Team Organization

Team organization is one of the most important parts of a team. Without good organization, teams find it difficult to raise money and make decisions, which negatively impacts their performance at competitions.

Design and Construction
There is often much debate among members of the FRC about what role the students and adult mentors play in the teams. There is a wide spectrum of levels of involvement, from teams not even having mentors to the mentors actively designing and building the robot with student assistance. These two ends of the mentor-involvement spectrum are discussed below. Note that although there are teams that take a 100% student designed, student built philosophy and are teams that leave design and construction entirely to adult mentors, almost all teams fall somewhere in between.

Engineer-Centric Teams
Engineer centric teams are teams where the adult mentors from the community are in charge of much of the design and construction process. These teams take the philosophy that since FIRST is about inspiration and glorifying engineering, then the students on the team will be most inspired by seeing real-world engineers build a construct a very competitive robot. This way, the students will see everything that is possible with an engineering education and may be inspired to enter into an engineering field.

Engineer centered-teams are often criticized by more student-focused teams as having an unfair advantage. Some say that since students do not get to participate as fully in the design and construction phase as they would on a student-focused team, then the students might not fully understand all that is involved, and enter engineering with a false impression of what is involved.

Student-Centric Teams
Student-centered teams take the philosophy that students will learn more about science and engineering by designing and building the robot themselves. Student-centered teams often have very few mentors (possibly not by choice) that play a much more passive role in the design. On these teams, the mentors would allow the students to design and build quite freely, stepping in if they see a potential problem such as an unreliable, expensive, unnecessary, or difficult to fabricate component.

In general, student centric teams often perform slightly worse in competition than engineer-centric teams, as the teams often have designs that are less competitive than ones where the mentors played a larger role. Especially in their rookie year, teams tend to make design and construction mistakes that reduce their ability to play that year's game. Critics of the fully Student-centered paradigm say that students may become discouraged and believe that they aren't cut out to be engineers, thus reducing the inspirational role of the competition. Further, students may not be exposed to a full spectrum of engineering tools or processes.