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Thread: FSAE Project Management

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    San Francisco Bay Area, California USA
    Again I am happy to contribute. I think a lot of what would be most useful to teams already exists in one form or another. It would be interesting to see if an organization like PMI (Project Managment Institute, www.pmi.org) has materials on fundementals of project management that could be used as a foundation with alumni contributing FSAE specific contect.

  2. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Birmingham, England
    Just filled it out and realised how completely f'ing inadequate we were :-) Essentially our team was 5 core guys and a load of people who found us completely unapproachable!

    That moment you step back and realise how much you didn't know even as a final year FSAE team member is quite amazing.

    I think my response to "Do you have a Gantt chart?" in 2003 would have been "No - obviously. Does a Gantt chart make the car go faster?" Hopefully I've matured a little :-)

    Great project Amanda - looking forward to the results.

    Tyre Analysis Engineer - Caterham F1 Team
    Alumnus of University of Birmingham
    www.ubracing.co.uk and Formula Student Design Judge

  3. #23
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by ben:

    Does a Gantt chart make the car go faster?"

    Ben </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    LOL Thanks Ben, I think this is the problem with most teams, you really don't see how ineffective your being until you take a good step back and study yourself. The first thing I did for this project was do a critical review of the teams past, as the 06 team leader it was interesting (and difficult) to see what I did wrong

    Alan - yes I completely agree with you, I have alot of information from PMI and other sources on how we should do everything, but getting FSAE specific views on this from a variety of sources will help to reinforce that this is not just mumbo jumbo designed to annoy people and to make it relevant and interesting to current FSAE'ers

    BTW: I will be closing the survey at 5pm 24/8 Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is 3am 24/8 on this forum (I think).

    UQ Racing
    Team Manager 2006
    HR Manager 2008

    A brilliant design that is not finished on time is useless. A simple design that has been properly developed is a better exercise in engineering.
    --carroll smith

  4. #24
    I also filled out the survey.

    You guys are definitely not alone. For the past two years I have spent 60+ hours per week in the shop, and usually had 1 or 2 people that would do that with me. I also had 1 or 2 people that were just as dedicated and serious about it, but had jobs, family, etc. that took up much of their time. So on average we had 4-5 core guys and 2-3 guys who could help out.

    That is a pretty big contrast to the turnouts we have for the first week of fall semester. Usually our first meeting is 25-35 people. We spend weeks or maybe a month talking about organization (inevitably the organization/structure/schedule of the previous year didn't work or didn't exist). I think that our drop-out rate is due primarily to the incompetency of new team members and the lack of quality management. New team members are incompetent if they come in with no prior experience. There are not any classes that teach students to be competent mechanical designers. They become lost and frustrated and are over their head, they become embarrassed and quit. Maybe we need to find ways to train people ourselves, and have better resources at their disposal.

    One person can't do it all, and I am far more enthusiastic about designing race cars than I am about management.
    MoTeC Systems East
    UNC Charlotte FSAE (06-09)

  5. #25
    One thing I'd like to add to oz_olly's list is that project managers should always be a few steps ahead of those they are directing. Ideally, one should always have an answer for anyone in their group to the question, "What do I do next?" I feel that this sense of direction and forethought, along with the ability to push team members while maintaining a positive and respectful relationship, are the two hardest but most important things for someone in a managerial position.

  6. #26
    Hey guys,

    Just thought I would give you some stats from the survey, I had 100 responses in 9 days.

    Of those teams surveyed:
    <UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>The average team size was 15-19 members
    <LI>With an average of 5-9 core members.
    <LI>On average teams consisted of 4-8 new members, 4-8 2nd year members, &lt;3 3rd yr members and &lt;3 4th year members and no 5th or higher year members.
    <LI>Issues in FSAE ranging from most difficult to least were: time management, knowledge loss, procrastination, accountability, managing members, gaining sponsorship, university bureaucracy, retaining members, internal conflicts, integrating design, and attracting new members.

    <LI>72% of teams are completely run by students
    <LI>46% are run democratically
    <LI>61% have formal structure and clear chain of command
    <LI>31% have regular social activities
    <LI>39% are in regular contact with alumni
    <LI>No teams answered strongly agree to having understudies/2IC's for section heads, 20% answered agree
    <LI>82% of teams section heads don't provide regular written reports on progress
    <LI>52% of teams section heads provide regular oral reports on progress
    <LI>45% of teams have a detailed schedule
    <LI>26% of teams adhere to a schedule and track progress throughout the year.

    <LI>27% have member selection criteria
    <LI>31% interview new members
    <LI>16% have new member information booklet
    <LI>56% have new member inductions/training
    <LI>68% do tools training
    <LI>36% do design training
    <LI>38% have role descriptions for management positions
    <LI>11% have handover booklets for management positions
    <LI>34% have succession plans
    <LI>18% do member performance reviews
    <LI>58% have a Gantt chart
    <LI>44% have a Work Brakedown Structure (WBS)
    <LI>33% have a team forum
    <LI>10% have a team wiki
    <LI>88% have a team email group
    <LI>78% have a file share
    <LI>31% have design guidelines or manuals
    <LI>10% have an asset register
    <LI>Of those who do have the above, the majority of teams use these tools either never or occasionally, other than email groups and file shares both of which 50% of teams use regularly.
    <LI>Most teams indicated if these tools were available they were either inadequate or could improve.[/list]I want to give a big thank you to everyone who participated in this survey and especially to those who gave some fantastic comments.
    UQ Racing
    Team Manager 2006
    HR Manager 2008

    A brilliant design that is not finished on time is useless. A simple design that has been properly developed is a better exercise in engineering.
    --carroll smith

  7. #27
    Amanda, I'm impressed and very interested in your work. I think it will help many teams. I've PM'd you, if you could please respond.


  8. #28
    As the author of:


    I'd be interested in what you come up with.

    - Dick

  9. #29
    Concerning Project/ Quality/ Knowledge Management in Formula Student teams:


    Ecurie Aix, Formula Student Team RWTH Aachen, member 2005-2009

  10. #30
    So does anyone know if Amanda ever put all of this research together? I would bev very interested to read what she came up with.

    On the collaboration of FSAE alumni on a team management/ project management document, I think it would be a great idea. This is a topic that would probably suit a Wiki or something like that more than the purely technical stuff.


    ACME Racing

    Academy Racing 04-07, 09-11

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