Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jacob 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?
We had a few small items that had huge impacts on our bot including the cams, the slants on the guide rails, and a few other things. The cams were extremely small and relatively simple, but without them or even with the first version of them our bot would have been nonfunctional.  The slants on the guide rails allowed us to get the first tote flat and relatively center and fixed our yellow tote problem, but they were a late addition that would have helped immensely earlier on.
  • 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 core idea is that you need to check that what you are doing is making progress towards a true end and pivot if it is not.  All three end with action of some sort; whether this is to change what you are doing or to encourage your team to keep at it, you must make a decision based on what you have observed.  In teams this is used to keep moving in a good direction.  When a team understands what went wrong/right in a scenario and takes action to improve, they become faster and more efficient.
  • 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?
We would break down into small groups with less than 7 people per and then assign a task.  Time would be set aside for planning, doing, and thinking over how things went and then the process would be repeated again.  The point of this would be to teach students the basic principles of Scrum while building team  bonds and morale.
  • Chapter 3: What evidence does Sutherland bring up when justifying a focus on team improvement over individual improvement?  Do you think that should apply to our FRC team?  In what cases does it not?
The largest evidence that Sutherland brings forward is in how the best teams compare to the worst teams which has a ratio much greater than 10:1 (the comparison of best vs. worst students in a college class).  Sutherland also points to how much teams can accelerate their pace while a single person has their limits.  I think that focusing on team improvement to our team should be incredibly important since we can't rely on one person to get everything done.  The only case I can think of where this principle would not be true would be in single person sports since a single great person can win on their own.
  • 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.
The best kind of FRC team realizes that the purpose of their team is to introduce to and teach people about STEM and works towards that goal with a good robot being a side effect (a nice side effect) of the learning.  This kind of team lets the students test and make decisions based on their results that affect the robot directly.  Lastly, in a great team, everyone has a basic understanding of what everyone else is doing and knows what they are all working towards.  This would be a great FRC team and would exhibit transcendent, autonomous, and cross-functional characteristics.
  • Summary
I learned a few things about scrum and how it works such as what a sprint is and how scrum came to be.  I also learned about small teams being efficient, the waterfall method and why not to use it, and how inefficiently teams have been working because "that's the way it's always been done".


  1. Since you're calling a good robot a side effect, does that mean your goal for the team would be one that focuses on public outreach over producing a robot?

    1. Not in the slightest; I was trying to say that FRC is about teaching students about STEM principles and if a student is educated well in these principles they would obviously make a better robot.