Hey guys, through the course of our 2015-2016 Vex Robotics year, we’ve established a new system to hopefully maximize efficiency in the workplace. Our chart describes the four groups: Grafters, Geeks, UAV’s, and Retweets, that make up Har-Ber Robotics. Crafters are primarily in charge of the fabricating and the design of our robot. However everyone on the team contributes to robot in some way. Geeks are in charge of programming the robots. UAV’s work on communications and reconnaissance such as scouting at competitions, youtube, and yours truly, the vex forum. The UAV’s research help in the design of our robot. Finally, we have the Retweets who are in charge of photography, videography, and website management. In addition, each one of these groups contains a faction captain that reports to the main captain. Each one of the group leaders will take on an apprentice that are to be trained in the area of expertise during the competition year. Right now, our Juniors are taking on our new Sophomore team members for apprentices. Some teams already follow a system similar to ours, but we believed this chart would be a good outline for new teams becoming involved in Vex Robotics for the first time.
We would very much appreciate some feedback as to what the Vex Community thinks of this division of labor system, and if it’s something your team may want to take on and try for yourselves. If you decide to try the system, let us know how it works. Thanks in advance!
I like it. It’s kind of like the system I use. I usually make the people who can’t do anything the one’s who clean up or manage the pit area. You know the brainless jobs like plugging in batteries, or keeping track of the schedule.
Some people cannot complete easy tasks like this whenever we ask them to.
I like this method, though, we already follow this with a team of 4. Except, I am pretty much everything, and the other members are UAVs and Crafters. I am currently training our 1st year students to replace me next year, or the year after that.
You have the jobs perfectly laid out but it is more of the team’s personnel shifting into those roles at times over being the only thing they do in the club.
We limit our team sizes to five as the roles for the non-builders are limited for much of the season. I have 2/3 middle schoolers 1/3 high schoolers. Our goals may be different too. Ours is to maximize the learning per individual to maximize exposure of the entire process vs specialization and excelling at that element to build a awesome robot. In FRC you need that but Vex is more accessible to learn the whole thing. We want to maximize the brain usage per person and ability to contribute to their robot. It does not always work out, but our retention and growth rate is phenomenal. www.vexmen.com/teams (that’s last years’ group so imagine it 40% larger for the teams listed below)
So in our group most everyone is a builder most of the time as it engages them the most and encourages the most thinking and learning by designing and building the robot. It also takes a long time to get the robot right. The builder role is generally the controlling factor in Vex vs FRC where you need many types of builders to work on subsystems that are expected to be integrated vs Vex where the subsystems are additive in a small space. There’s not much room to have the arm or drive subsystems to be off on their own. This year especially so as you can’t generally expand past 18".
Programming is in earnest when the robot is actually built to a degree. One person per team generally handles this because of interest primarily but some teams will have two folks programming. But time to start that is a few weeks/months into the build.
Scouting occurs at 4-5 events per year, not the week to week meetings although they could do a lot more review of match results and video. We have teams that do more of this than others but it is the feedback loop into the builders that is the important part here. So the influence of these folks to the build and programming decisions would be very important.
I wish we had more retweet folks but with enough people to be working on the robot to not have idle hands and typically then getting disengaged or in trouble horsing around. We generally have one person managing the design notebook and associated materials for their robot only. There’s been an arms race of escalation of design notebooks locally too to get that coveted design award or excellence award to qualify for worlds. But community and reaching out beyond the robot is not generally part of this. Selfishly thinking of their own robots I guess.
I personally am the Captain of the Retweets, I strongly agree with what you are saying. Most of the time I find that me and my apprentice are always doing something. A lot of the time we aren’t even working on what our job is specifically. Yes we have the Division of Labor, but it limiting our team members. So say their isn’t anything to do in the retweets, we have all the footage and pictures we need. The website as well as the engineers notebook are up-to-date. There really wouldn’t be anything for us to do in our Division. So at this point is when we would branch out from our division for a short while to go around and help each division with everything we need help with. This has proven to be efficient for us and has seemed to work just fine for the time being. It insures that each member of the team is always working on something, whether or not it is without our division.
I am open to questions if anyone needs to contact me.
To further iterate on my fellow Captain’s behalf, everyone works on the robot. Even though there is our different factions, everyone actually contributes to the fabrication of the robot. If we let the groups to only work in their area of expertise, we wouldn’t have our team members learning much about robotics as a whole. The reason why we believe this division of labor system is useful is because it plays to the strengths of every member on the team. It makes us a more successful and stronger team. In addition, it is the first year that Har-Ber Robotics is up and running. However, our Juniors and a few of our sophomores have been involved in Vex robotics in the Junior High’s that feed into the Har-Ber High hitherto. We currently have only one team that consists of 10 members because we only have the funds for one robot. Furthermore, robotics has taken a big interest in our school with about 2400 students, so we needed to find a division labor system that would allow for a decent amount of people to join without it being too much. We wouldn’t be able to actually just limit our team to 5 people. However, I completely agree on everyone being educated with everything that revolves around the construction of a robot and robotics team. This is knowledge and learning experience is crucial and needed for things like presentations for judges at competitions, school board members, and even robotics competitions. We believe that everyone should have a thorough understanding of the robot. Even though we are bigger than your average robotics team, we still are cognizant of the fact that everyone needs to understands everything that goes into building a robot.