Chief Electronics

This year I’m working as Chief Electronics at Nova Electric Racing, one of the Dream Teams of the TU Delft. The team has a new and ambitious goal for this year; to design and build a motorcycle to defend our European MotoE 2017 championship and to achieve a top 3 time in at least one OW SuperCup 600 race.

The fun thing about my role in the team is that to achieve these ambitious goals we have to apply various concepts which we saw during our study, both on the technical side and the management side. A good example of this is that we decided to apply Scrum within the team this year. Scrum is a framework originally created to support agile software development through working in iterations and increments. We used it quite extensively in our projects during the Computer Science Bachelor. Even though its original intended use was for software development, Scrum can also be applied to other complex engineering problems where requirements might change over time, like designing and building an electric motorcycle to race with. Having an agile development framework like Scrum is invaluable to the team for two main reasons. Firstly, being able to adapt to changes is important, especially for the electronics department since a lot of the systems in the electronics department have a supportive role to the systems of the other departments. The safety control unit for example is responsible for shutting down the motorcycle when one of the other systems are unsafe (e.g. the batteries getting too) but this means that the requirements of this system change as the other departments select and design their parts. Secondly, Scrum helps us in keeping track of what everyone has been working on. We have a lot of part-timers in the team that continue their study next to working for Nova which means it is sometimes difficult to meet them or to follow up on them. This is partially solved by using a tool called Trello to implement Scrum. On Trello people have to assign themselves to the issues they’ve been working on and report their progress on these issues, this way the chiefs of the different departments can keep track of what everyone has been working on without having to ask them through text messages or face-to-face meetings. You can see what this looks like in the picture below, the board used for the safety control unit is shown as an example.

Figuur 1 Implementing Scrum in Trello, the safety control unit board