Building Scheduler's nightmare

Discussions about the Calendar Tool at lds.org. Questions about the calendar on the classic site should be posted in the LUWS forum.
blainesinsane
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Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:44 pm

Building Scheduler's nightmare

Postby blainesinsane » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:02 pm

This is going to start out sounding a lot like a rant, but hang in there. I would like to propose a solution (and solicit other's ideas) but it's necessary to point out the problem first.

The building scheduling calling has got to be one of the most thankless and aggravating callings in the church, in no small part due to the current calendar system. If you are hapless enough to hold/have held this calling, perhaps you've heard some of the following (and maybe responded -- or at least thought -- the same way):

"What do you mean there's already a wedding scheduled that day? My son is getting married that day, I can't just reschedule his wedding!" (Well, perhaps you should have called me 6 months ago like they did)
"Why did you schedule that room for someone else? I already had it on the calendar!" (Um, sorry, that wasn't me. The calendar doesn't allow me to double-book a room)
"You can't schedule [insert group] that day, it's always reserved for this [insert group]." (Well, the calendar let me do it, and I wasn't aware, so...?)
"I want to hold a class on the 2nd and 4th of the same day each month for the next 6 months. Can you look through the calendar and tell me what all the options are?" (Sure, give me a couple of days to try to schedule all those combinations and I'll get back to you! :roll:)

This is just a small sampling of the complaints we hear on a weekly basis. The full list is as colorful and long as the Joseph's coat.

Here are some of the problems I've identified. Perhaps some of these can be remedied with settings in the calendar (?) If so, I'd love to know how.

1. The calendar allows too many people to reserve rooms. Sometimes those rooms are reserved on apparently private calendars that the building schedulers can't see or manipulate. This results in situations where people ask to reserve a room, but we can't reserve it and we can't see why or do anything about it. Then they accuse you of lying because they can't see anything on the calendar either. There needs to be one or two people in the stake (preferably a married couple so they can easily communicate) who can schedule buildings. Period. There should be no way possible for people to reserve rooms on private calendars.

2. There appears to be no way to restrict days or certain times of certain days to a particular type of event. Our stake has certain blocks (Thursdays and Saturday mornings) where only stake events are to be scheduled. Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7pm - 9pm are reserved for mutual. There's a certain day/time reserved for relief society events, etc. There are too many things to keep straight, too much ambiguity/crossover, and no restrictions to prevent mishaps. There needs to be a way to scope events.

3. People often leave message/text/email with only a small fraction of the info needed to make a reservation, which results in having to play voicemail/text/email tag for sometimes hours trying to get enough information to make a reservation. There needs to be a way to gather the information all at once.

4. People don't understand that other people actually want to sleep, enjoy family night, visit with family on the sabbath, or work without interruptions. They call/text at all hours of the day of any day. We need to be enabled to create the schedules on our time and at our convenience. It should work like a queue system: first in, first out.

Here's what I propose to solve these and other problems:

1. The calendar needs to be restricted such that only those holding the building scheduler calling have create/edit privileges. Everyone else is "view only"
2. There needs to be a scheduling request portal that all scheduling requests are routed through. This should consist of a multipart form with the following workflow:
---------------------------------------------------
- Select Event Category (Stake, Mutual, Relief Society, Baptism, Civil Events (e.g. weddings, receptions, reunions, funerals, etc), Cub Scouts, Ward Party, Community Events (e.g. block parties, dances, etc) <<-- configurable stake-by-stake, but with a comprehensive set of defaults
- Event Description
---------------------------------------------------
- Select desired date
- Select desired Start/End Time
- Select Setup/Cleanup duration (optional)
- Select Desired Room(s)
- Select from list of available time slots (populated based on availability, restricted by event category and previous selections)
---------------------------------------------------
- Contact Info (required)
- Best method/time to contact if clarification needed
- Extra info for building schedulers

[ Cancel ] [ Submit ]
---------------------------------------------------

This would eliminate 90% of the frustration and having to deal with ungrateful, spiteful people who call at 10:40pm and act as though you're overpaid for what you do.

If any of these problems can be solved with current capabilities we are not aware of, please let us know. We are desperate for solutions.

russellhltn
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Re: Building Scheduler's nightmare

Postby russellhltn » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:09 pm

blainesinsane wrote:This is going to start out sounding a lot like a rant, but hang in there. I would like to propose a solution (and solicit other's ideas) but it's necessary to point out the problem first.

I think you'll find a number of people like the current system just fine. To change things now would be too disruptive to all those who have changed their processes to match the current system.

blainesinsane wrote:Sometimes those rooms are reserved on apparently private calendars that the building schedulers can't see or manipulate.

First, a clarification of terms: A building scheduler is someone set up by the agent stake to supervise the scheduling of specific buildings. This is done at the stake level in the calendar app.

The old meaning of "building scheduler" as a single point of contact for all building scheduling is not really functional. Especially if multiple units use the building. It's probably best to consider the "building scheduler" as a "building scheduler supervisor" - someone one can take care of special situations but is not part of the day-to-day routine scheduling.

ALL members can use the calendar on lds.org to see the schedule of the "location". This is a special checkbox on the side. This isn't available in any other app like LDS Tools. You must go on lds.org to see this. With this, you can see if the building is scheduled regardless of who scheduled it or if you can see their calendars or not.

blainesinsane wrote:There should be no way possible for people to reserve rooms on private calendars.

Some of us use private calendars to schedule weddings, etc. It's to help keep down the number of calendars visible to the membership so they don't get confused.

blainesinsane wrote:There appears to be no way to restrict days or certain times of certain days to a particular type of event. Our stake has certain blocks (Thursdays and Saturday mornings) where only stake events are to be scheduled.

You can restrict by unit. So for this example, that function is already in place.


blainesinsane wrote:Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7pm - 9pm are reserved for mutual. There's a certain day/time reserved for relief society events, etc.

Restrictions by unit doesn't work well there. But what would work is for the organization to go ahead and schedule the event. Have mutual schedule their 7-9pm block. They can always fill in the details later.

blainesinsane wrote:People don't understand that other people actually want to sleep, enjoy family night, visit with family on the sabbath, or work without interruptions. They call/text at all hours of the day of any day. We need to be enabled to create the schedules on our time and at our convenience. It should work like a queue system: first in, first out.

The servers are available 24/7/365. Scheduling events is already first-come, first-served. So it seems like this is already in effect. If there's something that takes priority, then they contact the building scheduler.
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