Schedule resources independent of event calendars

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rolfejr
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Schedule resources independent of event calendars

Postby rolfejr » Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:40 pm

This topic has been discussed a bit here:
https://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?6156-Calendar-Best-Practices/page2&highlight=calendar+resource

but that's a long thread with a lof of other issues, and I wanted to concentrate on just this issue/question. Our members have gotten used to the process of scheduling a building or resource for personal use (family dinner, etc) by submitting requests to the resource calendar. It's really been a huge boon to managing our stake resources, and reduced a lot of phone calls to our building scheduler. Now that these requests have to be tied to some event calendar, I think it is going to be really confusing for people. We'd have to create an additional calendar for each resource when that resource already HAS a calendar, just to give the member someplace to submit the event to. I thought of just creating one calendar called something like "Personal Requests" but then you'd run into false conflicts for events at the same time using different resources - plus it would just be confusing for people when trying to check the availability of a resource..."Which calendar am I supposed to look at?" It just seems redundant.

Is there any hope that we might be able to submit requests to schedule resources without it having to be on a calendar separate from the resource?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:19 pm

rolfejr wrote:Our members have gotten used to the process of scheduling a building or resource for personal use (family dinner, etc) by submitting requests to the resource calendar. It's really been a huge boon to managing our stake resources, and reduced a lot of phone calls to our building scheduler. Now that these requests have to be tied to some event calendar, I think it is going to be really confusing for people.


The new calendar does require a change in thinking. But I think you'll be better off embracing the new philosophy, rather than trying to force the new calendar to do things the old way.

The new calendar system will dramatically reduce the work the building scheduler has to do, since he no longer has to be involved in the vast majority of events that are scheduled. So he should have some free time to handle a few more calls for the situation you are talking about.
rolfejr wrote:We'd have to create an additional calendar for each resource when that resource already HAS a calendar, just to give the member someplace to submit the event to.


This won't work. There's no way for members to submit events to any calendar (unless they are specifically designated as editors or are calendar approvers). And you wouldn't want an additional calendar for each resource, anyway.


rolfejr wrote:I thought of just creating one calendar called something like "Personal Requests" but then you'd run into false conflicts for events at the same time using different resources - plus it would just be confusing for people when trying to check the availability of a resource..."Which calendar am I supposed to look at?" It just seems redundant.


Since a calendar is not tied to a resource, there is no way for a member to look at a calendar to see what is scheduled, anyway. The cultural hall, for example, could be scheduled on any of the calendars.

rolfejr wrote:Is there any hope that we might be able to submit requests to schedule resources without it having to be on a calendar separate from the resource?


I have created a single "Resource Only" calendar where I put events that don't belong on any ward or stake calendar, but need to reserve a resource. The building scheduler can use that calendar to reserve events such as a family reunion. It works pretty well.
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preston.baxter
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Postby preston.baxter » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:51 pm

You could {shudder} make all your ward members editors to a calendar for their various personal uses of the building.

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Postby jdlessley » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:48 pm

preston.baxter wrote:You could {shudder} make all your ward members editors to a calendar for their various personal uses of the building.
Keeping the list of editors current would become a nightmare. There would be more work involved for this approach than having the building scheduler receiving a few telephone calls or e-mails.
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rolfejr
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Postby rolfejr » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:26 pm

A little background:
We originally had a building scheduler for each building. Regular ward (i.e. youth) activities didn't involve the building scheduler - the buildings were simply reserved for ward activities on their activity night. To simplify building scheduling, eliminate conflicts, and make it easier on everyone, we went to scheduling everything online and using the resource calendars. This simplified things greatly, and we were able to go to one building scheduler for the entire stake.

This worked well because:
1) Any member could, at a quick glance, see the availability of any resource in the stake
2) They could submit requests to schedule buildings right there on the calendar

The GREATLY reduced the number of phone calls to the building scheduler. This became our standard procedure for scheduling the building for non-regular youth events (enrichment nights, personal building use, elders quorum social, etc.) The only drawback was having to submit something twice - once to put it on the ward calendar, and once to schedule the building. I was hoping the new calendar would solve that, which it has, but only for editors of a calendar.

Now it sounds like we are going back to having to manually coordinate everything again. A member would have to look at all the different calendars to determine if a building is available rather than just looking at one calendar for the building (or they'd just have to call the building scheduler). And I'm surprised that there is no functionality for a member to submit a request. This will mean a HUGE increase in workload for the building scheduler going back to fielding phone calls all the time again. We could easily set something like this up in Google Calendar, but obviously we don't want to go there.

Ironically, I guess we are just going to have to abandon what we already had and go back to doing things the old fashioned way. In this new scenario, I can't come up with a process that works as well as what we had in the old calendar system. I don't mean to complain, I love a lot of the enhancements the new calendar system brings, I'm just trying to figure out the best way to schedule buildings giving these new limitations going forward...

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:00 pm

rolfejr wrote:Now it sounds like we are going back to having to manually coordinate everything again. A member would have to look at all the different calendars to determine if a building is available rather than just looking at one calendar for the building (or they'd just have to call the building scheduler).


