Home Teaching / Visiting Teaching Application

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RossEvans
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#81

Post by RossEvans »

GarysTurn wrote: So integration of data is possible at the top end, but sending that back down to MLS would require changes to MLS. Some see no need to send the data back down because at some point MLS will be updated and integrated into some type of new system later anyway, and the ability to sync would require updating the old MLS system which the community project can not do.

I am not among the persons who do not see this need, and I doubt that the bishops I have worked with are either. I doubt that any of them give a hoot about satisfying "the community" of developers by giving them hands-on ownership of all this. Bishops and other users care about the end result, not who programs it. I count myself as a member of that community, but if that is the tradeoff, I'll cast my vote with the needs of the bishops.

I do think you have stated the architectural situation fairly succinctly.
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aebrown
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#82

Post by aebrown »

GarysTurn wrote:MLS does not upload to the Church system the HT/VT assignments and routes.
True.
GarysTurn wrote:The current MLS system does not create the HT/VT results reports that are sent on to the Stake, those are still done by the Clerk by hand on a paper form.
Not so true.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say these are "done by the Clerk by hand on a paper form." Nothing is done in our stake "by hand." We do request that wards print the Home Teaching Statistics report and send it to the stake. But that is just a standard Ward MLS HT report.

But even without that, the high level home teaching statistics are transmitted automatically from the wards to Stake MLS. At the stake level we can see the percentages by quorum and by ward for each month. But we can't see any particular assignments, routes, or the visit history for any family, companionship, or district.
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mkmurray
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#83

Post by mkmurray »

eblood66 wrote:My bishop never accesses HT/VT data directly from MLS. He either asks me or the quorum or RS presidents personally when he has questions. He never even asks me for full HT/VT reports from MLS. I doubt I'll have any trouble selling the new system in our ward. But I can accept that that might not be typical.
I could see it going both ways; I imagine there are plenty of Bishops familiar enough with MLS to view reports like that themselves. I imagine there are also many Bishops who would rather focus on other things and have their clerks or secretaries give them a summary of the information.
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#84

Post by RossEvans »

eblood66 wrote:However, it would not quite duplicate the current abilities in MLS because organizational data (callings and such) will not be available in the HT/VT app (except for certain pre-defined leadership callings) since that data is not transmitted to CHQ right now. We might mitigate that problem as well with a standalone app that can combine an export from the HT/VT app with the MLS export and create a combined file for import to a PDA.

I was just thinking the same thing. It would be kludgy, and a hassle to update, but I think it could be done.
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mkmurray
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#85

Post by mkmurray »

A lot of discussion just flew by Tom's quote here:
tomw wrote:Let me assure you that we are talking with the MLS people. I sit near the PM for the project and coincidentally he is related to me through marriage. I have discussed what we are doing and he is on board. Management is on board with the decision that the HT/VT will lead the way in storing data for HT/VT and then MLS will integrate with it when they are ready. Does that make sense?

Tom
There is a lot of talk about exports and imports and extra applications or modules could be created to get around not having MLS. Tom Welch is telling us that he personally speaks with the Project Manager of MLS very often about this project. Tom said they are "on board" with this app and that "MLS will integrate with it when they are ready."

I know the "when they are ready" is scaring some people, but not me; this is the most promising thing I have heard regarding this integration issue. Sounds to me like they are committed. Notice there isn't an "if they like it" or "if priorities work out;" it is "when they are ready."

The other point I want to make is I think some of you are assuming that MLS will wait until the project is done and deployed to begin integration. I doubt this. I bet when we have something to show in labs.lds.org, they will already be making talk of integration. It is possible for MLS to be ready by the time we get the app out. What we need to do is create these API early in development to encourage the MLS team to begin coding against it earlier rather than later.

As for me, we have as good as a handshake from the MLS team. Let's go forward! The details of this MLS integration will be worked out as we go, now that we know everyone is rooting for us.
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garysturn
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#86

Post by garysturn »

Alan_Brown wrote:I'm not sure what you mean when you say these are "done by the Clerk by hand on a paper form." Nothing is done in our stake "by hand." We do request that wards print the Home Teaching Statistics report and send it to the stake. But that is just a standard Ward MLS HT report.

But even without that, the high level home teaching statistics are transmitted automatically from the wards to Stake MLS. At the stake level we can see the percentages by quorum and by ward for each month. But we can't see any particular assignments, routes, or the visit history for any family, companionship, or district.

