How should I start off my notebook? (Summer without teammates)

#1

For the summer, I wanted to get a good start on my engineering notebook by analyzing the game, strategizing, and brainstorming different ideas. I don’t have the option to choose any teammates until school starts again.

This leaves me with a problem: I don’t have any idea of how I should approach my engineering notebook for the summer months. I have a few concerns, and it would be great if people could weigh in on them:

-If I choose to start writing in the summer, I can’t have a team introduction and roles section at the beginning of the notebook, which seems to be the preferred format. Would it be just fine to put that section later in the notebook when I have teammates? I don’t think that there’s a hard, specified format for it, but I think I could be docked points somehow.
-I know that I should try to work with my team for as much of the design process as possible. To what extent should I work on the design without my teammates in the summer? (I was thinking of doing game analysis, brainstorming, and strategizing.)
-When school starts again, should I just do a faster version of the steps that I already did, but with my teammates this time?

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#2

I recommend these other threads on similar topics:

https://vexforum.com/t/starting-new-season-without-teammates-engineering-notebook/48389/1
https://vexforum.com/t/engineering-notebook-tips-selection-and-strategy/48124/1
https://vexforum.com/index.php/conversation/post/260055
https://vexforum.com/t/2915a-engineering-notebook-2016/34746/1

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#3

Even though those threads talk around the topics I listed, I still can’t definitively answer my questions from using them. I can make guesses (listed below), but I would love definite answers from someone else.

I’ll simplify my questions for anyone else who wants to take a shot:
-Will I be docked points if my team section isn’t at the beginning? (My guess: Probably not, the rubric doesn’t say it has to be at the beginning. However, judges might not like it.)
-How much work should I do without my teammates? (My guess: Game analysis, brainstorming, and strategizing. This is work that can be easily appended on, and it won’t be a problem if I do it without my teammates. Probably.)
-Once I have teammates, should I start the design process over again with them? (My guess: It sounds right, but that is a lot of reworking. Do I have to? What amount of reworking would be appropriate?)

By the way, the first 2 threads are mine hehe
Maybe I am just bad at asking questions, but I really hope someone can come along and give me the clarification I need.

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#4

Start making your notebook. You should not be docked points. Make sure you ask your team members about their thoughts. Pick their brains when they join because they may have ideas you haven’t thought of. Since the design process is iterative, you will start over anyways.

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#5

If you don’t have any teammates yet and you have to wait until school starts to get teammates as well as to be able to build, I would suggest that you don’t write in the notebook and wait until school starts to ensure that your information is relative to the opinions of your teammates.

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#6

Very good points, thanks for your response.

I wanted to start now because I wanted to keep track of ideas for this season as they came to me. Perhaps I could write them down somewhere else, and just bring them up in the meetings when school starts? Or I could limit myself to 4 or 5 entries for the summer so that formal entries start sooner, and my book doesn’t fill up with summer content. What do you think would work the best?

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#7

If you want to wait until school starts then that is fine. I completely agree that you should write down your ideas know though. That will make sure you won’t get docked points and allow you to keep your ideas and go through a portion of the design process before you start school.

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#8

I think I have a really good idea now:
When the game was released a couple of months ago, I made sketches and wrote ideas. I can just continue to make more sketches and concepts (writing dates on them for later). When the brainstorming and design meetings start, I will glue the sketches and concepts in my notebook and explain that they were from summer. I’ll commentate and expound on them in the meetings we have.

This way, I get to make progress in the summer, and include it in my notebook after school starts. It would be chronological, as the date for the entry would be the date of the actual meeting. I think pasting in notes from the past would be perfectly acceptable, as long as I used them in the meeting and expounded on them.

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#9

great approach! I’ve seen it by many teams that bring ideas to their design process at the beginning of their formal season.

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#10

Thanks! I am really happy. I am glad that I could find such a good compromise.

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#11

MY GOD. I am also working in the summer pretty much without teammates. I think I’m a bit late to reply but give me a try. So I started working 2 weeks ago and I did the analysis etc. and I wrote in the engineering about it putting it in a “we thought…” and “we did…” and then I started to build some prototypes. Just some random bits and pieces to test out. Then I started on the robot itself with the “we” in the engineering notebook. I still text teammates and ask for advices / ideas etc.

I wish you the best of luck this season!

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