Team Documentation Best Practices



I’m working on a team documentation presentation and was wondering what are some of the ways other teams document the demos, outreach events, regionals, presentations, and workshops that they do?

Here are some specific questions:

How does the team track their history?

What are some ways teams present their team outreach efforts and history to the judges at regionals?

How do teams track their Alumni?

Do teams have specific people who work on taking pictures and videos at regionals?

How are pictures and videos stored? (ideas on some ways to organize pictures & video would be excellent!)

What methods are used to track the number of people the team impacts?

Thank you!



Q. - How does the team track their history?

We have a constantly changing ‘living’ stakeholder report. Think of it as a super chairman’s with pictures and graphics. It is a big word document but the final product is distributed as a pdf.

Q. - What are some ways teams present their team outreach efforts and history to the judges at regionals?

In addition to talking to the judges the students hand out the stakeholder report above

Q. - How are pictures and videos stored? (ideas on some ways to organize pictures & video would be excellent!)

We have a server with a media folder. Three major folders. A pictures folder, a raw video folder, and a finished video folder. The pictures folder has a sub-folder with naming convention that describes where the pictures were shot, along with the date.

For example,


and so on.

Raw video folders have a similar naming convention.

You could have something like a major folder containing sub-folders


and so on.

Q. What methods are used to track the number of people the team impacts?
The answer to that question can be really difficult if you want it to be.
a) you directly influence students
b) you indirectly influence students because the student you influence today become career and personal influencers of future generations. Big ripple effect…


Our team has a dedicated portable hard drive that we dump pictures to, during or immediately after an event. We’ve scanned all of the old newspaper clippings and real photos we could find, and store that information on that drive.

Occasionally, we get paranoid (a portable hard drive juggled by high school students!!!) and back this drive up on several other computers. Really though, this is just a handy media store for us, which will soon be replaced by several thumb drives. Caching pictures is the easy part.

The hard part is distilling and compiling all of the pictures into a form that records the story. It is so much easier to snap a few pictures of “something happening” than to record the context for a non-observer to understand.

Last year, our team compiled an iBook, that was really a much bigger superset of our Chairman’s presentation. It was put together to explain OUR specific team to new members, parents, and generous benefactors. Some judges would look at our iBook when they stopped in our pit. We intended to publish it on Apple’s store, but ran into financial hardship when we won a RCA and had to scrap everything non-essential to attend the Championship. We missed our funding goals this year when many of our sponsors cut way back, and the small $99 fee was out of our budget.

This year, we intend to push further with this excellent and dynamic format, and actually publish two books. Our team is actively recruiting journalism students from our school, as budget cuts have eliminated the student newspaper. We want to give an outlet for these students, and further erode the stereotype that pocket protectors are required for club membership. We hope that this strategy will gain us a few missing links in our story-telling process.

On specifics of tracking impact, count only the people your team members have real interaction with. We do not count impact by any adult mentors, and insist that students are the public face of our club. Our team is in a rural and remote area. In addition to many events in our own community, we go way out of our way for outreach, because we have to. Last year, we plotted all of our distance outreach events, and came up with a very conservative geographical impact footprint of 3,600 sq. miles. I don’t remember offhand what our cumulative count of individual people was, but it was substantial, and backed by tallies taken at each event. Our club is only second in community influence to our football team, and they are nearly undefeated every year.

– Len


After I posted, I gave a little more thought. I’m guessing that you are really asking for a guide for gathering info and distilling into a Chairman’s presentation. Many students and teams focus on the limitations in word count, etc, when they really need to focus on telling their story effectively.

Our team, from inception to four years ago, attempted to jam everything and the kitchen sink into the word count limit. The essays were unbearable to read, and sounded transparently implausible. For the most part, they were. The essays and presentations contained way too much recycled from the “history” of the club, without disclosing that many items happened many years before. Winning a Chairman’s award was an all-consuming obsession for many of the adults tied to the club, almost like Gollum trying to recapture the ring. To that end, anything in the vicinity of the club seemed to be fair game for inclusion. Unlike Gollem, they never possessed their obsession.

Four years ago, we had a sea change in adult participation. We banished any talk about what would look good in Chairman’s presentations, and essentially threw away our history, save for the barest facts of the club’s founding.

Our new advisor held high standards for outreach, and incentivized participation. Soon, a new culture took hold. We no longer track laundry lists of questionable past “impacts”, but instead talk about a small framework of guiding principles of our club. When we talk to judges, the principles are pushed, and individual outreach events are cited as examples that support the selected principle.

The principles are an abstract that tells an overarching story. The events are details that color the picture. We still track and document everything, but so does everyone else. Our principles anchor our action; they are the foundation and framing to hold up our outreach events.

I don’t know if this helps, but stepping away from the requirement list for Chairman’s has helped us to focus and be more coherent. We were blessed to win two RCA’s in the last three years. I humbly argue that we must be doing something right.

Our website has not been updated recently. Our next update, hopefully in August, should have more about what i wrote above.

– Len