Timing of Home Teaching Route Changes

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TomPittman7
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Timing of Home Teaching Route Changes

Postby TomPittman7 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:51 pm

Speaking of the LCR and home and visiting teaching, the LCR is frustratingly onerous to use when it comes to move-ins and move-outs, and when trying to get accurate historical reporting; I hope it is high on someone's list to improve it soon.

Specifically, home teaching data should be locked in or "frozen" for each month. Because it is not, every month we have to hassle with work-arounds.

Example #1: Brother A was a spotty home teacher that just moved out of the ward. His former home teaching assignment is now covered by Brother B, who is and has always been a faithful home teacher. Unfortunately for Brother B, now that Brother A has moved and his records are moved, the LCR inaccurately reports that Brother B is the one that has missed his families 7 of the last 8 months, and that's the report the stake sees on Brother B's home teaching performance when they are looking for someone to fill a calling.

Example #2: The High Priest Group Leadership met in mid-November and prayerfully reorganized home teaching assignments for December, but thanks to limitations in the LCR, the only way they will have the new home teachers ready to take their assignments on December 1 is if they NOT use the LCR and go to Word or Excel to do the job.

Why? Because if we were to update the LCR now, in November, to reflect the change of assignments for December, it will destroy the routes for November before they are even reported on.

Consequently, each month we have to wait until all the previous month's reporting is in, say December 6, THEN we can update the home teaching routes for the coming month.

When you consider that changes to home teaching first need to be seen and approved by the bishop before the new home teachers can be informed of their new assignments, the result is that the LCR forces us to lose at least one full week of each month before being able to notify home teachers of their assignments.

Right now it appears that the only way not to lose the first Sunday or two to inform home teachers of changes is to use desktop software like Word or Excel to keep an almost parallel home teaching system where we can make home teaching changes for the coming month. From this off-line system we can give a copy of the new districts to the Bishop to approve, then we can print and notify home teachers on December 1, then wait for December 6 when the November reports are in so that we can paste the changes from the desktop software into the LCR.

Ideally, we should be able to set December's home teaching districts, companionships and assignments in November, and not destroy November reporting doing it. Then, while it is still November, the Bishop should be able to view the proposed December routes, approve them, then the approved December districts should be available for the HPG to print and distribute to home teachers on the first day of the month, instead of the second or third Sunday into the month.
Last edited by TomPittman7 on Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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aebrown
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Re: Timing of Home Teaching Route Changes

Postby aebrown » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:21 pm

[Moderator note: I split this post from this topic, since that discussion was about which callings had access to certain HT/VT information, and this is a different issue]

You raise some good issues. To make sure that the right people see this, use the Feedback link (found near the bottom of each page in LCR).

russellhltn
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Re: Timing of Home Teaching Route Changes

Postby russellhltn » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:24 pm

Keep in mind the statistics are for seeing how the families are supported - they're not there to "grade" the teachers. Note that when a family moves in, you can see the visit record from the prior ward.

I'm sure both examples were issues with the old MLS system as well - and for the same reason.

That said, I'm sure it would be nice to have some kind of indicator that prior visits were done with a different companionship so then viewing the visit record you're not distracted by old problems.
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scgallafent
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Re: Timing of Home Teaching Route Changes

Postby scgallafent » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:36 pm

TomPittman7 wrote:Example #1: Brother A was a spotty home teacher that just moved out of the ward. His former home teaching assignment is now covered by Brother B, who is and has always been a faithful home teacher. Unfortunately for Brother B, now that Brother A has moved and his records are moved, the LCR inaccurately reports that Brother B is the one that has missed his families 7 of the last 8 months, and that's the report the stake sees on Brother B's home teaching performance when they are looking for someone to fill a calling.

Why is someone using that data to "grade" Brother B? What it reflects is that the family has not been regularly visited by home teachers. Brother B, who has been a faithful home teacher in the past, is now in a position to ensure that the family receives more consistent contact with home teachers and is strengthened by their visits. That's it. If we're grading anything, it is whether a family has had regular contact with home teachers (or a sister with visiting teachers).

TomPittman7 wrote:Example #2: The High Priest Group Leadership met in mid-November and prayerfully reorganized home teaching assignments for December, but thanks to limitations in the LCR, the only way they will have the new home teachers ready to take their assignments on December 1 is if they NOT use the LCR and go to Word or Excel to do the job.

