Why Do FRC Teams Succeed

Recently the team was asked to identify why teams fold by our county school board. We asked CD to help us answer their question and we collected a lot of good data. While we were writing up a blog post summarizing everything we had learned about why teams fail, we started to ask ourselves why do teams like FRC team 148, FRC team 254, FRC team 118, FRC team 1114 and others achieve such greatness year over year?  What are they doing that makes them great?  So we figured we would ask Chief Delphi to weigh in again and here is what we learned;

  • Over 80 people took a survey with 25 possible reasons why teams are successful and the top three reasons were;
    • They have access to a good machine shop (5+ manual tools and CNC tools)
    • They have a mentor for each technical discipline
    • They have access to a build space 30-60 hours a week
    • Here is a graph of the survey result
      suceced 1
    • The survey questions had several sets of questions that spoke to levels of a specific resource. Here are the top answers in the various resource levels.
      • Machine shop
        • They have access to a good machine shop (5+ manual tools and CNC tools) – 45 votes
        • They have access a sponsor who fabricates parts – 32 votes
        • They have access to a simple machine shop (5 or fewer manual tools) – 16 votes
      • Mentors
        • They have a mentor for each technical discipline – 38 votes
        • They have 1-3 great mentors – 33 votes
        • They have 6+ great mentors – 29 votes
        • They have 4-6 great mentors – 22 votes
        • They have a mentor for each admin position – 20 votes
      • Hours per week
        • They have access to a build space 30-60 hours a week – 37 votes
        • They have access to a build space 60+ hours a week – 35 votes
        • They have access to a build space 15-30 hours a week – 8 votes
      • Students
        • They have 30-60 students – 33 votes
        • They have 15-30 students -24 votes
        • They have 60+ students – 12 votes
      • School support
        • They have a lot of school support – 27 votes
        • They have school support – 24 votes
      •  Teachers
        • They have 1-3 great teachers – 23 votes
        • They have 6+ great teachers – 9 votes
        • They have 4-6 great teachers – 8 votes
      • Feeder Program
        • They have a feeder program that starts in middle school – 19 votes
        • They have a feeder program that starts in grade school – 11 votes
      • Budget
        • They have an annual operating budget of $100k+ – 18 votes
        • They have an annual operating budget of $60-$100k – 16 votes
        • They have an annual operating budget of $15-$30k – 9 votes

 

  • We also received over 20 written comments. Here are the top three reasons mentioned in those comments.
    • Passion
    • Dedicated mentors
    • Dedication
    • Here is a graph of reasons provided in comments
      succeed 2

 

  • Some of the comments spoke to different definitions of success.  Here are all of the ways the commenters defined success. Several commenters highlighted the fact that most of these are complimentary.
    • Winning at the national level events
    • Winning at the regional level events
    • Inspiring more students
    • Increasing team size
    • Increasing the % of areas students involved
    • Staying on budget
    • Staying on schedule
    • Convincing families to join and support school
    • Helping your school board get it
    • Team longevity
    • Winning blue banners
    • Winning trophies
    • Changing lives
    • Increasing STEM students
    • Making students better

 

In the end the team learned that there is a single definition of success – The teams who inspire more students, wins!!

FRC teams 148, 254, 118 and 1114 were called out in the original question because they have figured out how to inspire students all over the world. Based on the responses to our question, we have learned that they use their success to breed passion year over year by cultivate students who grow their program. The use their culture to push students, volunteers and community members to reach for excellence. And they use their leadership and their community’s leadership to make the significant resources that an FRC team needs to be successful at the highest levels available, so that their students can focus on learning how to achieve greatness.

We, as with many teams hope to emulate their success on and off the field, and thank everyone who responded to this survey. It was extremely enlightening and has allowed us to take a step back and think about how our team will achieve success.

More to come…..

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