My experience is from 8 years ago so I am sure some things may have changed. When I was a High Priests Group Leader we did not create our HT routes using MLS or tablulate our results using MLS. Our sec. entered that info in the MLS after the fact but we created the routes at home in Excel and took results on paper.

The Ward Clerk called for results at cut off and would do reports for the Stake. I think the MLS results went to the Stake as well but there were not enough Wards getting everything in MLS updated before cut off for those results to be correct. Our clerk would walk the results over to the Stake Clerks office on paper. Gaining access to the Ward Computer was just not convient enough for everyone to get everything entered in MLS in time for reports.

Even now when I get my home teaching routes given to me they are not print outs from MLS, so there are still some groups creating their routes outside of the MLS system.
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jdlessley
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#87

Post by jdlessley »

Once the HT/VT application is deployed units will have to choose which method of tracking HT/VT they will use according to what I am reading in this thread. It may be clear to some people how this is going to transpire and what it means to say a unit must choose a method. But to me, as long as both methods of entering data and tracking HT/VT are options and fully functional in two systems there is a potential for mixed operations.

What does it mean to say a 'unit' decides which system to use? Is it the ward or is it the stake? Some have alluded to the decision being made at the stake level. This is the logical choice to me since the stake could be forced to use two systems to get information if the ward is left to make independent choice.

Once the decision about which system to use is made how will this decision be implemented? Will there be some way of switching off the MLS input functionality if the decision is to use the new application?

In short, what is the method of transition and how do we ensure all involved will transition once a transition decision is made?

Are these points mute because they are non-issues?
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mkmurray
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#88

Post by mkmurray »

jdlessley wrote:What does it mean to say a 'unit' decides which system to use? Is it the ward or is it the stake? Some have alluded to the decision being made at the stake level. This is the logical choice to me since the stake could be forced to use two systems to get information if the ward is left to make independent choice.
This is a great question that hasn't got much attention here or on the wiki. I personally believe an entire Stake transition would make more sense than a ward transition. Although transition at the ward level certainly could be workable, I think it makes more sense administratively for an entire Stake to switch to the new app.
jdlessley wrote:Once the decision about which system to use is made how will this decision be implemented? Will there be some way of switching off the MLS input functionality if the decision is to use the new application?
This hasn't been addressed much either. It would be difficult to deactivate HT/VT within MLS in an automated sense. Plus, with the knowledge that the goal is to have MLS tie into this new system via web service API that the Community builds, then the deactivation with MLS would probably be a short-lived feature.

Essentially, MLS will not be the authority on HT/VT and will show inaccurate information regarding current assignments (unless you delete all assignments to encourage everyone to always look at the new app). The hope, though, is that changes can be made within MLS to allow it to access our data and show the correct data.
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#89

Post by RossEvans »

mkmurray wrote:Essentially, MLS will not be the authority on HT/VT and will show inaccurate information regarding current assignments (unless you delete all assignments to encourage everyone to always look at the new app). The hope, though, is that changes can be made within MLS to allow it to access our data and show the correct data.

So long as the official plan is to release this application ASAP even if integration isn't there, I don't think we should rule out the possibility of a unit using both systems, at the price of some duplicate data entry. If there is one resource the Church has, it is an ample supply of free labor in the field.

A unit could decide, for example, that to gain the benefit of grass-roots reporting of results it would start using the HT/VT application. But the bishop still could require the quorum and auxiliary secretaries to key in the data to MLS. Or he could choose to require just the companionship and assignment data to be kept current in MLS, and use the new system for reporting all results.

The possibility of error and inconsistent databases would exist, just as it does when secretaries manually transpose the data from RAR into MLS today.
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#90

Post by jdlessley »

boomerbubba wrote:...I don't think we should rule out the possibility of a unit using both systems, at the price of some duplicate data entry.
Isn't the option a one-or-the-other choice? I ask this because Church headquarters would then be receiving reports from two sources. Which one would they choose? Would the new application report/data take precedence over the MLS report/data or vice versa? How would they know which one the unit intended them to receive?
boomerbubba wrote:A unit could decide, for example, that to gain the benefit of grass-roots reporting of results it would start using the HT/VT application. But the bishop still could require the quorum and auxiliary secretaries to key in the data to MLS. He also could choose to require just the companionship and assignment data to be kept current in MLS, and use the new system for reporting all results.

The possibility of error and inconsistent databases would exist, just as it does when secretaries manually transpose the data from RAR into MLS today.
By making this statement I assume you envision the report normally sent from MLS would not happen during a send/receive if the unit chose the new application as their reporting vehicle. RAR obviously does not send any report to Church headquarters, the new application will.
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