Scheduling Conflicts

Discussions about the Calendar Tool at lds.org. Questions about the calendar on the classic site should be posted in the LUWS forum.
jonejam2
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Postby jonejam2 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:19 pm

Thank you again! Maybe this belongs in a new thread, but We are having such growing pains with this new calendar and migrating away from the old LUWS calendar.

The new calendar just doesn't seem to work for our needs yet, but we are using in 90% now. We have 3 wards and the stake in our stake building - that makes scheduling resources a nightmare.
1. Not all of the rooms / locations in the building (or outside for that matter) are in the locations part of the calendar yet.
2. The stake has blocked off complete days for each ward on a rotating schedule, which makes the whole building unavailable for use by other wards.
3. Then there is no function to put a ward building scheduler in place to help other wards find openings in the building on days assigned to a particular ward - no-one knows who to call on the "Blocked off" days to try and borrow a room or location not being used by the "Assigned" ward.
4. Once you do get a hold of someone in the "Assigned" ward who says they aren't using a room - go ahead - there should be a way (within the calendar itself) to send a request to that ward to approve an event by another ward and thus "assign" that resource to prevent confusion.
5. Finally, the stake has needs as well. So we have 4 entities vying for access to very limited resources in one building and no-one seems to know how to resolve the problems. People are being bumped on the night of their events because the assigned ward that day told them they could have it, but someone else in that ward just assumed the resource was open because the borrowing ward could not assign the resource even with approval from the assigned ward. Worse yet - and this has happened - the "assigned" ward for that day "changed their mind" and scheduled the resource loaned to our ward for their own use.

It's not yet "Pandelerium" but the potential is there the more people start using it.

Does any of this make sense? I know it doesn't strictly adhere to the original topic but in the end I guess the LUWS is no better and should be done away with soon.

Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.
thanks

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:50 pm

Moderator note: New thread started in appropriate section.

I'm not fully on top of the new calendar, but I do know a few things:

1) Additional resources/locations can be created.
2) It seems like it would be better if they reserved the location rather then schedule an activity.
3) That sounds more like a stake organizational problem then a technical one. The system does handle it.

I'd start by reviewing the calendar help file.
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jonejam2
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Postby jonejam2 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:40 am

Thanks for moving this. I spent the last hour or so reading through the calendar helps. It is becoming quite clear that the organizational structure really needs to be thought out. The whole idea of getting rid of a "Centralized / Single Scheduler" who approves all calendars is kind of lost in the need for building schedulers who can run roughshod over the whole system. At one point in the Calendar help, it says the building scheduler resolves conflicts for resources based on Priesthood Priority. I'm not making waves, but what does that priority system entail? I would rather have 1000 PH holders mad at me than my wife who was just told to find another location for her event starting in a couple of hours :)

I just discovered we have 3 wards, the stake, and a stake singles ward all vying for the resources in one building - (5) entities - our calendar looks like a christmas tree :)

What seems to be happening is that the stake has assigned certain days to each ward. Then the Stake comes through and schedules events on those "assigned" days for stake dances etc. That totally removes the ability of the ward to schedule events with any certainty of having their event held in the desired location and having some time available for setup/takedown. I think all of this is solved by a good solid plan and an unwillingness by the stake to deviate from the plan without some serious thought. Give a ward their date and leave them alone unless something drastic happens - like a flood - barring that, don't schedule events on that wards assigned days. It's not really a system problem, but like Russel says above - it's an Organizational problem.

BUT - I think the ability to send requests to another ward (through the system) for a specific resource should be added to the system and IS a system problem.

For example: If an "Assigned" ward is not using the Relief Society room on their "assigned" day, then another ward should be able to send a "Request" (through the calendar) to an approver or building scheduler from that ward for approval. Once that approval is granted by the building scheduler of that ward, then the system automatically should enter the event into the calendar and prevent the "assigned" ward from changing it without approval from the ward given permission.

