We are a new middle school team,we have five team members.Our team has been experiencing problems regarding build ideas and bot designs for our competition in DC.Essentially we started with our own team then me and two others “seceded from the union” for a better cause.We believed that everyone has ideas that have a right to be tried.The Union on the other hand are sticking to there own ideas of an intake bot and wont change to try to incorporating other ideas or at least trying.We want to preserve our team.(EXTREMELY cliche I know)
Speaking from experience in team management issues and interpersonal arguments, there is always going to be a clash of ideas, and not every design is going to be the best one, but it’s our job as members of a team of young robotics engineers to come together as a group and choose the best decision for everyone on the team, and while sometimes differences and arguments can get in the way, we just have to remember that everyone is committed to the team’s success, even if they have different ideas on how to achieve that success.
VEX is so much more than just building robots. We all learn skills that will help us be successful in both the competition AND real life, one of which is cooperation.
Nothing succeeds like success, and if you’re able to build an alternate design on the side (without taking apart the “main” robot) and show how well it works, you may be able to convince the others. Does your team have enough spare parts (even old, outdated ones) that would allow you to build a prototype? You don’t need to build a whole robot – just the intake idea you have, and it doesn’t even have to be the “right” size, if it works on similar objects.
Talk is cheap, but it’s hard to argue with a working model that’s more effective than the alternative.
Do you have a mentor or teacher who can help everyone openly discuss the pros and cons of each design idea?
Do you have a mentor or teacher who can serve as a dictator in the event your team’s democracy crumbles to the ground?
If it’s a Toss Up game, can you sift through the competition results and look up photos and/or videos of those winning teams on the internet and do a somewhat crude statistical analysis of which types of designs tend to do better?
I haven’t been involved with Vex for very long but my own observation is that compared to the social and personality conflicts that arise within teams, working out technical details is a total breeze. It seems that getting people to work together is theeee most difficult task of all. Learn the delicate art of how to work with all types of people, especially difficult ones, and you will become the master of the universe.
Also, I’ve learned there’s a lot of truth in something President Truman once said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. ”