Key Indicator Tracking for Non-Tablet Missions

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Eckster
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Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:37 am

Key Indicator Tracking for Non-Tablet Missions

Postby Eckster » Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:05 am

I'm currently serving my mission in Porto Alegre Sul, Brazil, and I've recently been recruited to see what can be done to improve how the mission tracks and reports the mission's progress from week to week.

Since the Church has decided to go with Apple for their missionary tech, it's highly unlikely that tablets will be arriving for usage in Brazil, since they'd make missionaries a high-value target for theft. Therefore, as far as I'm aware, non-tablet missions will not be recieving the nice software designed to report the numbers to the mission president, that I assume already exists.

Now, one of the assistants showed me yesterday that their current system simply involved manually copying the reported key indicators around to various Excel sheets, which would generate their weekly reports, albeit with a lot of manual effort having to be expended each week.

The issues here are simply a lot of repeated data, needing to be entered manually, the technical details are too exposed, leaving open a lot of errors in the formulas that occur when copying data around, and perhaps most importantly, the current system gives a snapshot view of the mission, but provides no insight with regards to change over time, since comparisons to previous numbers are almost non-existent.

So I was asked to see what could be done to improve the system, and I decided that a relational database would be substantially better than Excel for this data, and I already did the basic outline and design for it in Access, however, my experience is with the LAMP stack, and I thought that perhaps I could better implement it that way, now that the actual programming has also been assigned to me.

From what I've seen, having served both in the US pre-tablets and here in Brazil, virtually every mission has a different software solution(usually a poor one) for tracking the mission's progress. The software that I'll be creating could very easily have an additional layer added to it multi-mission compatible, and I'd like to see if there is an interest for this within the Church.

More importantly, if there is an interest, I'd like to know which technologies I should use to make it the most compatible with the Church's current systems, for example if there are any APIs for interaction with iMOS, to pull the already-entered mission data, that could substantially reduce the need to re-enter the same data into various systems. Also, while I currently plan on an Apache, MySQL, PHP system, is this badly supported by the current software?

Thanks for any responses in advance!
-Elder Eck

Eckster
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Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:37 am

Re: Key Indicator Tracking for Non-Tablet Missions

Postby Eckster » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:07 pm

So for anyone that happens across this, our mission office recieved an email informing us that iMOS has most of the ideas listed here, and that we should avoid creating third-party software for this type of thing. Now, I responded to the sender, but they haven't responded, so, since it appears someone is watching this forum, I'm going to post what I sent here to ensure it's seen:

Thanks for getting back to me about the forum post, I'm not in the office (never have been) so it took a while for them to get the e-mail to me.

I admit that I, and the President's assistent were unaware of the features already available within IMOS, apparently the usage of IMOS had been ignored for a few generations of assistants, and our current system is lacking a lot of the data, I've already worked with the Assistant for them to begin using the tools we've been given properly.

However, during the planning stages we had several ideas that upon viewing IMOS and seeing what is currently available, I'd like to put in some ideas

Feature Suggestions:

1. Weekly Reporting
Perhaps currently IMOS's biggest weakness, there's very limited ability to get a report of the last week's work across the whole mission, on an area basis. From my search the only way is to do a Report of the Key Indicators, which exports them in an extremely non-flexible PDF format, and puts in the missionary's goals without any options along with the numbers. At the very least an Excel format would be a great step in the right direction, although a nicely formatted, compact, printer-friendly version would be even better.

2. Standard of Excellence Integration
Essentially, we like to utilize a mission-wide Standard of Excellence to make outstanding achievers easier to spot. The spreadsheet we were using would automatically mark numbers that achieved Standard of Excellence, making it easy to spot excelling missionaries at a glance.
The idea would be that anywhere where numbers are shown, they're compared against the Standard of Excellence, ideally instantly, for example, when Assistents are putting in the numbers for the week, a realtime highlight for Standard accomplishment would be handy for them to quickly analyze the situation of the zones.

3. Missionary and Area-Centric Statistics
We'd love it if the missionary's individual pages would follow their mission work across their various areas, to give you an idea of how the missionary's work in the past has been. Similar for areas, we wanted to implement a way to see if an area just tends to excel, or if it depends on the missionaries a lot.

4. Pinpoint Outliers
This is similar to the above request, but on a more general level, we'd like it if there was a way to filter for outliers, low or high, based on performance across the various indicators, for example, if the mission president was looking for a missionary to focus on reactivation in an area, he could search for missionaries with a history of high less-active recent convert lessons, etc
He could also use the system to find Elders that need help in a particular area, or Elders who could provide ideas to help the entire mission improve in an area where they've excelled. It would also ensure that badly reported numbers are quickly noticed and corrected.

