DEWBOT VIII Season Post-Mortem

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The DEWBOT VIII Season Post-Mortem was conducted on 25 July 2012. The team has begun to employ root cause analysis (Ishikawa) to enhance post-mortem improvement plans.

Post-Mortem Attendees

Students: Andrew, Sasha, Doug, Molly, Kira, Mike, Pat D, Yahya, Ian, Jack, Ken
Mentors: Clem McKown, Ben Kellom, Gary Deaver, Rita Wall, Siri Maley (in absentia: Julie Christopher)
Facilitator: Siri Maley

Successes

  • Best record ever!

Improvements

  • Student Interest
Some students have expressed lack of engagement at competitions and disappointment in their roles. Unfortunately we're getting to the point when we have more people than currently critical does. We're looking to (enumerated further below):
  • Implement a more interesting and effective data collection & strategy program
  • Rotate students through the pit crew at the fall off-seasons
  • Offer more exciting and engaging match watching experiences
  • Further separate the pit crew and drive team to allow both to better focus at events and provide more opportunities
  • Introduce volunteer opportunities for students (starting with an unrelated event, but potentially open to interested students at events we attend)
  • Examine opportunities for other roles, including team liaisons
  • Enhance at-event spirit and fun while staying safe and positive!
  • Fundraising & Business Plan
Develop a full and articulate business plan. Continue grant applications (POC: Kulik et al), work for FLL events netting an FRC profit (POC: Rita) and add and continue other standard fundraisers. Students have expressed interest in a long-term fundraiser as well.
  • Recruiting
Conduct further in-school demos and outreach, continue working with organizations including alternative schooling and boy scouts, enhance recruiting from the FIRST/DAR pipeline (POC: Debbie, Rita, John, Clem et al). We're implementing a more engaging summer program for veterans and new recruits to enhance retention and provide better training in areas of student interest (POC: Siri, Julie C).
  • Expand volunteering and outreach
Many students have expressed interest in volunteering at both FRC and FLL events, in addition to several mentors that already do so. We will be volunteering at FLL events on November 17 and December 8 (POC: Rita), and are pursuing volunteer opportunities at FRC events potentially including September 15 (POC: Siri). We are continuing our current outreach events and pursuing further opportunities (POC: Rita et al).
  • Embrace our "Niche" & Lower the STDEV and Up the Mean
We consider our "niche" to be a multi-tool jack of all trades (aka Jersey/MAR style play) with the intellect and strategic foresight/adaptability to change quickly between them. Find ways to effectively plan for and market this throughout the season, from Kickoff-day strategy to IRI alliance selection, including incorporating it into our functional goals and game perspectives and infusing it in our motto, logo, media and promotional material (POC: Gary et al). Ensure we preform strongly and consistently in each area we perform in (POC: Siri, Ian).
  • Pit Personnel & Image
Embrace the necessity of having the required--and only the required--people in the pit for safety, efficiency, inter-team cooperation, positive image, and scouting & strategy coordination. We've developed a new method to test at Duel on the Delaware (POC: Molly, Siri). Generally make the pit more friendly to scouts and visitors with better displays as well as "road signs" directing scouts to the practice field or indicating our match time (POC: Molly, Media).
  • Awards
Though this was our strongest season record ever, it was also the first year since 2009 that we didn't win a single (official) engineering award. We've identified several factors behind this and are working to enhance our presentation to award judges, both in engineering (Clem et al) and non-technical awards.
  • Scouting
Test and implement a more comprehensive and engaging scouting program (POC: Ian, Siri, David).
  • Website
Make the website easier and more inviting to current and prospective members, other teams, FIRSTers and non-FIRSTers alike. Retain the strong content of the wiki, but supply a better splash page/front end and navigation (POC: Ken).

Goals (Student)

  • Scholarships
  • Career Paths & Skills
  • Lasting Friends / Someplace to Come Back to
  • Public Speaking
  • Cross-Training (including welding, design, milling)
  • Win!

Specific Plans

  • Mini robot project (See TouchdownTango)
  • Drive straight in auton (lets try the bridge!)
  • More people learn programming & electrical
  • Let's design!!