Hello. Currently we have a problem on our team, in that we have a shortage of a few specific sub-team members. Right now we are getting a lot of kids joining from the middle school, given our work with FLL teams, but they all want to join the programming team, and we don’t have enough people on the build or business team. How can we get more people that would be interested in joining those areas?

Well to unpack that you have a few different things going on.

  1. You have to many programmers, first of all congrats, that means your programming should get stronger over the next few years especially if they come in with some experience and have four years to grow.
  2. You don’t have enough people interested in build team or business.
    First realize that people tends to move around a lot, so some of your programmers may end up doing build or business just because they discovered they like doing build or business. So that may mitigate or complete solve the issue depending on the extent of the shortage. Otherwise you may have to start specifically recruiting for the various roles you want to fill.

recruit in your schools machine shop.

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While, your school might not have a machine shop, this is a great point; look for students who you already know are interested in these things. A machine shop, AutoTech, any STEM class really.

We tend to have the same problem with mechanical. So we implemented a plan this year that everyone gets to pick an A-B- and-C team. How it works is we have a list of what everyone’s teams are and if your A team has a job for you to do, congratulations you get to do it. If not you must find your B team (or C team) and see if they have anything for you. If no one has anything, congratulations your team is probably running smoothly and maybe you can have fun doing something no one want to do because your team and its members are awsome like that.

We were surprised what teams people chose as their B and C teams. It was a lot of the spots we needed filled. They still wanted to do their A team the most and we always made sure they got to do some, but they were also surprised at how they liked the other teams and some decided to switch permanently.

We managed tofuill all our spots this way and (I hope) no one felt pushed aside and not allowed to do the job they really wanted.

1.) If your school has business classes, recruit from them. Same with clubs with a business focus. Same with recruiting from engineering/machine classes.

2.) You have too many programmers…put a couple in charge of designing a fundraising database. Track alumni, family members, local businesses (start with tech focused ones, then branch out). This is a classic data filtering problem, and it’s a good programming project for separating wheat from chaff. Maybe build it in mySQL so they can get database experience. While it seems easy to throw it in Excel/Access (or Google Sheets), SQL is a great long term skill.

3.) Along those lines, if you have an area of the team that has a surplus, the extra work time can go to outreach. Plan a hackathon. Code camp for middle schoolers. Use your personnel strength to your advantage. An offseason hackathon for autonomous where everyone competes to make the best auton code for your current robot is a great competitive way for everyone to hone skills.


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