09 Leadership Mini-Retreat

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Over the years lots of ideas have been thrown around in club. Some are good, some needed work, and some (mainly the ones involving sex toys and babies) are hilariously absurd. Sometimes these ideas get put action, and sometimes they fall to wayside.

For the 2009 Leadership Mini-Retreat we will discuss some ideas, some of which have been brought up before and some totally new. Then we will put those ideas to action!


One of the best forums for discussing many ideas amongst several equal parties is the round-table discussion. But often these sort of discussions can drag on for hours on end, especially when several topics are brought up and the participants are highly opinionated. One way to curb this issue is to impose a time limit on each topic. And one example of this sort of time-limited round-table is the ESPN show "Pardon the Interruption." (For those who don't watch ESPN go to here and watch here) Each of the participants has been given one of the topics below and will moderate an 8 - 10 minute discussion on that topic taking notes of what was said. A buzzer will be used to signal when its time to switch topics.

After the retreat each participant will take their topic and turn it into a semester long project. At the end of the semester we will celebrate the successful completion of each project!


  • Financial Software
    • Moderator: Paul V.
    • Project: Implement a new financial system
  • Who are the RoboJackets: Competitors, Volunteers/Mentors, Hobbyists, or all three?
    • Mick
    • Project: 2009 Mission statement and its promotion
  • Where do we see the club in 1, 5, even 10 years?
    • Janki
    • Project: 1 and 5yr plans
  • What are some of the best ways to manage our projects and project teams?
    • Phillip
    • Project: Team leader handbook/wiki
  • How can we recruit new members and what are our requirements/expectations ?
    • Jevawn
    • Project: Consult on a member handbook/wiki and recruitment
  • How can we make training accessible to members while keeping it easy to implement?
    • Roman
    • Project: Outline of topics for training. Training schedule and program
  • What keeps them coming back from more? Membership retention
    • BB's Jeremy
    • Project: New member handbook/wiki, recruitment, new member meetings
  • Managing our assets: Keeping track of our stuff and tool policy
    • Jake
    • Project: Asset management system
  • How would we spend $1,000,000,000? The RJ wishlist
    • Stefan
    • Project: Improvements to ME and EE rooms, wishlist
  • How can we make better use of the wiki and website
    • Andy
    • Project: Wiki and website facelift
  • How can we build better bots?
    • Aakash
    • Project: Report on current robots and what can be done to make them better

Some other topics if you don't really like yours

  • Club organization and creation of new positions
    • Project: Org chart with listing of each positions responsibilities
  • How can we build better bots?
    • Project: Report on current robots and what can be done to make them better
  • What makes RoboJackets fun?
    • Project: Making RoboJackets even more fun for more ppl
  • Growing new leaders
    • Phillip may take this one if not picked up
    • Project: Leadership Dev Kit
  • How can we meet deadlines?
    • Project: Recommendation report



  • Travel accounts for teams
    • Seperate Wachovia account

Mission Statement

  • Using website to promote club more
  • Being spread out in mission allows to cover more ground
  • Less focused on competition - excuse to educate ourselves
  • It'd be boring to focus on one competition
  • People want to join each of the different groups not RoboJackets (People join to be a part of a team)
  • If we killed all the projects we'd lose members
  • Refocus on smaller projects for learning - The hobbyist group end of the spectrun
  • Competitions provide a set metric for impressiveness and a set goal
  • Personal projects on the side
  • We shouldn't focus hard on one thing because that limits us and new leaders may want to do other things
  • We are lacking in the small project category and they need to generate good demos for companies
  • Small projects have the light at the end of tunnel
  • But a deadline really motivates
  • We should post the constitution
  • Club forms around the people who are in it but mission statement is fluid enough for that

1 5 and 10 yr plan

1 yr

  • More unity in the community
  • Better inventory

5 yr

  • More sponsors

10 yr

  • More Alumni
  • Better facility
  • New competitions
  • More support from the academic depts in the technical arena
  • We need to set-up a special problems class for RoboJackets in every dept
  • Class credit for RoboCup
  • Get set-up with RIM
  • Special problems is really loose. They can let anyone join
  • Work-in Dr. Ueda and others into group
  • Hobbyist and get credit
  • Deliverable like a paper would be good for us anyway
  • Kinda like research credit
  • RoboJackets Alumni Tailgates?
  • Have even a list of contact RoboJackets Alumni
    • Mailing list and contact info for Alumni

Project Management

  • Can be solved by external powers like advisors
  • Crack the whip from advisors
  • No substitute for coming to meetings
  • Motivation problem - How to get people to realize that they will get something out of RoboJackets
  • Give people little things they can work on
  • If you don't know anything do the training and then come back
  • But some are motivated

Recruitment and member expectations and training

  • Recruitment is not an issue, but more visibility on campus
  • We have no expectations out of members - they are expected to run away - self-fulling prophesy
  • Change what we do after initial recruitment
  • An interview (?)
  • New member placement
  • Team membership need report - split by task and complexity and task
  • Two ways to look at new members: Lack of confidence and lack of knowledge
  • Tell noobs to take courses - but not a good idea
  • Small projects and training
  • Project bank with 1 meeting goals and tangible outcomes
  • Pieces of large projects
  • Find the middle road
  • Using FIRST as training

Membership Retention

  • Don't be ass-holes


  • A room for each tool
  • Paint outline of where tool goes
  • Numbering tools
  • Cut down the tool shelf for Andy cause he is too tall
  • Keep more mechanical tools in EE room and in designated areas
  • More accountability, make ppl clean up
  • Tool Nazi
  • A singular tool box
  • EE room pegboard is killed
  • Sometime in the summer in


  • Make website like a tech blog
  • Promo page
  • Easy to find list of meeting times
  • New members info page
  • Homepage is be more homepage
  • One id to rule them all
  • New wiki
  • Very short about us with links to sub groups and their pages
  • Pictures lots of pictures
  • Member resources section
  • Calender and news feed
  • Detail is in member section
  • Website is the main marketing
  • Something that we are proud enough to point future employers to