Why? Because if we were to update the LCR now, in November, to reflect the change of assignments for December, it will destroy the routes for November before they are even reported on.

Consequently, each month we have to wait until all the previous month's reporting is in, say December 6, THEN we can update the home teaching routes for the coming month.

We are aware of this. The instructions the developers were received were to migrate the home and visiting teaching capabilities in MLS to LCR and to resist the temptation to add additional features. The issue you are describing worked the same way in MLS. There has been discussion about potential changes to this, but I don't have any specifics on what or when anything might happen.

You do not necessarily need to wait until receiving reports for November to make home teaching changes. When a home teacher talks with a quorum leader, hopefully he gives the quorum leader a list of families visited and not visited. The visit information can be updated directly from the Household tab. It is more convenient to update it from the companionship tab, but there are ways to make this work with the current implementation. I'm not saying that is an ideal solution -- everyone involved knows that there are ways that it could be improved. Those improvements will come with time.

TomPittman7
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Re: Timing of Home Teaching Route Changes

Postby TomPittman7 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:42 pm

@aerown: Thanks.

@russellhltn: We agree that Example #1 really isn't a big concern -- although we do wonder what the point of reports are if they aren't accurate -- but for us Example #2 is a monthly concern.

When we were first called, it took us a month or three of confusion to realize that once home teachers have been notified of their assignments, no one in the HPG leadership can touch the LCS except for those few days right after a monthly report goes in, otherwise we mess up our ability to get an accurate report in.

eblood66
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Re: Timing of Home Teaching Route Changes

Postby eblood66 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:53 pm

TomPittman7 wrote:When we were first called, it took us a month or three of confusion to realize that once home teachers have been notified of their assignments, no one in the HPG leadership can touch the LCS except for those few days right after a monthly report goes in, otherwise we mess up our ability to get an accurate report in.

As scgallafent indicated, that isn't true. You can still enter the visits using the household view. All that matters is that the household is marked as visited, not who did the visit.

TomPittman7
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Re: Timing of Home Teaching Route Changes

Postby TomPittman7 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:08 pm

scgallafent wrote:Why is someone using that data to "grade" Brother B? What it reflects is that the family has not been regularly visited by home teachers. Brother B, who has been a faithful home teacher in the past, is now in a position to ensure that the family receives more consistent contact with home teachers and is strengthened by their visits. That's it. If we're grading anything, it is whether a family has had regular contact with home teachers (or a sister with visiting teachers).


Thanks for your feedback, but I never meant for the focus to be on the hypothetical situation invented to make a point. What I was hoping to illustrate was that LCS reports aren't really useable because of the way move-ins and move-outs are processed. :) I now see you guys know this as well and agree.

scgallafent wrote:We are aware of this. The instructions the developers were received were to migrate the home and visiting teaching capabilities in MLS to LCR and to resist the temptation to add additional features. The issue you are describing worked the same way in MLS. There has been discussion about potential changes to this, but I don't have any specifics on what or when anything might happen.


Ah, I see. We are somewhat newly called and are therefore unfamiliar with the old MLS. I just knew the LCR is new and was giving what I thought I was helpful feedback to possibly inform new features for the new system.

scgallafent wrote:You do not necessarily need to wait until receiving reports for November to make home teaching changes. When a home teacher talks with a quorum leader, hopefully he gives the quorum leader a list of families visited and not visited. The visit information can be updated directly from the Household tab. It is more convenient to update it from the companionship tab, but there are ways to make this work with the current implementation. I'm not saying that is an ideal solution -- everyone involved knows that there are ways that it could be improved. Those improvements will come with time.


I didn't know that; thanks for the tip. :)

By the way, I think it is AMAZING that we are doing any of this from our home computers rather than queuing up at the Clerk's office for our turn at the MLS.

I am so grateful to all those making this happen for us.

Moreover, I think it's wonderful that our feedback is solicited and considered. Very impressive!

Cheers!
Tom

TomPittman7
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Re: Timing of Home Teaching Route Changes

Postby TomPittman7 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:13 pm

eblood66 wrote:All that matters is that the household is marked as visited, not who did the visit.
Let me start by confessing that I'm kind of dumbfounded by this conversation so far.

