Team Roles

Last updated: Sep 22, 2020 at 10:51am
Resource title Roles Resource allocation
System Integrators Product and team integration 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Financial Officers Managing budget 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Information Officers Interface to librarian 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Safety Officers Product and team safety 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Yoda Officer Facilitate teamwork excellence 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Video Log Officer Capture the team's learning experience 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Task Forces Ad-hoc tasks Defined by teams as needed
Course Instructor Set course vision Supports all class participants
Course TAs and Admin Assistance 3, available to all teams
Team Instructors Technical managers 1 per section, giving 2 per team
Communication Instructors Communication consultants 1 per team
Lab Staff Prototyping experts 4, available to all teams
Librarian Aid in finding resources 1 per class
Meta Yoda Coach to team Yodas 1 per class
Team Mentors Project consultants ~4 per team

System Integrators

There are two systems integrators per team (one per section). In the first team meeting all students interested in this role should be identified. Then, each interested person should have one week in the position before a section vote is made to choose the integrator for the rest of the term. After the convergence, when the two sections reunite as one team and members decide on one product concept, it is customary for the two system integrators to continue on and cooperate in the role.

The system integrators will assume a number of coordination and integration functions during the project, from both a project management and technical design viewpoint. While they are not the owners of the design vision (the team is), they are the hub of team communication. (Note: All team members should actively share ideas, information, and feedback and not expect the SI to always elicit or motivate it.) The system integrators will have management responsibilities that include:

  • Coordinating weekly team meetings, agendas, and goals.
  • Structuring the process to define task forces.
  • Ensuring that the meeting minutes and team's Slack workspace is properly maintained.
  • Facilitating communication within and between team task forces.
  • Forming and maintaining the overall project schedule in consultation with the team lab instructors.
  • Spearheading the development of the product contract and specifications.
  • Forming and maintaining a system image of the product as it is designed.
  • Helping with the physical integration of product subsystems.

Financial Officers

Each team has two financial officers (one per section) who track expenditures and monitor the project budget. The financial officers also ensure that purchases follow ethical guidelines (to be discussed in class). Team financial officers will be selected during the first team meeting.

Financial officers are responsible for initiating the process of purchasing project materials (team credit card or purchase order) and reimbursements. The financial officers will have a team credit card in their name.

Financial officers are expected to keep receipts, keep an accounting ledger for the project, and be prepared to provide a budget status report at each team meeting. Each week they will update an expenditures spreadsheet (.xlsx) documenting all charges—credit card, requests for payments, and requests for reimbursements. The spreadsheets may also be reviewed by lab instructors during weekly staff meetings.

In many cases the financial officers also play a lead role in product cost modeling.

Information Officers

Information officers (two per team, one per section) are the primary contacts who work with the course librarian to facilitate secondary research, helping team members obtain any information or relevant standards that the team needs. The information officers should also take responsibility for observing team meetings, paying careful attention to note when decisions are difficult or arbitrary due to insufficient background information, and bring this issue to the attention of the team. They should help with sharing information, monitoring team use of information technology, and proposing ways to use the technology more effectively. In many instances the information officers will help integration officers by recording and maintaining team minutes, or designating other team members to record and maintain minutes in both task force and team meetings.

It is also expected that the information officer will play a significant role in research related to the development of your team's business model, along with financial officers and other team members.

Safety Officers

Each team has two safety officers (one per section), elected during the first team meeting, who assist shop staff with monitoring working conditions within the team space and reminding teammates or instructors about safety issues when dangerous practices are observed. Safety officers will also be responsible for reminding teammates to follow 2.s009 safety procedures, including PPE guidelines and safe tool handling procedures. Additionally, the officers will identify safety issues related to their team's product and conduct research to identify relevant regulations or standards. They should obtain and post material safety data sheets (MSDS) in the team area for potentially dangerous materials.

The safety officers will meet for a tutorial with the department EHS Presenter near the start of the term.

Yoda Officer

Each team has two Team Yodas (one per section) who monitor work distribution, individual engagement, and team dynamics.  Team Yodas will be selected during the first team meeting.

The Team Yodas’ ultimate purposes are to promote balance and productive engagement within the team and to assist members in reaching their full potentials.  They may fulfill these duties by acting as a mediator or an active listener, or by supporting individuals in voicing their needs to the team While Yodas can act as a team resource for any interpersonal conflicts, they should be particularly sensitive to any and all imbalances due to team member identity, including (but not limited to) gender, race, or religion. 

Team Yodas are encouraged to work closely with System Integrators to identify opportunities for a) improvement in the division of labor and b) students who wish to expand their knowledge and capabilities to do so.  With guidance from mentors, Team Yodas should both proactively and passively engage with team members to discuss ways to optimize their 2.009 experiences.

Team Yodas are expected to keep track of their observations on team dynamics and of their role-related interactions with team members in their notebooks.  They may be called upon by System Integrators and/or lab instructors and/or the course instructor following class milestones and team review surveys to provide recommendations on how to address weaknesses in team operations.

Team Yodas will have periodic meetings throughout the term with the Meta Yoda (our Yoda coach) during the term. The meetings will be scheduled once all team Yoda officers are appointed.

Video Log Officers

Each team has two Video Log Officers (one per section) to document their team’s learning experience in video. Vloggers should be passionate about video, and interested in learning and developing their craft. Vloggers will gain experience in cinematography, documenting team progress and conducting interviews of teammates. Video Log Officers will be selected by the team during the first team lab meeting.

