mls 3.5

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
TinMan
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Postby TinMan » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:02 am

aebrown wrote:T

And you shouldn't. The Wiki is searchable, after all. In any case, it's your clerks, not you, who should be on top of this information -- you have more important things to do.
Guess what? Me and my counselors are to watch the "online training" every year as well. Yet me, my counselor nor my financial clerk thought to look at the WIKI pages for "what to do when you can't close out a batch because none of you are authorized to log on after a major MLS update that went poorly."

Sorry. Brother Brown. It is frustrating. Especially today. And I am probably not coming across in the kindest way. But we followed the instructions exactly as they were sent to us. We spent literally hours preparing for the update, and trying to fix it after. We have dozens of pages printed out for us to update when we can get back on. We never imagined that all the leaders would be wiped out of the MLS system so we can't log on to close a batch in the financial system.

Then I get "you should have looked it up on WIKI."

Yeah. All my clerks should be reading and studying the WIKI pages. My stake clerk should be familiar with all of them as well. But they aren't. How many are?

TinMan
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Postby TinMan » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:07 am

Gary_Miller wrote:I don't know why don't you ask him. Our stake clerk talked about them at the last leadership meeting. I was surprised how many clerks just in my stake did not know about them.


...





You should not have to that's the reason you have clerks. My Bishop would have never know what to do, nor should he have to, he would have looked at me and asked what do we do. Of course I would have already done it and all the Bishop would have gotten was a phone call letting him know what happened.

And you don't consider software failure a computer failure!:)
That is my point Gary. If the WIKI pages are the place to get answers, then there should be more emphasis for clerks to read them. Not just "something you find on the tech site."

And sorry. In our ward, I stay until the tithing is closed out so I can review and sign the summary reports and welfare checks. I don't go home until my financial clerk and the assigned counselor goes to the bank. Last night, they never did.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:31 am

TinMan wrote:Sorry. Brother Brown. It is frustrating. Especially today. And I am probably not coming across in the kindest way. But we followed the instructions exactly as they were sent to us. We spent literally hours preparing for the update, and trying to fix it after. We have dozens of pages printed out for us to update when we can get back on. We never imagined that all the leaders would be wiped out of the MLS system so we can't log on to close a batch in the financial system.

Then I get "you should have looked it up on WIKI."

I apologize if my post seemed critical of you; that was not my intent. It is indeed frustrating when things don't go as documented, and unfortunately much of the prominent documentation seems to cover only the "golden path" where everything works properly. It's much harder to find what to do when things go wrong, and that's when you are the most desperate for helpful answers.

In the future I certainly hope that the new Record-Keeping and Technology Support site will be a one-stop shop for all the information we need. I have no illusions that it will be everything we need it to be in the first release, but hopefully with lots of input it will become that.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

Gary_Miller
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Postby Gary_Miller » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:53 am

TinMan wrote:And sorry. In our ward, I stay until the tithing is closed out so I can review and sign the summary reports and welfare checks. I don't go home until my financial clerk and the assigned counselor goes to the bank. Last night, they never did.
That's different from how we do it, and I guess everyone does things differently. In our ward myself and a bishopric member processes the money and takes it to the bank there is nothing for the bishop to sign in the processing of donations, but of course I see your also processing expenses.

I, the finance clerk, do not process any expense on Sunday unless there is an urgent need. I've only done it once in the past year, welfare checks to me are not urgent. The bishop signs a funding authorization form and places it in the Finance Clerks box. We have two forms a white one for welfare and a pink one for budget. I come on another day, usually Tuesday, and process the expenses I place everything in a folder and put it in the Bishops box so that he can sign checks and summary reports on Wednesday when he is at the church for mutual night. If there is a welfare expense I have the mailing envelope ready to go attached to the paper work and the bishop puts the check in and mails the envelope.

That's just how we do it, like I said everyone does it different. However, this way the Bishop is free to go home on Sunday as soon as he has finished up with what every interviews he has. Of course most of the time we are done processing donations well before the bishop is ready to go home. But every once in a while he bets out out, and lets us know it too.:)

TinMan
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Postby TinMan » Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:27 pm

Gary_Miller wrote:T I come on another day, usually Tuesday, and process the expenses I place everything in a folder and put it in the Bishops box so that he can sign checks and summary reports on Wednesday when he is at the church for mutual night. If there is a welfare expense I have the mailing envelope ready to go attached to the paper work and the bishop puts the check in and mails the envelope.

That's just how we do it, like I said everyone does it different. However, this way the Bishop is free to go home on Sunday as soon as he has finished up with what every interviews he has. Of course most of the time we are done processing donations well before the bishop is ready to go home. But every once in a while he bets out out, and lets us know it too.:)
Yep. We do things differently. I would never allow welfare checks and reimbursement forms to be in an unlocked place in the clerks office where multiple people could come in and even "accidentally" see them. To me they are too confidential.

I am pretty sure that violates some WIKI page instruction. But I could be wrong.

And secondly: My clerk would rather stay and do the expenses and checks than come back another night. Usually he can get those things done while we are dealing with setting aparts and such after the block, before they start opening tithing envelopes.

