Are we REALLY ready to turn off classic calendars on 30 Dec 2011?

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jficklin
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Are we REALLY ready to turn off classic calendars on 30 Dec 2011?

Postby jficklin » Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:37 am

I note that when one tries to enter an event which begins after the end of 2011 on the classic calendar, a pop up informs that the classic calendar will be turned off at the end of the year and the event cannot be scheduled. Are we REALLY ready to do turn off classic calendars? Given the large number of issues still associated with the new calendar - particularly v.2 - and especially for stakes that were early adopters of the classic calendar and which have implemented it extensively, I for one am not sure the new calendar is ready to be the only choice. Because of the many issues in the new calendar, our stake to this point has elected not to use it, and currently have all our scheduling available ONLY on the classic calendar. It's not that we haven't been aware of the new calendar, nor that we haven't attempted to put it to use - we kept both the classic and new calendar synced for some time. It's just that the new calendar just doesn't take into account very effectively the value of good quality resource schedulers. It doesn't seem to have a straightforward way to schedule equipment and resources not tied to a specific building, which we do extensively. It doesn't seem to have a way for a regular member to request scheduling of a building or resource directly on-line (the "submit" button). If you want to request something, someone has to give you rights on the calendar in question, or you have to call someone who has rights.

Now, of course, all this is, in part, due to a reluctance on our part to fully embrace the "let the control go" paradigm of the new calendar, so I suppose we need to get our heads around the need to embrace the new philosophy. That said, I have to note that most of the new calendar and its scheduling philosophy appear to have been developed without a whole lot of consultation with or input from active schedulers using the classic calendar. In our stake we have found that a reliable, sensible, thinking person with a good relationship to priesthood leaders appears to be much superior as an on-line scheduler than a computer program. While the new calendar does make it possible to use strong schedulers for buildings and resources... it is not easy nor intuitive. It's more like a series of "workarounds" that permit a strong scheduler to maintain a portion of the capabilities they once had in managing the resource for which they are called to be responsible.

So, are we "out in left field?" Do we need "to get a life" and change our mind set regarding the person oriented facilitation of resource use we have embraced up to now? Are we the only, or one of just a few, stakes finding this difficult? Is there any chance the church will consider extending the life of classic calendars? Any insight is appreciated. Thanks all.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:30 am

jficklin wrote:So, are we "out in left field?" Do we need "to get a life" and change our mind set regarding the person oriented facilitation of resource use we have embraced up to now? Are we the only, or one of just a few, stakes finding this difficult? Is there any chance the church will consider extending the life of classic calendars? Any insight is appreciated. Thanks all.


The v1 help system has a helpful section titled A Cultural Shift in Scheduling. I don't know how long the v1 help system will be available so that you can follow that link, but near the end of that section is a list of safeguards that help prevent scheduling conflicts, followed by this statement: "Even with these safeguards, the new calendar requires a degree of trust and familiarity. It poses a cultural shift in scheduling as much as a technical one."

That is so true. It requires a completely different mindset on the part of building schedulers, priesthood leaders, calendar editors, and members. You really do have to be willing to let go of a substantial amount of control. And it takes time to change the way people operate and think about scheduling -- it certainly doesn't change overnight. But we have found that the shift happened more quickly than anyone anticipated.

With properly configured reservations, locations, and rooms, at least 90% of the events are scheduled smoothly with no need for the building scheduler to even be aware. You alleged that "most of the new calendar and its scheduling philosophy appear to have been developed without a whole lot of consultation with or input from active schedulers using the classic calendar." I am not familiar with the precise development history of the calendar, but I really doubt that your allegation is true. I know that product managers do extensive research before embarking on a new project, and so I'm quite confident that building schedulers were consulted. It appears to me that the new system is marvelous for building schedulers, since hardly any scheduling needs their attention at all (and I function as a building scheduler, so my statement is not just hypothetical). Once in a while a conflict arises that a building scheduler needs to smooth out, but that's the exception.

The one point you made that I strongly agree with is that the lack of a Submit Event feature on the new calendar is a significant loss from the classic calendar. I mentioned that in this post where I was responding to you on a different thread. But other than that loss, I think there are so many benefits of the new system that this one loss is not big enough to justify hanging on to the old system.

As for your specific question about the chance of extending the life of the classic calendars, I can only say that I am working with the product manager over these sites to try to get some clarity on the specific issues related to what will happen at the end of the year. Certain things that were planned to be done within 2011 (e.g., News and Information, Lesson Schedules) have been delayed, so I don't see how the classic sites as a whole can be retired in two months. But does that mean the calendar and directory features will be extended, too? I have no idea at this point, but I am working on getting some answers.
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jficklin
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Postby jficklin » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:00 pm

Thank you for your kind response to my "venting"... It was good of you to not take me to task to harshly.

I suspect the the main reason the submit button has gone missing is that putting it there would allow stakes who wish to do so to set the new calendar up to operate much the same as the classic... with one responsible person facilitating the use of a facility instead of a distributed scheduling model. The lack of a submit button pretty much means we will have to pretty much conform to the new scheduling philosophy unless we are willing to revert back to the old call/e-mail the scheduler model. Personally I think it would be a worthwhile approach to allow those of us most familiar with the way our stake operates best to be able to choose in consultation with our priesthood leaders between a single facilitator or a distributed scheduler approach for our own stake. Thanks again for listening and your kind response.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:23 pm

I think one big difference between the old system and the new is that the old system allowed any member to schedule an event. In reality, it needs to go though some level of leadership first. In the old system, it fell to one person to do that. (Who then had to check and see if it was authorized)

In the new system, the "lay" members need to work off-line with their leaders and then leader schedules it.
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Postby mfmohlma » Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:48 pm

RussellHltn wrote:In reality, it needs to go though some level of leadership first. In the old system, it fell to one person to do that. (Who then had to check and see if it was authorized)

In the new system, the "lay" members need to work off-line with their leaders and then leader schedules it.


Yes, but remember that the "leaders" can be many more people than most think at first. My daughter in the Beehive Presidency recently scheduled something on the calendar for her class. Since her calling was set up for that access, no one else had to worry about it. (Subliminal message: don't forget to enable your youth leaders - they're probably a bit more technically inclined than you...) :D

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:15 pm

mfmohlma wrote:Yes, but remember that the "leaders" can be many more people than most think at first.


In the new system, a "leader" is anyone who has calendar editing rights. There's nothing that prevents the Beehive Presidency from having their own calendar (as long as the ward approves having it).
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Postby GrasseDD » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:52 am

Thanks to all for holding these discussions on the forum--I really do appreciate seeing how the new system is operating and being implemented by others.
Our stake is currently in the process of deciding how we want to operate calendars and building scheduling, and frankly we're pretty skiddish about the new system. I'm very interested in this statement you made, aebrown:
"I think there are so many benefits of the new system that this one loss is not big enough to justify hanging on to the old system."

I'm afraid if leaders in my stake asked me "what benefits?", I wouldn't know what to say. Those of you who are successful with it, what benefits would you point to?
Thanks,
D.G.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:13 pm

GrasseDD wrote:I'm afraid if leaders in my stake asked me "what benefits?", I wouldn't know what to say. Those of you who are successful with it, what benefits would you point to?


For me the big ones are:
  1. Distributed scheduling (many people can be calendar editors)
  2. Multiple calendars (allows people to choose the sets of events they want to see)
  3. Sync to third-party calendars
  4. Integrated resource and event scheduling (now with optional setup and cleanup times)
  5. More robust repeating events, allowing for exceptions
  6. Reservations that allow only specified units to schedule resources at specified times
  7. Private calendars

And those are just some quick ones off the top of my head. There are many more.
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:47 pm

aebrown wrote:Sync to third-party calendars


Which allows members to sync the selected calendars to their smart phone. No need to go to the website to see what the upcoming events are.

I see that quite an advantage to the entire membership.
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Postby GrasseDD » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:49 pm

Thanks--it's good to see these things.


  1. Distributed scheduling (many people can be calendar editors)
  2. Multiple calendars (allows people to choose the sets of events they want to see)
  3. Sync to third-party calendars
  4. Integrated resource and event scheduling (now with optional setup and cleanup times)
  5. More robust repeating events, allowing for exceptions
  6. Reservations that allow only specified units to schedule resources at specified times
  7. Private calendars
While I really do appreciate the syncing and the new event repeating, a couple of these don't look like benefits to us: distributed scheduling was a headache, so we went back to a single public calendar for the stake; setup and cleanup times were possible with classic scheduling, as was unit-specific resource blocking. That probably sounds like we're a bunch of Luddites, but I wonder if there aren't a number of stakes like ours, that don't yet feel ready to force the "cultural shift" onto all our members.

Interestingly, it seems to me like the developers could add one feature that a- would not cost any of the benefits mentioned and, b- would also provide all the functionality needed for classic-style calendaring and scheduling: the "Submit Event" button.
Looking around the forums, I see aebrown has championed that feature's return. I'll join that movement.

Aside: when I read theHelp pageregarding the "Missing 'Submit Event' button", I couldn't help notice: it first states there is "no need" for it with the new system, and subsequently mentions work-arounds for at least two such needs.

Thanks again,
D.G.


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