Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Braxton SC1

Chapter 1: Sutherland explains the 80/20 rule: 80% of the value often comes from 20% of the work.  In the last year of FRC, what were some of the 20% jobs that added tremendous value to the team?

In our team's last year, some of the 20% jobs that brought an immense amount of value to the team include our cam iterations. These small pieces of metal allowed our bot to lift, hold, and release totes and bins, so there were instrumental to our entire strategy. Our work on the cams my not have been the most exhaustive of anything on the robot, but certainly brought a lot of value by making our entire strategy possible.

Chapter 1: At the end of every sprint (2 weeks in this case), the Sentinel team presented a working demo to stakeholders across the FBI.  Why is this necessary and important to do?

This is an important and necessary function to the Sentinel team because these stakeholders re going to be the product's primary users, and their input is extremely important for the project. In addition to this, the two weeks of development is long enough for tangible progress to be realistically made, as well as short enough to prevent a large amount of waste to possibly be produced. The development team can then collaborate with the users and improve the product based on their suggestions.

Chapter 2: "OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act)", "inspect and adapt", and "PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act)" are all getting at the same core idea.  Explain this idea and how it relates to the way a team functions.

The idea that both OODA and PDCA are trying to get at is that of the fabled agile development, where teams should take in their surroundings and situation, plan accordingly, and then act upon that plan and information. After you act, you should reflect upon your actions, to see how you can improve. This is very relatable to teams, as they should follow this process when developing a product.

Chapter 2: Explain how we would implement the paper airplane example to practice a OODA cycle at a team meeting.  What would be the point?

The paper airplane idea could be implemented at a team meeting in several ways, one of which would be having everyone divide into small groups, and work on a task such as CADing a model of a part, assembling a piece, or, as we've done in the past, build marshmallow-and-toothpick towers. The point of these exercises, aside from the ambiguous concept of 'team-building', would allow the entire team to become knowledgeable on a part or process, and for everyone to give input, which could lead to new ideas being brought to the table. 

Chapter 3: The best teams are transcendent, autonomous, and cross-functional.  In your OWN words, what does this actually look like on an FRC team?  It may help to reference examples from the West Point, NPR, and Special Forces case studies.

On an FRC team, being able to be transcendent, autonomous, and cross-functional is extremely valuable. An FRC team that meets all three of these criteria would be similar to that of the special forces team, where each member knows how to perform another's job, in the event they are unable to do so. This kind of cross-functionality on an FRC team would be  valuable asset, as team members could still program autonomous, design in CAD, or wire the electronics board even if the people who normally do these things are gone. An autonomous team would be able to know what needs to be accomplished on that day and how to accomplish it without a long meeting. Finally,  transcendent team would be able to fluidly move through all of the motions of design, construction, and testing without hitting any roadblocks that could have been prevented.


In this first part of the book, I read about the origins of scrum, and just what scrum is, as well. I read about the ideal size of a team, and bout how much more efficient scrum is as compared to the waterfall method. I learned about the traits that are present in the ideal team, and bout the value of just 20% of work put into a product.


  1. Sorry to bug you with 2 comments but i will not be able to participate for a couple weeks.

    In the case of the FBI, I think that 2 weeks is ok for stake holders. In the case of a 6 week build season, especially when many hours are put in on the weekend, I propose that the students consider 3 stake holder meetings. At the friday night supper, sat lunch and sat dinner (assuming a similar schedule). I think it does a couple things. One a lot of work can be done in a half of a day especially during the design phase. Periodic reviews keep the waste down. Or on the flip side, a lot of work can go undone so having a stakeholders meeting sharpens the focus. A key will be to keep the meeting prep to a minimum utilizing something like a design log book.

  2. "ambiguous concept of team building"

    It is a good point, as a scout leader I also facilitate team building exercises not realizing that it might be an ambiguous concept of how it applies to the skills that the team needs to do a job. Awesome challenge for those creating team building exercises. I am sure Coach P does an awesome job making the actives FIRST related so I am not saying that the FRC team building is ambiguous, just mine might have been.

  3. I agree that the cams brought a lot of value for our strategies.