And since the post office is across the street from the bank. it is very convenient.

wonko
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Postby wonko » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:48 pm

To bring things back to the discussion at hand:

I downloaded the update on Friday night after printing out my reports one more time. The effects were somewhat more far reaching than the email led one to believe.

I am all for the standardization of calling names. I think it is a good thing, so don't take this as a complaint, merely a report of what transpired.

I spent two hours working on cleaning up the names, and putting things back in order and couldn't finish. Even then, I still spent a good 4-5 hours adjusting and correcting to get things where they should be.

Admittedly some of this was cleanup of old issues, and general maintenance, but the update did kind of force the issue.

At this time we now have only a handful of custom callings (mostly Relief Society, they know how to utilize people! :) I needed the Bishopric to go through the list to make sure things were correct and make those changes too.

In the end, this was a much more disruptive update than anticipated, but we are now in a much better place as far as standardization and organization of callings. That being the case it was worth the disruption, though I wish I had been prepped for that a bit in advance.

One thing that would have made it far easier would have been the ability to change a calling to a standard name without having to delete the old calling and add a new one with duplicate information but the new standard name. That and the ability to change categories of a calling (move from Other to Sunday School for instance) would have saved me a significant amount of time.

This was relatively easy for me, though time consuming, but without those changes it will be a much more difficult shift for many of the less technically savvy clerks.

Also, it should be made more clear that there are a minimum of two unlocks that need to occur. The first one unlocks the member data after a couple of downloads and a few minutes. The second was the financial unlock and that took over half an hour before it was ready to download. This is not how long it took to actually download, but rather the processing time on the server side before the changes were sent down. If you don't get both unlocks, you will have some of the issues that are being discussed in this thread.

I recommend going to the help menu at the top and selecting the option to view the downloads (i don't remember the nomenclature as I am at work right now) before doing the downloads. You can see when it has run out of stuff going up and down based on this, and give it some time before trying again.

My final summary: the update was worth it, but it took longer than anticipated. Plan on several hours of re-organization into your cycle.

Oh, and backups are SOOOOOO much faster! We went from just over 10 minutes to less than one. That was worth the headache in and of itself!

jdlessley
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MLS product manager issues his apology

Postby jdlessley » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:34 pm

While it is of little solace in light of the difficulties encountered by many, of which only a few have posted in these forums, the MLS product manager has posted his apology in the thread MLS 3.5 Thread Post by the MLS Product Manager.
wonko wrote:One thing that would have made it far easier would have been the ability to change a calling to a standard name without having to delete the old calling and add a new one with duplicate information but the new standard name.
The tool to replace a custom position with a standard position is "Custom Positions Review". That tool is only available to users with administrator rights.

If your unit is following rights recommended by calling for MLS users then only the bishop and clerk have access to the "Custom Positions Review" tool.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the ChurchofJesusChrist.org Help Center?

Gary_Miller
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Postby Gary_Miller » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:33 pm

jdlessley wrote:The tool to replace a custom position with a standard position is "Custom Positions Review". That tool is only available to users with administrator rights.
I second using this review. Its a powerful tool lists all the custom callings and give suggestions to what callings maybe standardized. I was able to standardize all but a fee callings. I recommend doing this before the download as it may save some headaches later.

kisaac
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Postby kisaac » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:36 pm

Yockey wrote:
What is needed, as another poster mentioned, is the OPTION to download 3.5. Let MLS bring up a message saying, "Hey, its all ready. If you are the clerk, know what you're doing, and are ready, start installing. Otherwise, click no."
I absolutely agree with this on a computer shared with 12 - 14 other people, most of them non techs, and only one of which knows if the correct reports are printed and he alone would know for sure if the data is ready to be forever altered....

wonko
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Postby wonko » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:22 am

jdlessley wrote:While it is of little solace in light of the difficulties encountered by many, of which only a few have posted in these forums, the MLS product manager has posted his apology in the thread MLS 3.5 Thread Post by the MLS Product Manager.

The tool to replace a custom position with a standard position is "Custom Positions Review". That tool is only available to users with administrator rights.

If your unit is following rights recommended by calling for MLS users then only the bishop and clerk have access to the "Custom Positions Review" tool.
I wish I had remembered that. I used it some time ago when they first started standardizing names and it was quite useful. Unfortunately it was forgotten. I don't think I missed it in the instructions, but where that was a major component of the update, it probably should have been front and center in the instructions.

A Hitchhikers Guide Quote comes to mind:

" ...You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anyone or anything.' But the plans were on display...' on display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.' `That's the display department.' `With a torch.' `Ah, well the lights had probably gone.' `So had the stairs.' `But look you found the notice didn't you?' `Yes,' said Arthur, `yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of The Leopard". Ever thought of going into advertising?' " -- Douglas Adams.

Perhaps a bit of overkill in this situation, but then a little Humor is always a good thing. ;)

In the end, hopefully our issues will help the other clerks who download this and other updates going forward from having similar issues. To my mind that is really what this comes down to. Let's smooth the path for those that come after us.

This from one with a degree in marketing ;)


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