This would END the need for someone from one ward trying to track down (in panicked phone calls) an editor/approver from another ward to borrow a physical resource. It would be done through the system.

Does that make sense?

nutterb
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Postby nutterb » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:41 am

It can be done through the system...sort of. The feature you are lacking is a direct "request event" button that would allow a user to request the location or resource on a day not assigned to his or her ward. But it can still be circumvented. You just have to contact the building scheduler.

In the new calendar, the centralized building scheduler does still exist. He or she is the person responsible for resolving conflicts that arise in requests for resources. The difference is that now, he or she does not have to approve every event request--only the ones in which a conflict arises, or in which a ward wants to reserve a resource on a date it does not possess an assignment.

So, if Ward A wants to schedule a room on the night of Ward B's assignment, someone from Ward A would contact the building scheduler. The building scheduler would speak with someone from Ward B. If Ward B agrees to let Ward A use the resource/location that night, the building scheduler can change the assignment for that time frame so that Ward A is able to schedule the building. By changing the assignment, you also take away Ward B's ability to change their mind.

It also helps if you get agreement between the wards that what's on the calendar is law. We made this arrangement with the other ward in our building. We operate on a first-come first-served basis for reservations, and if your event isn't on the calendar, then be prepared to not have your event if someone else schedules the time. Earlier this year, we had to take this stance when the full-time missionaries in the other ward decided on Thursday night to have a baptism on Friday night at the same time as our ward activity without bothering to tell/ask us. The missionaries were upset that we couldn't keep the noise down with our 50+ young children. The bishops simply told them, "that's what happens when you ignore the calendar."

So, I think organizationally, you need an active and engaged person to act as the building scheduler--this should be someone who is willing and able to respond quickly and talk with people across all the units. He or she should also be fully trained on how to handle events, resources, locations, and assignments. I think you'll also have to press your stake leadership to coordinate through the building scheduler rather than just assuming priority. Finally, I think you need to get stern with all of the ward and stake leaders that if it isn't on the calendar, it isn't an approved event--and what's on the calendar is what gets priority.

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:55 pm

jonejam2 wrote:The whole idea of getting rid of a "Centralized / Single Scheduler" who approves all calendars is kind of lost in the need for building schedulers who can run roughshod over the whole system.
The choice of the word roughshod here appears to be overly critical of the role the building scheduler has and their character. There is no more chance for impropriety of a building scheduler in this system than there was for the centralized or single scheduler of any previous system. Anyone magnifying their calling and following the Spirit would most likely ensure fair use of resources.

jonejam2 wrote:At one point in the Calendar help, it says the building scheduler resolves conflicts for resources based on Priesthood Priority. I'm not making waves, but what does that priority system entail?
Where did you find this? I am not trying to be contrary, but I can't find this exact wording. Under what section of the help was this in? I did find something similar in the Overwrite Locations section on the Reserving Locations and Resourcespage that reads -
... if group A schedules the cultural hall first but later group B needs that resource on the same night has priority for it by Priesthood Assignment, the building scheduler can ...
This is an acknowledgement that Priesthood leaders have the authority to override the system for a higher priority. The building scheduler is the point at which this intervention is implemented. I would not expect this to happen often. An example is when a general authority is coming to visit on short notice. The stake president can ask the building scheduler to reserve resources for the visit and that reservation has priority over previously scheduled events. Likewise, in a single unit building the bishop can override the schedule for a higher priority event. It becomes more complicated in a multi-unit location.