Any calendar editor can click on the building in the Subscribed Locations area and see all the events scheduled for the building. It's not necessary to look at all the calendars, or to call the building scheduler.

rolfejr wrote:And I'm surprised that there is no functionality for a member to submit a request. This will mean a HUGE increase in workload for the building scheduler going back to fielding phone calls all the time again.


Although I am certainly aware that there are some reasons why regular members would want to schedule events (I first raised the issue here), it should be a relatively rare event. So I don't see how it creates a "HUGE increase in workload for the building scheduler." Once you set up the auxiliary and quorum leaders as editors, and you'll probably have some main calendar administrator who does a lot of the scheduling the ward's events, any additional requests from other ward members should be fairly uncommon. If it's a common occurrence, then I would start to wonder if you have missed creating appropriate calendars with appropriate editors.

rolfejr wrote:Ironically, I guess we are just going to have to abandon what we already had and go back to doing things the old fashioned way. In this new scenario, I can't come up with a process that works as well as what we had in the old calendar system. I don't mean to complain, I love a lot of the enhancements the new calendar system brings, I'm just trying to figure out the best way to schedule buildings giving these new limitations going forward...


The new system is working pretty well in our stake. We've still got a bit of training to do, but the total number of requests made by people who aren't calendar editors is 2 or 3 over the last 6 weeks. The ability to schedule resources with events is a great improvement, and the recurring event handling is much improved (the old system was so bad in this regard that we pretty much gave up on using recurring events).

I think if you read through the various suggestions on this forum, and make sure you're using the capabilities of the new system, you'll eventually be able to come up with a system that you will like just as well as the old system. And for specific features you'd really like to see, don't neglect to use Submit Feedback to request those improvements -- the system will continue to be improved over time.
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rolfejr
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Postby rolfejr » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:49 pm

I'm trying really hard to fit our policies into the new calendar system, and we've run into another snag. Our stake has all youth activites only on tuesday and wednesday to allow for more family time. This means that buildings with three wards end up sharing a night with another ward for youth activities (they rotate who shares each year). It hasn't really been a problem - the wards just coordinate who will use which part of the building. With the new calendar, I can't assign two wards to one resource at the same time. I want to make sure people don't schedule resources when they shouldn't, so I would like to be able to make assignments and block out the other days, but I don't see how I can do that. Any suggestions?

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:03 pm

rolfejr wrote:It hasn't really been a problem - the wards just coordinate who will use which part of the building. With the new calendar, I can't assign two wards to one resource at the same time. I want to make sure people don't schedule resources when they shouldn't, so I would like to be able to make assignments and block out the other days, but I don't see how I can do that. Any suggestions?


If it wasn't a problem before, then is it a problem that you can't fully implement this feature now? The calendar is not the last word on what is allowed. Presumably these activities go though some kind of correlation at the ward level where an improperly scheduled event can the taken care of.

Yes, it would be nice if it took care of all these situations, but it's still a work in progress.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:57 pm

rolfejr wrote:... buildings with three wards end up sharing a night with another ward for youth activities (they rotate who shares each year). It hasn't really been a problem - the wards just coordinate who will use which part of the building. With the new calendar, I can't assign two wards to one resource at the same time. I want to make sure people don't schedule resources when they shouldn't, so I would like to be able to make assignments and block out the other days, but I don't see how I can do that. Any suggestions?


We have that exact issue in two of our buildings. But long before the new calendar system came on line, the wards that share a night worked out a rotation that has worked well. Ward A gets the Cultural Hall and the kitchen and some classrooms on 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, and gets the multi-purpose room and some other classrooms on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays; Ward B gets the alternating schedule. That system fit nicely into the Resource Assignment feature of the new calendar. Ward A can easily plan ahead and schedule activities that require the Cultural Hall for 1st and 3rd Wednesdays.

Although in general you would like technology to accommodate your procedures, and not the other way around, perhaps doing something like what I described would produce some helpful benefits and reduce the amount of coordination needed. With the system our stake uses, the wards only need to coordinate if they need to request an exception where they need the cultural hall or kitchen on the other ward's night. That's very rare.
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Postby Aczlan » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:19 pm

rolfejr wrote:I'm trying really hard to fit our policies into the new calendar system, and we've run into another snag. Our stake has all youth activites only on tuesday and wednesday to allow for more family time. This means that buildings with three wards end up sharing a night with another ward for youth activities (they rotate who shares each year). It hasn't really been a problem - the wards just coordinate who will use which part of the building. With the new calendar, I can't assign two wards to one resource at the same time. I want to make sure people don't schedule resources when they shouldn't, so I would like to be able to make assignments and block out the other days, but I don't see how I can do that. Any suggestions?

Split up your resources up into smaller blocks? You could make several resources such as:
  • Front 1/2 of Gym
  • Back 1/2 Gym
  • YW Room
  • Stage
  • Multipurpose Room

Then allow the units to coordinate the scheduling of them as they have done in the past.
If you want to block out part of the building for the YM/YW, create your blocking event in a calender that they (the various YM/YW leaders) can all edit and let them clear your "block event" when they have the building use coordinated and are ready to schedule.

Aaron Z


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