After the wars... the scores on the doors

Now that the dust has settled on this year's PiWars competition and we've had time to lick our wounds it's time to look back on our PiWars journey and reflect on what went well... and what didn't go quite so well.

Let's go through every aspect of the PiWars process in turn, rate ourselves out of 10 and ask some searching questions about how and where we could have done things better.

Here's our (self-assessed) summary score sheet. For those with enough stamina to wade through it, a more detailed discussion of each point has been provided in a separate blog post..

HARDWARE SELECTION

SCORE: 9/10

SUMMARY: Well-supported parts from well established suppliers. We'd use everything again.

TOOLING & MATERIALS

SCORE: 9/10

SUMMARY: We were happy with the upscaled DIY approach that we adopted. Good use of tools available in our tool box.

Chassis Design & Build

SCORE: 7/10

SUMMARY: PROS: Well thought out layout, easy to maintain, boxy but robust. CONS: Breakable parts exposed at the front & back. Weak point on front of chassis. Attachment support needed improvement.

Wiring

SCORE: 9/10

SUMMARY: Tidy, well planned routing. Robust. Well secured. Excellent cable strain relief. Good separation of power and data lines. Could have been tidier and without cable joins with wires cut to size and crimped.

Software Architecture

SCORE: 5/10

SUMMARY: Unnecessary learning overheads introduced by adoption of a Rolls-Royce solution where a Mini would have sufficed.

Autonomous Solutions

SCORE: 2/10

SUMMARY: Solved in theory only, not in practice. Ran out of time.

Team Structure

SCORE: 2/10

SUMMARY: Underestimated the challenges. Lack of initial discussion regarding individual skills and knowledge, no clear division of responsibilities, resulting in skill and knowledge being too concentrated on one person.

Project Management

SCORE: 4/10

SUMMARY: Started well. Ended badly. Plans scuppered by personal circumstances.

Blogging

SCORE: 5/10

SUMMARY: Started late due to ambitious self-hosting plans. Should have posted little and often. In the end, we only scraped across the line by virtue of a significant last minute push by one team member to replicate and expand upon his regular progress reports on Twitter.

Testing

SCORE: 2/10

SUMMARY: A complete lack of non-functional testing. Build quality saved the day.

On The Day Strategy & Planning

SCORE: 0/10

SUMMARY: Missing in action.

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