In my previous stake baptisms took a high priority. There were times when previously scheduled events where moved to another resource within the same location or to another date or location to accommodate the baptism(s). This only happend occassionally. But I think this is what the section I quoted is referring to. The priority is not a system but the judgement and inspiration of the Priesthood leaders.

jonejam2 wrote:What seems to be happening is that the stake has assigned certain days to each ward. Then the Stake comes through and schedules events on those "assigned" days for stake dances etc. That totally removes the ability of the ward to schedule events with any certainty of having their event held in the desired location and having some time available for setup/takedown.
In multi-unit use locations, and especially the stake center, there can be difficulty in determining priority. The first-come-first-served method of reservations has benefits. It promotes organizational planning far enough advance to allow conflict resolution. Those planning late end up either finding leftover resources or asking for accommodation.

There does not seem to be anything in your situation as you describe it to determine what method your stake is using to schedule stake events. If they are scheduling events by overriding the ward assigned resources but before any ward event is scheduled then I cannot see any better method to handle this. I would suspect the stake would honor a previously scheduled event and not use the building scheduler's ability to override and insert the stake event without resolving the conflict with the previously scheduled event editor.

There is currently a lack of a specific system method for reserving resources for event setup or cleanup. There have been recommendations for workarounds in other threads. We suspect that future system enhancements will encorporate this feature.

jonejam2 wrote:I think all of this is solved by a good solid plan and an unwillingness by the stake to deviate from the plan without some serious thought. Give a ward their date and leave them alone unless something drastic happens - like a flood - barring that, don't schedule events on that wards assigned days.
I don't think this approach is realistic. We have to realize that the stake cannot plan all the stake events in enough detail far enough in advance to ensure that your recommendation would permit stake activities and events to occur. Did each ward sharing the stake center have their schedule of needed resources in place before 2011 began? I doubt that they had more that a few events tentatively scheduled or planned by 1 January. So then why expect the stake to be held to a higher standard and have their plan for 2011 done by 1 January? There needs to be room for the stake auxiliaries to plan and schedule activities and events.

jonejam2 wrote:BUT - I think the ability to send requests to another ward (through the system) for a specific resource should be added to the system and IS a system problem.
I agree there needs to be a system method to make a request for assigned yet unscheduled resources. Part of that is to first be able to see what is scheduled. There are other threads discussing the need to be able to easily view resources scheduled. With the capability to see resources scheduled, even for resources assigned to another unit, an event editor would then be able pursue communication to reserve unused resources.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:29 pm

Some events can be scheduled in advance. Others, such as baptisms and funerals cannot. It is not unheard of for stake conferences to get moved by request of the visiting authority. The bottom line is there has to be a manual system for working out the conflicts that will arise. Not everyone will be happy, but at if done properly, it will be fair. But that's something done by the leaders, not "the (computer) system".

Like many things, some leaders are better then others at handling this challenge than others.
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jonejam2
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Postby jonejam2 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:08 pm

Thanks for your detailed response.

I did not mean to be derogatory when I put the word "Roughshod" in my initial post about the Building Scheduler's role, and I certainly was not referring to their character. It IS their role and responsibility to oversee the building's resource - it was poor word choice. This was more a reference to their capability to change any assignment at any time. My apologies to anyone offended.

I do believe that the first-come / first-served system works in all but exceptional situations. If the stake is going to give each entity in the stake center an assigned day or two during the week as an "Assigned" day, then I believe the stake should stick to that schedule as well. A surprise baptism (or another event not yet dreamed of) may need to be accommodated, but that should be the exception - not the rule. It is very hard to plan "That far out" if you never know whether your planning is going to be overridden. It takes some time to rearrange the schedule of every Relief society member or Elder's Quorum member when an event is changed - especially on short notice - not only does the event often get cancelled, but any funds already spent to provide food or other resources, are wasted.

My initial answer that good planning and sticking to the plan is the most appropriate answer (barring an emergency event, where priesthood authority should be consulted).

In reference to holding the Stake to a higher standard, that is not at all what I am doing. In this specific instance, the stake assigned our ward a specific day for the whole year at the beginning of the year. Then took the cultural hall on that day every week for the entire year. I know the stake has a need for resources just as much, and sometimes more than, the wards. The hope was that neither the stake nor each ward would be REQUIRED to plan every event for the whole year in advance - thus the assignment of "specific days" of the week for each ward.

