.

If you look at blame, what is its opposite?

On a team, there is team work, organization, and time management. When those are in place and used wisely, responsibility flourishes among the individuals that make up the team. The veteran members pass this on to the new members.

When they are not in place, then break down begins to occur and blame results. The support system is not in place and someone takes the brunt.

It is easy to blame. It could be easy to take responsibility but it often isn’t. In my opinion, participating on a FIRST team offers members of the teams, unlimited opportunities to learn the difference between blame and responsibility and how the choice will impact the individuals and the team.

I can visualize it by:
Blame = cup half empty
Responsibility = cup half full


Generally, it’s my fault.

There are a lot of things I’m good at, but I can always be better. When things go wrong, or don’t work, or are overlooked, it’s my fault. I take it as my burden to ensure that the team has everything it needs and when we do not, it’s my failure.

You don’t place blame. You teach the person whose fault it really was the right way to do it and have them do it again. If no fault can be determined, pick a person who isn’t doing anything. It’s a learning experience.

On my team, we always have a person who sees things from beginning to end. It is their job to find who is at fault and get them to fix their problem.

If a weld breaks, it is their job to take the robot to the welder and get him to re-weld it.
If a part doesn’t fit, they take it to the machinest and have them mill it.
If they can’t figure out who can fix the problem, then it is their fault. The blame goes on them.

But who cares? We never place blame on the welder. If a weld breaks, he admits fault and fixes it. The same thing with the rest of the team. The blame goes to whoever admits it was their fault. If nobody does, it goes onto the head engineer. Not because it was their fault, just because having someone to blame saves time on figuring out who it was. Besides, if someone knows they messed up(even if they don’t fess up to it) they will look into how to do better on their own.

We have a “fault wall.” If its your “fault” that something went wrong, we take the object and attach it to the wall along with your name and the year. Any rookie can look up on the wall and see many examples of what not to do. For example, make sure the plate you’re cutting “GRR” into isn’t upside down. (2003 fault)

This isn’t treated as a shame thing, if you got up on the fault wall you were obviously doing something rather then loafing, and if you do your name, and fault, live on through the years. It can also be a point of pride if you can say you’ve been on the team x number of years and still aren’t on the wall.

Reminds me of the “rib count” my Aero team used to have. Last year, they broke a lot of wing ribs that couldn’t be repaired. This year, a count was put up. Almost the first thing that happened was two people each had 60 ribs. (They couldn’t figure out whose fault it was that two holes were misplaced during the original manufacture. Two wings worth of ribs…) I wound up with one due to a drill press splitting a rib (it was shared with the other guy on the press). No attached ribs, though. We didn’t want to lose any, as we had limited spares

On Bacon…its always Mike T Walkers fault. No matter what it was…its his fault. He has big shoulders…he can handle it.

On our team, when something goes wrong, it is the fault of everyone on the team. Everyone on the team has the responsibility to back up everyone else, to double-check each other’s work, and make sure that things are going right.

The rationale for this is simple. If everyone on the team gets to go up to the stage and enjoy the limelight when the team wins an animation award (for example), then everyone on the team must also share in the responsibility when someone forgets to plug the drive motors into the control system and we sit motionless for an entire match. We succeed as a team, and we fail as a team. If something goes wrong, it is the responsibility of everyone on the team to spot the problem, identify the solution, and get it fixed. On a team, saying “it’s not my job” is simply not acceptable.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.



I couldn’t have said it better. Complaining about the problem or finding someone responsible takes time away from diagnosing the problem. EVEN if somebody did mess up, its a team effort. Don’t pin it on one person because who knows, maybe you’ll be the next one to mess up, and being called out isn’t the funnest thing when its YOU.



We have a team scapegoat*, who is blamed for everything. It is an actual title, like CEO and lead engineer.

It is fully clear to everyone on the team that none of this is that poor soul’s fault, s/he is completely blameless. Thus, the scapegoat feels OK (they know it’s really not their fault) and the team feels good (they blamed someone) - allowing us to move on to the real issue, fixing it and preventing it in the future.


*(Sometimes called the “Escape-goat” if we need to get outta there in a hurry…)

We have a fun little game that we do in our group, what they do to me is basically, I get all the blame, plus they pretend I have never come once to help with the robot, it’s a little joke we have going on.

on our team its all ways build team even when its programing.

Unless there’s something huge that actually happens…its the entire team. We always say on the team “don’t pass the buck.” Which is an awesome thing to work on a team by. Its everyone’s team, and if you really think about it, it should be everyone’s mistake IMO.

+my own $.02