It does matter who did the visit because home teaching needs to be organized in a way that assures visits get done.

Case in point: to assure all households get visited, leaders often need to pair up a struggling home teacher with a companion who is strong. Before they can do that, they need to know who makes visits, right?

Of course I'm NOT saying that the LCR should produce a report on an individual home teacher's track record, but what is definitely not helpful to any leader are historic reports that don't reflect actual history. It would be better for the LCR to use a generic label for past home teachers than to insert the names of people who had nothing to do with what is being reported for that time period.

Our stake president has made it clear that he watches the home teaching activity of his high counselors. Thanks to LCR, this is easier for him to do than before. But what he doesn't know is that a high priest group leader could reassign a high counselor to another family and unintentionally leave a false impression with the stake president about that brother's service as a home teacher.

I realize now that the LCR just paved the cow path cut by the MLS, but I'm guessing most leaders don't know that yet. Consequently, their expectations are different, and they seem to be using it in ways that weren't anticipated.

That said, as a newbie to these forums... I must say that I am really surprised at some of the comments here. I would have thought that our conversation here would focus more on how the LCR serves leaders and clerks, not on what should matter to leaders and clerks.

eblood66 wrote:As scgallafent indicated, that isn't true. You can still enter the visits using the household view.


Thanks for the tip, but I wonder how viable this is as a solution.

For example, our ward's High Priest group is divided into 3 districts, one led by the group leader, and the other two led by his assistants. Naturally they don't want to wade through things that don't pertain to them, so right away they will eschew the Households tab and go for the Companionships tab that groups home teaching by district.

Then there is the workflow of home teaching reporting. In our ward, each person in the group leadership gets phone calls at random times that go something like this, "Brother X, this is Brother Y, I did my home teaching this month." Note that the specific families to check off were not mentioned.

If a group leader or quorum president in our ward were to use the Households tab as recommended here, he would have to scroll up and down and visually hunt across 92 households to find each of the families a home teacher visits. Perhaps some might use their browser's "Find On Page" command, but it isn't likely.

Realistically, the Companionships tab is the de facto way to check off home teaching visits. It just fits the home teaching workflow better.

Consequently, I don't know about the policy of asking people to check off home teaching visits in the Household tab. Rather than focus on trying to change their behavior, I'd rather focus on changing LCR to better serve them, hence these FRIENDLY suggestions.

TomPittman7
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Re: Timing of Home Teaching Route Changes

Postby TomPittman7 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:33 pm

aebrown wrote:[Moderator note: I split this post from this topic, since that discussion was about which callings had access to certain HT/VT information, and this is a different issue]

You raise some good issues. To make sure that the right people see this, use the Feedback link (found near the bottom of each page in LCR).

Thanks again for the suggestion of using the Feedback link at the bottom of the page in LCR; I've now passed this along through that channel.

Cheers!

eblood66
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Re: Timing of Home Teaching Route Changes

Postby eblood66 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:46 pm

TomPittman7 wrote:Rather than focus on trying to change their behavior, I'd rather focus on changing LCR to better serve them, hence these FRIENDLY suggestions.

First, please understand that all of us (except scgallafent) are just users like yourself. Although we can discuss ways to make LCR work better we can't do anything to make that happen. Even scgallafent (who is an LCR developer) can't make them happen either. The decision makers who can decide what changes to make don't visit these forums. So the way to submit suggestions to those decision makers is via the feedback link in LCR as aebrown indicated.

My perspective is from someone who has viewed the church development process for quite some time (my father even worked as a developer at CHQ for 20 years before he retired). And one thing that is pretty much a constant is that changes like this take quite a while and in the mean time we do have to change our behavior to match the system. My comments were meant just as suggestions on how to deal with the system as it is since I think its unlikely that your suggestions would be implemented anytime in the next couple years.

TomPittman7 wrote:It does matter who did the visit because home teaching needs to be organized in a way that assures visits get done.

Case in point: to assure all households get visited, leaders often need to pair up a struggling home teacher with a companion who is strong. Before they can do that, they need to know who makes visits, right?

I don't disagree that this is important. When I said it doesn't matter who made the visit, I meant that the current system doesn't track that so when a visit is recorded is doesn't matter who is currently assigned to the family. Even if you mark it before changing routes the result after the routes are changed will be the same.


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