Overall Team Management
Our team is part of a much larger organization called the Fullmetal Falcons. The Fullmetal Falcons are a group of 5 FTC teams, the Fullmetal Kestrels, Fullmetal Peregrines, Fullmetal Phoenixes, Fullmetal Merlins, and the Semi-Platinum Penguins. Our members are both a part the Fullmetal Falcons and their FTC team. This advantages our team as we have the resources of a large group, combined with the flexibility of a more selective institution. In this way, the way our team manages itself and how the Fullmetal Falcons are managed are interlinked, this is called Overall Team Management.
We have completely overhauled our Team management structure this year. Our overall Team Management functions through a project management system. In this system we match a prospective student with a mentor, to achieve a specific goal or “project.” Our team resists pigeonholing members as in the past we have learned it is a deterrent to new members. This is part of the magic of creative chaos, that with a variety of projects new members can try out different ones and find what they like. This helps create bonds between the different areas of the team as they all work interconnected; during one part of the year, a member might work on a programming project, but in the summer will take on a leadership role for summer camp.
There are two main types of project managers, standing positions and seasonal projects. A standing position is a position on the team that has no specific end date and has year-round responsibilities, an example of this would be our FLL manager. A seasonal project manager only works on a project for a set time, usually a single season. They have laid out start times and end dates with specific goals they need to accomplish within this timeframe.
A discipline chief is the next step up from project manager. As our team continued to grow during this year, we realized that we need to expand our management and increase delegation. Our Captains were simply too far spread, so to cope we established 3 positions which each specialized in a different field (Outreach & Fundraising, CAD & Build, and Programming). The purpose of these Chiefs is to ensure that project management positions are staffed and that tasks are being completed. They serve as both specialists in their field which can give insight, as well as a buffer which prioritize what information to Captains. This enables us to reduce the workload on the captains, as well as increase team redundancy, by spreading out the decision-making process.
Captains and Mentors in Training (MIT) are the last level of our team. They organize not only just their FTC team but all of Xavier Robotics. They make sure that the system is running smoothly and handle behind the scenes work. In previous years, we had issues because we would have a Captain, who would become a MIT and then he would graduate and there would be no one to replace him. We would elect a new Captain but takes about a year for a Captain to learn how to handle the role, and during that time our team becomes disorganized. We have significantly changed, before differences between Captain and MIT were merely in name, now they have clear roles. Captains are now mini-me’s to the MITs (Mentors in Training) (Mentors in Training). This gives them a year to get the hang of running the team, while ensuring the Team has experienced leadership. There is now a set line of succession and training for our top leadership.