One thing I would really encourage teams to do in their engineering notebooks is to document competitions. Documenting competitions is so important because it is involved with the testing step of the design process. Competitions are the perfect places to learn new things about your robot and learn from your mistakes.
When documenting competitions, you can split it into 3 sections:
A) The Competition Preparation Day
B) The Competition Day Itself
C) The Post-Competition Day
Competition Preparation Day
I always document the day before the competition. I discuss how we used our final day before a competition. During pages where I discuss the competition preparation day, I follow some of these guidelines:
- Establish a goal your team wants to get done by the end of the day. Do you want to finish autonomous? Master driver skills? Or fix an issue with the robot? Make it clear that you are using your time wisely to prepare for the competition.
- Breakdown your robot. Show to the notebook what robot you are competing with tomorrow. Break down the states of the robot and explain how you are feeling about the robot's performance so far.
- Have a packing-up checklist. The last thing you want to happen when going to a competition is realizing you forgot to bring something to the tournament. Always have a competition pack-up checklist in your notebook to keep everything organized and ready.
I always document the the competition itself. I discuss how the day went and each of the matches. During these pages , I follow some of these guidelines:
- Establish a goal for the competition. What are you guys trying to accomplish by the end of the competition? Qualify for States or Nationals? Get to Worlds? Get a high skills rank? Explain what your team's focus is and why you guys want to attain that goal.
- Do a pre-day brief. Explain how the robot works in the morning of a competition. Did any new problems arise? Did you pass inspection? Discuss these before the drivers meeting.
- Document all matches. Discuss each match, especially about how each one was. Did it go as expected? What strategies were used?
- Document anything for alliance selection. Always talk about who you will alliance with. Have you been talking to any teams? Do you plan on picking anyone?
- At the end, discuss any achievements you got. Did you guys get an award? Did you guys complete the main objective you guys originally were aiming for?
I always document after the competition. I recap anything that happened. During these pages , I follow some of these guidelines:
- Discuss your personal feelings about a competition. Did it go as planned? were you guys satisfied with the performance? What would you guys have changed?
- Discuss plans for the next competition. Based on this competition, how have your plans changed? What do you guys plan on doing in the future?