5. Reports for Missionaries
If the tracking of individual missionaries was built, it could easily be included in the Missionary Portal for the missionary to see his track record and career expand throughout the mission. While currently emails don't appear to be in the database, being able to email out individualized reports, or reports for entire zones/districts automatically would be extremely helpful to draw attention to possible improvement areas.

Slight Changes:

1. Allow Zones to Be Organized Geographically
In larger missions, there may be 3-4 major regions, each with a few zones, and typically we prefer to organize our zones for viewing purposes this way, since each major region comes with a slightly different culture. Being able to group the zones into geographic regions would make the organization of various pages and reports more convenient for comparison.

2. Breakdowns of Totals
In tables that show totals, being able to click or mouseover to see a breakdown of what numbers formed that total, and where they came from would be a boon to productivity. If you notice an extremely high total, you can glance quickly to see what caused the jump.

3. Translations for Graphs
Our Mission President only speaks Portuguese, so it'd certainly be a nice touch to have the graph titles be translated as well.

Bug Fixes:

1. Login Not Forwarding Correctly
Not sure if this is affecting everyone, but currently, simply going to imos.ldschurch.org and putting in my login credentials forwards me to a blank screen. In order to get to the actual IMOS page, I have to manually add /imos/index.jsf to the end of the URL. This is one of the reasons our assistent had stayed unaware of the solutions already available.

2. Hide Buttons for Those Without Permission
It looks like in many areas, you have access to the buttons for things which you don't have permission to use. For example, in the Custom Key Indicators section of the Configuration, Elders without permissions to modify them still can see the Trash Can icon and have buttons for adding new indicators, even if they don't work.


Overall, I'm highly impressed with what is already available, the system for collecting the data is already just about perfect, I suppose what we're wanting is more options for filtering, organizing, displaying and printing this data. I would love to contribute any way that I can, if you need someone to program some part or want some of these ideas clarified, I'm glad to help, it's great to see the Church is still working heavily on this project.


Hope to see this system getting better and better!

ArmstrongDA
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Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:25 pm

Re: Key Indicator Tracking for Non-Tablet Missions

Postby ArmstrongDA » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:49 pm

Elder Eck,
Thank you for your thoughtful analysis of the IMOS application. Your suggestions have been reviewed with the IMOS product manager in the Missionary Department. Based on his review, I will provide some general comments followed by specific responses to the individual items in your last post.

Many of the solutions you are looking for are already contained in the data exports, which are part of the reporting system in IMOS. Not all users know about or have been trained in how to use the exports. These exports have been provided so missions can analyze and report on the data however they’d like.

That said, the Missionary Department discourages overanalyzing the data and creating ongoing reports that are difficult to maintain and that result in additional office work. We would prefer the Assistants to be out teaching and training instead of in the office running reports and performing data analysis. A little analysis is good; too much is counterproductive. The president can draw that line where he feels best.

1. Weekly Reporting - This can be solved with the Key Indicator data exports.
2. Standard of Excellence Integration - Perhaps could also be managed with the exports.
3. Missionary and Area-Centric Statistics - Same. Exports allow you to filter by missionary, though it does require advanced filters in Excel. Excel help explains how to do this.
4. Pinpoint Outliers Same.
5. Reports for Missionaries - Much of missionary work depends on the missionary, but much does not. The numbers should not be the sole measure of a missionary’s performance and growth. Sending a report focused on stats could have a negative consequence on those in tougher areas.
1. Allow Zones to Be Organized Geographically - In Transfer Board we do this, but only left to right, not in circles or anything.
2. Breakdowns of Totals - We would need more specifics about which pages you mean.
3. Translations for Graphs - I agree this needs to be done as part of the translation overhaul.
1. Login Not Forwarding Correctly - Make sure to bookmark the full link. That will pass you through SSO and on to IMOS. It’s only affecting you and others who don’t put the proper link in the bookmark.
2. Hide Buttons for Those Without Permission - Our team will test this. If it’s a bug, we will log it and get it fixed.

If after reviewing this response you have other feature suggestions, I encourage you to work with an IMOS user in your mission office to submit your ideas via “Feedback” in IMOS, not the LDS Tech board. We do not normally monitor the LDS Tech board.

Kind Regards,
David Armstrong
Solutions Manager, Mission Office Systems


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