There a have been a couple of interesting threads recently where concerns about the disparities between low and high resource FRC teams have been discussed. In particular, these two:
At times, it seems to be difficult to define the difference between low and high resource teams, much less identify and solve the disparity issues. I believe, this is primarily due to the inherent complexity of the FRC problem and solution spaces and the wide diversity of the teams working in those spaces.
Much of the discussion in those threads has resolved around ideas (real or proposed) that are intended to constrain the advantages of high resource teams, and if those ideas could work, be enforced, or perhaps be counter-productive.
I thought it would be interesting to start a thread dedicated to brainstorming ideas intended to raise the floor for low resource teams. There are already many resources that raise the floor to varying degrees of success: KOP, Ri3D, online tutorials, Thrifty Bot, CD, local multi-team workshops, and many more. However, I thought it might be helpful to have a place to safely discuss new ideas. While we can discuss changes that would require changes to the program from FIRST HQ, it might be better to discuss ideas that can be started locally and then spread if they prove fruitful.
I start by throwing one out for discussion.
How about a small group of experienced mentors (3 to 5) from different teams in a given area, offering a free off-season consultancy to local low resource teams. The process could be something like this.
- Teams apply. I think we would want “low resource” teams to self identify/select and not try to apply a metric and then try to go tell them they need help. These teams would be more motivated to improve.
- Local FRC leadership and the mentor group pick a manageable number of teams to work with. The number would vary with the mentors’ time availability and the possibility that some areas could have more than one consultancy team.
- The consultants attend a number of the team’s off-season meetings to get to understand the team and their constraints.
- The consultants make a set of team specific recommendations. The recommendations could be technical, process oriented, tools recomendations, or anything else. The value comes from the recommendations being tailored to a single team, its needs, and its opportunities. We may want some sort of review process here with local FRC leadership and/or the target team’s leadership before the full team sees the recommendations.
- Some form of follow up during the next off-season.
The primary benefit would be that the participating teams would receive team specific “raise the floor” recommendations from a group of experienced mentors. The main drawback would be more work/stress for some mentors but it would be voluntary and strictly off-season.
Has anyone tried this before?
Any other ideas floating around out there?