Each team will be provided with camera equipment to be shared by their Video Log Officers. They will receive instruction/mentoring on video and audio technique, and interview skills from the course Media Coordinators. After an introductory session with the Media Coordinators, the vloggers will deliver media files and receive feedback on a weekly basis throughout the term. The meetings will be scheduled once all team video log officers are appointed. Some materials will also be used at the course final presentations and on course social media.

Ad-hoc Task Forces

The full team is needed to tackle the problem of developing the product concept and alpha prototype in roughly 3 months. However, it is rare that all members will be able to simultaneously work together on the same thing.

Throughout the development process, the team will typically divide into ad-hoc task forces with different responsibilities. Each task force is a mini-group with 2-4 members typically. One of the main functions of the weekly team meetings is project coordination through the sharing of information between task forces, making group decisions, and terminating, adjusting, or forming new task forces to address current project demands.

The system integrators are responsible for coordinating the ad-hoc task forces and facilitating the task force definition process.

Course Instructor

The course instructor sets the vision for the course, how the course is structured, and what is expected of all the participants. The lectures, project theme, grading structure, guidelines, and milestones for the project are determined and administered by the course instructor. The course instructor is available to offer advice to teams, or to receive input from any student on any aspect of the course. The course instructor is also available to all teams for design consultation in the Pappalardo lab.

The course instructor does not have a primary role in grading teams and team members.

The course instructor works with the lab instructors to: clarify and maintain the course vision; obtain detailed feedback about team progress; and identify ways to ensure that the goals of the course are met.

More details:

  • The course instructor is equivalent to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company, setting the top level vision and having ultimate decision power.
  • The course instructor sets the vision for the course: how it will proceed and what is expected of all the participants.
  • The course instructor invests heavily in guiding lab instructors and facilitating cooperation between teams.
  • The course instructor may offer suggestions to lab instructors or individual students, but without insisting on executing details in a specific way. Similarly, the course instructor listens to feedback and stays in tune with the project so that adjustments can be made to help achieve course goals.
  • The course instructor is available to help with any 2.009-related issues.
  • Lab instructors (technical managers) act to implement the course vision and facilitate their engineering team.

Course TAs and Administrator

The Course TAs and administrator assist the course instructor in preparing materials for class and for the teams. The administrator works with financial officers to process team credit card purchases and receipts for reimbursement. The course TAs are available to all students to provide advice, administrative assistance, and technical assistance.

Team Instructors

Each team has two faculty members or lecturers (one per section) who serve as their team instructors. The team instructors attend many lectures and all of their team's team meetings. During team meetings, students make most decisions and design and build the product prototypes. Instructors facilitate team organization; provide advice on the product specification/contract; help with risk assessment and concept selection; provide technical advice; assist with prototyping techniques; and conduct informal design reviews. One of the key roles of the team instructor is to help a team plan, and adhere to, a product development schedule.

Team instructors explain their thinking behind their suggestions. For example, the team instructor will not say "do not do that because I did it once and it does not work". The instructor will instead say "you should not do that because force does not equal mass times acceleration squared". Instructors may encourage the testing of an idea using analysis or mockups to learn whether a concept is, or is not, viable, and to perhaps synthesize a new design from observations. The team instructor should not allow students to incorrectly pursue a design on false hope.

Team instructors also grade their team meeting section and team members on the basis of weekly performance in team meetings and their individual design notebooks. All team instructors grade each team on the major project milestones.

The team instructors act like technical managers, and thus they:

  • Augment the course instructor's vision with detail (i.e., help teach the design process).
  • Help students organize their projects by helping them to select feasible design goals and create a workable schedule.
  • Act as coaches and facilitators.
  • Encourage students to create and learn, allowing them to take chances and make mistakes.
  • Allow students to have a period of discovery and invention.
  • Help the design team recognize problems and prompt for solutions.
  • Help the design team let go of dead-end ideas and refocus on workable solutions.
  • Require justification of a concept's feasibility (analyses, experiments, or supporting data), preventing the design team from unduly pursuing concepts on the basis of a wish or hunch.

Communication Instructors

The communication instructors are from the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program and provide feedback and suggestions before and after milestones. They can also help with communications/interactions within your team and with outreach to potential users for feedback. There is a communication instructor for each team who will participate in most of your team meetings and the milestone reviews. Note: 2.009 is a CI-M class, and it counts towards satisfying your communication requirement.

Lab Staff

The lab staff members are employees of the Mechanical Engineering Department and work in the Pappalardo lab. They are available to help with advice on prototype fabrication, suggesting ways to make parts easier to fabricate, and assisting teams in the use of heavy or specialized machine equipment. The shop staff are very valuable team resources.

Course Librarian

The course librarian, who is a specialist in resources for Course 2 students and faculty, provides tips on how to find information. The librarian prepares resources organized specifically for the course, and assists in class exercises geared towards improving information gathering skills. The course librarian is available to work with team information officers, suggesting possible sources or search methods for different types of information.

Team Mentors

Each team has ~4 mentors. The mentors are professionals with product development experience, and/or they are 2.009 alumni. They volunteer their time to the class. They can assist with a wide variety of issues, ranging from technical details, to team organization or business models. Most mentors will meet with teams during team meetings, others will be able to come in when requested, and others are available through email. The mentors can be thought of as experienced advisors, as is common for startup companies.

Meta Yoda

The Meta Yoda is a coach and support mechanism for the team Yoda Officers. The meta Yoda will arrange meetings with the Yodas during the term to provide tips about techniques for promoting balance and productive engagement within the team and to assist members in reaching their full potentials. In addition to coaching, the meta Yoda will be available to help think through any challenges or questions a team Yoda may have.

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