Home Teaching / Visiting Teaching Application

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RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:10 am

Brad O. wrote:I'm not going to go into all the reasons why, but let me make it clear that the above is not one of the reasons why RAR cannot be used.


I, like you, am not interested in opening controversies. As an outside observer, I am just thinking about the systems issues.

It seems to me that even under the auspices of the Church, where the architecture of HT/VT in MLS and in central databases at CHQ, and the inputs and outputs to MLS, might be on the table, integration of a grass-roots reporting tool will be a daunting problem to solve for the new development project. Without opportunity for integration, due to policy, any outside application such as ReturnAndReport is inherently disadvantaged even further.

Going forward, the details of the integration issues themselves are probably better explored in the new collaborative venues being created for the new project.

None of this is meant as a criticism of how you designed ReturnAndReport. BTW, while the new system is developed, do I understand correctly that you are continuing to support the site? Coincidentally, I had just referred links to your site to our HPGL and EQP when the announcement of the new project was made.

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Postby brado426 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:16 am

boomerbubba wrote:I, like you, am not interested in opening controversies. As an outside observer, I am just thinking about the systems issues.

It seems to me that even under the auspices of the Church, where the architecture of HT/VT in MLS and in central databases at CHQ, and the inputs and outputs to MLS, might be on the table, integration of a grass-roots reporting tool will be a daunting problem to solve for the new development project. Without opportunity for integration, due to policy, any outside application such as ReturnAndReport is inherently disadvantaged even further.

Going forward, the details of the integration issues themselves are probably better explored in the new collaborative venues being created for the new project.

None of this is meant as a criticism of how you designed ReturnAndReport. BTW, while the new system is developed, do I understand correctly that you are continuing to support the site? Coincidentally, I had just referred links to your site to our HPGL and EQP when the announcement of the new project was made.


The only reason I feel it necessary to speak out on this issue is that I specifically planned for and considered it.

Yes, RAR will remain online until the Church's official solution is complete.

Brad O.

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Postby happy1z » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:02 pm

Brad O. wrote:The only reason I feel it necessary to speak out on this issue is that I specifically planned for and considered it.

Yes, RAR will remain online until the Church's official solution is complete.

Brad O.


Wow. I feel like I opened an unwanted worm hole. I do commend Brad for his work and dedication on the project. I'm sure he will be a great asset to complete the church wide deployment. The only issue I see now is that if people start using ReturnandReport today then when the day comes to switch over to the Church's solution all history from Brad's site will be lost. So really there is no incentive to start using that site today. I bring up this concern because I have been discussing ReturnandReport with my Bishop and some of the Stake Presidency. If that is the case I will advise them to just wait. Am I thinking on the right track?

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Postby brado426 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:47 pm

happy-one wrote:Wow. I feel like I opened an unwanted worm hole. I do commend Brad for his work and dedication on the project. I'm sure he will be a great asset to complete the church wide deployment. The only issue I see now is that if people start using ReturnandReport today then when the day comes to switch over to the Church's solution all history from Brad's site will be lost. So really there is no incentive to start using that site today. I bring up this concern because I have been discussing ReturnandReport with my Bishop and some of the Stake Presidency. If that is the case I will advise them to just wait. Am I thinking on the right track?


Hey happy-one,

I think your concerns regarding any loss of data are non-issues.

RAR does not replace any Church processes. Therefore, you still need to record your HT/VT statistics in the MLS system just as you always do. While you would lose some nice historical report data when switching over to the Church's official system, it is data that you wouldn't have had otherwise and data that should have been previously recorded in the MLS system. You could always print out your final reports from RAR before moving over to the official system. Besides, the current proposed design for the Church's official system is to eliminate MLS from the picture and require that wards start from scratch with their HT/VT assignment creation. As far as I know, it is undetermined whether the existing historical data contained within MLS will be retained for the official HT/VT application.

ReturnAndReport.org helps Church leaders and Home & Visiting Teaching in general. This is why I am still investing time in it.

Brad O.

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:51 pm

happy-one wrote:The only issue I see now is that if people start using ReturnandReport today then when the day comes to switch over to the Church's solution all history from Brad's site will be lost. So really there is no incentive to start using that site today.


I think you over-estimate the speed of church projects. :D
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Postby mkmurray » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:31 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I think you over-estimate the speed of church projects. :D

Well, I suppose, but Chad Fullmer's comments tell a different story from what you (we) might be used to....

Here is a quote (emphasis added by me) from Chad on the Talk Page discussion regarding Integration with MLS on the Home Teaching /Visiting Teaching Conceptual Design wiki page:
"What data gets pushed to / pulled from MLS? How much of VT/HT reporting needs to remain in MLS?"

