Bored Teammates?

So when more than 2 of us come to build the robot, the people besides me and the builder get bored and do “moral support”. Do you people have ideas for what they can do?

2 is basically the maximum number of people who can really be touching the robot at once. if your teammates have nothing to do, you could have them learn how to code, or work on notebook, or other various jobs.

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I agree with Xenon. Work on the notebook, code, or have them collect parts you need or cut parts you need.

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Also parts sorter is also an option.

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As a person that is the adult in the room with bored youths (tapping screens, ear plugs supplying toons, you know how it is.)

PUT THE PARTS AWAY WHERE THEY GO!!!

sorry caps.

but not sorry, there are lots of boring jobs to do that the bored people can do as a time filler. (in particular, in the room my students are in, they can find all of the silver wrenchy wrenches, and put them where they go… i mean we have enough of them that everyone could have one… why are you asking where they are? why? you just had one 2 minutes ago… i saw you using it… why?)

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[ATTEMPT AT HUMOR]

Ok Boomer! (sees self in the mirror)

[END ATTEMPT AT HUMOR]

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For the “moral support” members, I have them searching for metal/ the parts that builders need, otherwise I try to rotate who is building ie “hey can you screw this in for me”

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There’s always something that can be improved. Try building prototypes for future improvements. Build a lift that you’ve never built before. Try some advanced programming.

That being said, as a coach, I feel you! When the team members find themselves without something to do, they don’t necessarily think “Gee, I’m not doing anything, what could I be doing right now.” Instead, they think, “OK, there’s nothing for me to do. I’ll sit here and check my phone, gossip, fiddle around with robot pieces…” Sometimes, as a coach, if you point out that they’re doing nothing and suggest something to do, you can shame them into doing something.

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What we do is 1 or 2 people are “building”. We see a screw needs to go here, so we tell th e “board” members screw this in, or find this part. Then the "builders problem solve and figure out how the next peice goes

Team members that have nothing to do are a huge loss of productivity, redundancy, and usually aren’t happy to be there. If you have four members and only one “builder” contributes then you are throwing away 75% of your build potential. You could get 16 hours of work and you chose to only earn four. An employee that managed a team that way at my place of work would be let go.

That said, how do we make our team more productive?

  • Notebook first - Identify the problem, concept, design, prototype(s), test, implement the change, and repeat. If you have a team meeting before practice starts you can create a list of things that need to be done and assign those tasks. Teammates can build prototypes independent of the robot, test how many rubber bands it takes to balance a lift, design a skills path or game strategy, and practice driving. Also, if the ports are predetermined then the programmer can start coding even though the robot build isn’t finished.
  • Capability - Don’t underestimate the capability of your teammates. A lead builder / programmer should be able to instruct their team. Have your teammates do the work while you advise them. They learn, become more involved, and you build a stronger team. Also, most robots are symmetrical so have team members build the other half (mirror copy) of what you are building.
  • Modularity - Make it so the chassis has standard mounting points for the other components like the intake. If you can make it so a tray or a lift are easily removed then half your team can work on the intake while others work on the chassis. Your programmer can work on autonomous navigation while improvements are being made elsewhere.
  • Redundancy - You teammates should be trained so they understand all facets of the robot. If the lead builder or programmer can’t make an event then someone needs to be able to cover for them.

The other challenge is if you have teammates that want to hang out because you are friends but they really aren’t interested in competitive robotics. If that is the case then you may have to have a talk with them about their involvement. Otherwise they can be a detriment to a team.

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