Team Management!

We all have started looking into the next season for robotics and we all are going to start fresh with our teams. I just want to know how other teams manage themselves out there.
simply meaning that : what goals does your team set, how does your team manage officer positions, what are the best techniques to have a good bond in a team like cooperation between people in the team. Like team work and working with mentors and vetrans. What are the best way to teach rookie members about enginering and how FIRST runs.
I have noticed many times and learned that many people who are not in robotics do not really understand what a First Robotics teams are about, people ususally asume that a school robotics team is just spending all your afterschool time building a robot. they are scared that they will do bad in class. Well that may be quite true but i dont go by that, i think robotics is wat more then just building a robot, it more like persuing your passion and is true dedication in learning about life itself. Its more about working with people and learning from them. As you may have noticed that many of the awards the FIRST presents are not towards engineering but its team work and Spirit.
I want to know what are some good methods to explaing what FIRST and robotics is about to your school and many people who do not really understand what its all about.
…just wanted to say thats all this is my own opinion and want to know how other teams out there go about teaching people about FIRST and a robotics team.
Please post your opinions…
Akshay Dodeja
MVRT - 115

As the team gets bigger the harder all these issues get. Our team is so small that were more like a family than an organization, however we just let natural leadership run our team. Every year we have kids that step up, take charge, and get it all done. Under each of these leaders we try to place some new people to the team, so they can learn the ropes. We’ve found its important to give people a place on the team (especially new team members) so they don’t feel like they cant do things or don’t know what’s going on. The less defined you can keep the system has worked wonders for us (we used to have elected officers and that sort of system) Just letting the natural leaders emerge and help guide the team I feel is the best solution to a team management. Some kids you would never think would step up to be a leader can really shock you if given the chance.

(This may sound crazy to use for larger teams, were a team of 8 high school students and around 10 college/grad students, but its what works for us)

Our team started this year with a meeting where they asked all the students what their goals were for this year. I don’t remember all of them, but some of the goals we decided on were:
~More student leadership (being a senior, that got me my new title :))
~Closer relationships with other teams (that’s when i started wasting my life on these boards)
~Better fundraisers…not sure quite how that worked
oh yes, and last but not least:
~cooler team uniforms (read this: “We have no team spirit and will never wear anything that might, heaven forbid, make us noticeable in a crowd” :P)

still, having goals to work toward helped our mentors to understand what we reallly want. I especially liked having student leaders…we had four or five students that were given leadership of one particular area of the robot. It was the student leader’s job to coordinate with the engineers in charge of that system, the other students working on that system, and the other student leaders. Personally, i think it worked very well.

Our team this year split up into different groups - programming, electrical, cad, construction, etc. Needless to say, that method doesn’t work. The problem is that some people don’t do things during all the stages of the robot. For example, during the first few weeks, us programmers did nothing. Only once we got everything organized did we start going - before, we had nothing to work with.

What I want to do next year is to begin the season analyzing the game and deciding what kind of robot we want to build. Once we do that, I’d like to try to organize the groups based on different robot components rather than on skills. Seems kinda like what AmyBeth is talking about. The main advantage as I see it: everyone is working on something that has a definate goal all the time instead of just doing their ‘job’ when they’re needed.

Any teams have expierience on the the skill vs. component group organization? I’d like to hear how it’s worked for others.

Our team divides itself into groups depending on that group’s job. We have a web group, animation group, literary, chairmans, art, administrative, build, etc. Students can join any or all groups that interest them. We had members of the team, myself included, that had very little to do with the design or operation of the robot. Instead, they worked on the animation or website, or designed our tie-dye shirts. This way, students who may not be interested in the engineering side are still able to be productive parts of the team.

After all, there’s more to FIRST than just robots.

What are some good techniques that can be used for fundraising!
I know this question has beejn asked many times… though i just wanna know how teams are planning to fundraise for the coming season!

Wow…this thread topic is definately my calling since I’m big on management on my team. Last year the team was an afterschool club and this year its a class so the school expected a lot more from us. To do this we split up the class this way…

MANAGEMENT- This my group. We were in charge of getting everyone on the team to fundraise, ordering all of the parts, communicating with sponors and engineers, making travel arrangements, writing the newsletter, kept track of who was doing what and when, scourting, all the spirit stuff and all the nit picky details.

DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION- With the class King, Jeff, head of it. Most people were in this group and they worked on manually building the robot. I’d say about 10 people were in this group and they did all their work outside of class at Jeff’s house.

EXTENDOR (aka special team)-This was a subdivision of Design and construction with about 5 people. No leader was appointed but one of the members Kyle stepped up to the plate and got the group working hard. By being in a seperate group, they could work on being creative and giving us the extra edge beyond the basic robot.

PNEUMNATICS- This two person team focused on all the pneumatic systems on our robot, knowing all the details inside and out.

ANIMATION- About 4 people and their leader learned all the animation stuff and put together a cool clip. Their animation skills have also been put to use for promo for our team.

I think that small intimate subgroups with leaders are really important because everyone feels useful and no one falls through the cracks. Its much easier to be a leader of a few people and make sure everyone has something to do and is doing their job.

I guess the only appointed leaders were me and Jeff because it was the two main big groups, and that worked out well. People felt that they had fellow students to go to when there were problems. Although many times you get blamed first for problems or complained to the most, its really rewarding in the end.

Here is a copy of our handbook that we use to “run” our team…I know for my team its very helpful and i’ve heard of a few other teams that have adopted it and modified it for their own teams usage…

It’s available at the Chief Delphi White Papers section at the link below.

TechnoKat Handbook (PDF File)

TechnoKat Handbook (Word DOC file)

Hope it helps :slight_smile: