MLS 3.5 Thread Post by the MLS Product Manager

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krebsj
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MLS 3.5 Thread Post by the MLS Product Manager

Postby krebsj » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:39 am

My name is Justin Krebs and I am the product manager for MLS. As many of you know, we are in the midst of releasing MLS 3.5. I want to apologize for some of the communication issues as part of this release. I take full responsibility for them and am working hard to improve communication with you going forward.

To get the official information about the MLS 3.5 release, please visit the Record-Keeping and Technology Support site: http://clerksupport.lds.org. Navigate to: Applications > MLS > MLS Update Procedures article.

The timing of giving a specific release date has been challenging as we have continued to find issues that we have needed to resolve, thus extending our beta testing period. I need to do a better job of communicating these changes to the units as there are changes in schedule. I will be working on that. Here is the latest thinking on the schedule:

1. We have released to over 4,000 units as of today.
2. We plan to expand to additional units this week but the number and location of units is still being determined as we work through some issues found in the latest beta testing.
3. As we determine which units to expand to, I will ensure that we get a communication to the units so they can plan accordingly.

I want to thank each of you for your tireless efforts in supporting MLS for your units. I know it has been frustrating at times. Please feel free to reply to this thread with any suggestions for how I can improve communication and support of MLS for you.

In the spirit of better communication, there will be an MLS 3.5.1 release around mid-November. I will create a new thread on it to keep you posted.

Best regards,

-Justin
R. Justin Krebs :)
MLS Product Manager

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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:35 pm

I would simply suggest that the next update be pushed out beginning on a Monday or Tuesday rather than "after hours" on a Friday. This will allow clerks who wish to work during the week the option to do it and, we hope, to iron out issues before going into panic mode on a Sunday.

Thank you for all of your work. Most MLS updates have been absolutely painless on the user end so we're not accustomed to having problems.

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benjamincarleski
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Postby benjamincarleski » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:41 pm

I second mrrad's points. Excellent job with updates. They are almost always painless, quick, and easy for our ward. It would be nice though if for more involved updates we got a message in MLS on Sunday saying that the update would be pushed out the following day, and then it wasn't pushed until Monday morning or late Sunday evening (in addition to any update-specific instructions). That way we could have someone come in during the week, work through the update instructions, resolve any issues, and be able to contact LUS if there was any problem before we needed to use it on Sunday.

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Postby jdlessley » Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:05 pm

KrebsJ wrote:To get the official information about the MLS 3.5 release, please visit the Record-Keeping and Technology Support site: http://clerksupport.lds.org. Navigate to: Applications > MLS > MLS Update Procedures article.
An article such as this, which is time or date dependent, needs to have a published date displayed to set a reference for all date and timing relationships.

Edit: I found the date in the Discussion section of the page. So I amend my comment to be that the date needs to be in a more prominent location such as near the top of the page. Perhaps just under the article title?
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Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:21 pm

jdlessley wrote:Edit: I found the date in the Discussion section of the page. So I amend my comment to be that the date needs to be in a more prominent location such as near the top of the page. Perhaps just under the article title?


That's just the date of a comment someone posted. So your original point is still valid -- a date would be helpful.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

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Postby jdlessley » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:01 pm

aebrown wrote:That's just the date of a comment someone posted. So your original point is still valid -- a date would be helpful.
Oops - you're right.
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johnshaw
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Suggested Process for LARGE impact pushes

Postby johnshaw » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:58 am

First, let me say, the process to bring the systems (CDOL, online Directory, and MLS) into alignment is I'm sure, no minor task, coordinating that effort is a big deal. The MLS system has improved and progressed a great deal over the last few years and the teams involved are appreciated for their efforts. The minor releases have only extremely rarely had issues. However, I believe, that impacts a bit, the major releases that should have more care and feeding involved with them from my perspective.

I'd just like to add a +1 on notifying us specifically when it will push, if it doesn't push, then let us know that as well.

Here is a potential suggested MINIMUM notification/communication that should go out to both MLS messaging, posted on leader.lds.org, and through email.
  1. Leadership notification, (Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics) that the change is coming, what it is intending to accomplish, effects, encourage clerks to look for the coming instructions (Create expectations that while dates are not solid now, as they firm up communications will be sent out).
  2. Send out the Instructions Documentation - The Coming Soon message (like the 3.5 was done).
  3. Message with Firm(ish) dates - Initial push to X number of units - if all goes well.... Date for push to remaining
  4. All goes well, Message to remaining Units that push is X date
  5. If initial push uncovered issues you want to handle prior to the upgrade, send a push notice to remaining with a stay tuned message
  6. Remaining units push notification (with clarifying documentation discovered during initial push, etc...) and solid date to remaining units

Of course you can refine this it is only rough in nature, and maybe it seems a little much, but Information like this will save our clerks PRECIOUS time and money. I have at least 5 clerks that are at minimum 1/2 hour drive to the meetinghouse, many who made special trips on Saturday to the clerk computer because they were told it would be pushed on Friday - They didn't want to spend a Sunday going through those processes. LUS had been telling people all week it was going out on Friday, I read it on the tech board, and called LUS to validate, after confirmation, I let my clerks know the information we had and they acted.

I look like an idiot, they wasted their time... Their precious Saturday time I'm sure you have heard these things over and over. But, I wanted to add this for emphasis - Clerk are not all 5 minutes from the meetinghouse - There is a commonly known scouting / hiking / trekking philosophy that says you are only as fast as your slowest member. In this case, I would hope the team is FIRST and FOREMOST thinking, How does this impact a clerk that must drive 1 hour to get to the meetinghouse? How will our process affect him directly, because his time away from his family is precious, and we truly want to be respectful of it.

Remote access to the computer might be a good idea... In Brian Fromm's Clerk Computer presentation he basically said that justifications would need to be provided to remote access, add this to the VERY long list of reasons why remote access should be allowed.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”
― Thomas Paine, Common Sense

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Postby TinMan » Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:15 am

My suggestion: Follow the pattern that was done with the CUBS update. (Is that the correct acronym?): Inform us through the church information system sent to the bishops and stake presidents in the mail. If I would have had a letter saying what to do, I would have handed it to my clerk. Don't rely on the message system through MLS. Simply too many people who don't need the information have access to the messages.

A secondary benefit could be if you just said in the letter, "Go to this thread on the LDS Tech website for instructions." Perhaps that would drive more people here for other information as well. :)

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Postby hansg » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:25 am

This won't be a solution for all, but if you want to preempt an uncertain 3.5 install date/time, you can navigate to the website Justin first mentioned in this thread and (with the permission of your bishop) download and install 3.5 yourself. (It's a 70 MB file.) Although it's still shown as a beta release, I would imagine it is the latest release, one that has already been sent out to thousands of machines. This approach allows you to be proactive and go through all the associated processes on your schedule rather than someone else's. . .

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Postby TinMan » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:30 am

My advice would be to wait and see if they can get the bug fixed that has us locked out of the financial part of our program making it so we can't do any tithing batches.

Take it for what it is worth...

:)


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