None. If we design the screens/interactions for creating districts/companionships/assingments properly, then it shouldn't take an EQ Pres more than 15 minutes to re-create the assignments in our new system. Synching with MLS isn't worth the benefit, and would push us back to mid 2009. So, Leaders will need to re-create their assignments when they first begin using the system; and reports won't sync back to MLS. This means that Church units will need to use one system or the other (old MLS or this new app). At some point in the future, if we do it right, units will stop using the MLS system for HT/VT. The plan is to do the same with all MLS functionality over time ... bring it online. -- Fullmercb 18:40, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

It appears they are hoping this to move quickly. Also, this gives you an idea of what the Church's vision for MLS functionality in the future and how this HT/VT Application fits into that vision.

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Postby RossEvans » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:22 pm

mkmurray wrote:Well, I suppose, but Chad Fullmer's comments tell a different story from what you (we) might be used to....

Here is a quote (emphasis added by me) from Chad on the Talk Page discussion regarding Integration with MLS on the Home Teaching /Visiting Teaching Conceptual Design wiki page:

It appears they are hoping this to move quickly. Also, this gives you an idea of what the Church's vision for MLS functionality in the future and how this HT/VT Application fits into that vision.


I really should be making this comment on the Wiki, but I have been temporarily frustrated in setting up my LDSAccount. I am a little disturbed that this major issue is already marked there as "Resolved."

Although I agree with the concept of shifting all data entry for HT/VT to the new application, and understand the reasons why this is a good idea, I think it is a big mistake not to write the basic information back to MLS for read-only reporting. That is where bishoprics and clerks get their integrated reporting functionality, and removing even the HT/VT assignments from the MLS database will be a step backwards in the direction of balkanized report sources. Bishops, who are used to getting that basic info at their fingertips in one place, will be tempted to mutiny.

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Postby happy1z » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:52 pm

boomerbubba wrote:That is where bishoprics and clerks get their integrated reporting functionality, and removing even the HT/VT assignments from the MLS database will be a step backwards in the direction of balkanized report sources. Bishops, who are used to getting that basic info at their fingertips in one place, will be tempted to mutiny.


I think it is very forward thinking to move that way. I do understand that Internet Access is not a ward buildings; however, I think more about the positives besides not having the funtionality to print assignments at church.

1. You can make changes from your house instead of driving to the church. (with Gas prices that is a plus)
2. Elders Chorum and Relief Society no longer have to fight for time on the only ward computer.
3. Because it is web based you are able to make changes/check up on Home teaching while traveling.
4. You no longer have to show up to Church early for meetings to get your print outs. You can print them from home.
5. The Bishop will have more access to viewing home teaching/visit teaching (assuming he doesn't spend all his days at the church)

As a clerk I wish the whole MLS system was online for the ward and stake level. It would make it easier to make changes and prepare for meetings/gather statistics. As a past ward clerk I remember spending most of my Saturdays at church making membership changes. I would much perfer to be in the comfort of my home (with working A/C) and be able to take breaks to spend time with my family.

I'm sure there are more reasons that I am not thinking about this late at night. :)
Oh great the church is starting an online forum addiction. ;) (I say that purely in fun and I'm sure someone will tell me I need to practice self control)
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Postby RossEvans » Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:33 am

happy-one wrote:I1. You can make changes from your house instead of driving to the church. (with Gas prices that is a plus)
2. Elders Chorum and Relief Society no longer have to fight for time on the only ward computer.
3. Because it is web based you are able to make changes/check up on Home teaching while traveling.
4. You no longer have to show up to Church early for meetings to get your print outs. You can print them from home.
5. The Bishop will have more access to viewing home teaching/visit teaching (assuming he doesn't spend all his days at the church)


As I said, I have no quibble with moving all the data-entry to the new application, and obviously the new app also includes reporting. That covers points 1-4. As for 5 ....

I think bishops, other leaders and clerks also can live with getting their reports of HT/VT statistics and visit details off the new app.

But the plan to strip even the data for HT/VT assignments out of MLS cuts into the quick of basic MLS membership reporting.

Every bishop I have worked with over the past decade actually has lived mostly by his PDA, which in turn is driven by integrated reporting and exports out of MLS. The basic reports that summarize for the bishop most everything important about households and families include who home-teaches whom or is not assigned to teach at all (a key indicator of activiity), and who is a familiy's home teacher in an emergency. Ditto for visiting teachers. Similar summary export reports have just been released in MLS for propagation to Outlook or other contact managers on PCs, or to cellphones, as .vcf files.

The home-teaching file also shows which quorum a MP brother is assigned to.

If you asked a focus group of bishops if they are ready to give that up, I think the idea would be voted down decisively.

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Postby russellhltn » Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:15 am

mkmurray wrote:Well, I suppose, but Chad Fullmer's comments tell a different story from what you (we) might be used to....


My past experience is that the problem isn't the work, it's the approval process. And that tends to run slower then even the employees expect.

I know I was following the progress of one eagerly awaited item that was expected "next week, maybe the one after" only to have it sit on the agenda for the First Presidency for over a month before they could get to it. And then it got passed to the Presiding Bishopric or something. I think it was 2-3 months before it finally became available. This work is fairly important, but it's not urgent and it has to wait it's turn behind important and urgent matters.

I guess I could hope for faster, but pessimists are rarely disappointed. :D
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