Possibly when the building scheduler makes a change in an assignment, instead of relying on the building scheduler to make a phone call, the system should automatically email the person who set up the original event to notify them of the change and provide contact information for the person making the change. Also, I believe my original idea to have an automated means to work between wards to schedule unassigned reserved resources also seems to stand as a good idea and I hope it will be included in a future release.

Again, I apologize if I offended anyone with my original "Roughshod" comment or anything else I commented on.

jonejam2
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Postby jonejam2 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:26 pm

nutterb wrote:It can be done through the system...sort of. The feature you are lacking is a direct "request event" button that would allow a user to request the location or resource on a day not assigned to his or her ward. But it can still be circumvented. You just have to contact the building scheduler.


Thank you. My idea was to automate this function. Maybe the answer is to send this request through the system to the Building Scheduler via email/text msg or ? instead of to the other entity assigned that block of time.

nutterb wrote:In the new calendar, the centralized building scheduler does still exist. He or she is the person responsible for resolving conflicts that arise in requests for resources. The difference is that now, he or she does not have to approve every event request--only the ones in which a conflict arises, or in which a ward wants to reserve a resource on a date it does not possess an assignment.


Agree. I think this is the KEY focus of the new calendar system - so doing as much as we can to automate possible conflicting resource needs will help keep this focus.

nutterb wrote:So, if Ward A wants to schedule a room on the night of Ward B's assignment, someone from Ward A would contact the building scheduler. The building scheduler would speak with someone from Ward B. If Ward B agrees to let Ward A use the resource/location that night, the building scheduler can change the assignment for that time frame so that Ward A is able to schedule the building. By changing the assignment, you also take away Ward B's ability to change their mind.


Again, this is exactly what I would like to see the system automate. So I think you are right. My focus was on dealing between the assigned resource (Ward a) and the requesting resource (ward b). Your answer may still be correct if we automate this to involve the building scheduler. But, it still puts another middleman into the works when ward a and ward b can talk to each other "Through the system".

nutterb wrote:It also helps if you get agreement between the wards that what's on the calendar is law. We made this arrangement with the other ward in our building. We operate on a first-come first-served basis for reservations, and if your event isn't on the calendar, then be prepared to not have your event if someone else schedules the time. Earlier this year, we had to take this stance when the full-time missionaries in the other ward decided on Thursday night to have a baptism on Friday night at the same time as our ward activity without bothering to tell/ask us. The missionaries were upset that we couldn't keep the noise down with our 50+ young children. The bishops simply told them, "that's what happens when you ignore the calendar."


This is where the PLAN comes in. Good planning (setting up all resources in the system, fair division of available resources and time on a rotating schedule as agreed between stake and wards, a plan for requesting resources from other wards on a routine basis, and a plan for extraordinary needs) will solve all of these problems. But, only if everyone sticks to the plan as much as humanly possible.

nutterb wrote:So, I think organizationally, you need an active and engaged person to act as the building scheduler--this should be someone who is willing and able to respond quickly and talk with people across all the units. He or she should also be fully trained on how to handle events, resources, locations, and assignments. I think you'll also have to press your stake leadership to coordinate through the building scheduler rather than just assuming priority.Finally, I think you need to get stern with all of the ward and stake leaders that if it isn't on the calendar, it isn't an approved event--and what's on the calendar is what gets priority.
This is absolutely critical in my opinion. Everyone needs to agree - then we can find the one off situations and deal with them (as they come up) through Priesthood leaders.

I agree with you - the only thing I would add is the need to automate most of this, and a solid discussion as to whether the Building Scheduler should be inserted between the wards/users or whether we should deliver the capability of each ward/user to communicate directly to resolve conflicts or request resources on anything BUT an emergency event. The emergency is where the building scheduler should come in.


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