Management is an important part of any multi-person operation, without it the efficiency is reduced.  One important thing to note however is that no matter what titles anyone on the team has everyone is equal and deserves respect. There is no hierarchy on a high school robotics team, nobody is more important than someone else, however it becomes necessary to have an organizational system. For many teams this means establishing captains or a leadership team that oversees the teams progress.

Captain(s): The use of captains has many benefits and a few drawbacks. The benefits of having Captains is that there is a primary person to go to if a team member has a question and that captain will either have the answer or be knowledgeable and know who would have better information. The captain organizes the team, they are the one(s) that plan the meetings and make sure the team is running smoothly without friction between team members and they also keep the team on track and on schedule. The problem with the use of captains is that a lot of the weight falls on them in last minute decisions. For the rest of the team it is sometimes a negative because less people have the authority, for some teams it is best to have “departments”.

Department Heads: For some teams the use of departments and focus groups is the most beneficial solution because it gets all sections of the team respresented in leadership. This way you could have a group of builders headed by one team member, and a group of programmers headed by another team member etc. This makes it possible for those “department heads” to meet on a regular basis and see how each section of the team is working and whether they are staying on track. The issue with this set-up is that for smaller teams many people serve more than one fucntion on the team making this management style useless.

These are two common management methods but they do not work for all teams. For some teams a combination of these ideas work. For others there is no need for a management set-up; this is common in small teams. In the end it is mainly about figuring out what works for the team. Just remember the biggest key to management is making sure that everyone respects one another regardless of any leadership position.

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