WP Outage – Update 1

Yesterday, from 4:40pm to about 5:10pm (eastern) WorshipPlanning.com was inaccessible due to a power issue at the Rackspace data center. Rackspace is still investigating the exact cause, but they current state that it was the “result of a range of power infrastructure issues.” If more details become available that might be of interest to WP customers, we will post them here.

For those curious about a contingency plan in the event of an unrecoverable disaster at the Rackspace data center, we do have one. We have a backup server at a data center in a different part of the country, ready to be activated. Although it only takes a few minutes to divert web traffic to the backup server, the decision to do so is a little more complicated, mostly due to data synchronization issues. If we have reason to think the main servers will be inaccessible for a critical length of time, we would probably decide to promote the backup server to be the main server. At that point, a communication email would be sent to all WP users letting them know of the implications.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this outage may have caused. We’ll post more info if we think it will be of interest to you.

WP Outage

At around 4:40pm EDT today, the WorshipPlanning.com site became inaccessible due to an issue at the Rackspace data center. The outage lasted approximately 30 minutes and affected many Rackspace customers. Once we find out the exact cause of this outage, we will post those findings in a blog post.

We have been very happy with the service Rackspace has provided us over the years. Occasional outages are to be expected from any service provider. If we find the service Rackspace provides doesn’t not meet the standards of quality that we demand, we will find a provider that does. But we anticipate Rackspace will learn from this outage and provide better service as a result.

More outage details to follow….

Finding a substitute just got easier…

We just rolled out a couple of cool Team Scheduling enhancements that should make late minute schedule changes a breeze. First, we are excited to introduce a tool that will help you find a qualified substitute for an assignment. If a person has declined an assignment, a link will appear below his name that says “sub…”. When clicked, this link will bring up a window with a list of the best qualified (and available) substitutes, starting with the most qualified. Their Qualification Index is calculated using a special algorithm we created. The desired sub can then be easily selected for assignment right from the list.

Even if an assignment hasn’t been declined, you can still find a sub by clicking on the name of the person in the assignment and selecting the “Find a substitute…” link. Or, if you haven’t even assigned a person to the role yet, you can click the “No Person” link, and WP will make suggestions.

The other significant upgrade we made this evening was the first step in replacing the old way of assigning roles and people to services. The old way, of course, is that you go to the desired service, click on the “Roles” tab, then click on the “Edit Roles” or “Edit Assignments” links. We have added a new link on that page called “Role Scheduling”. Clicking it will take you to a page that looks like the Team Scheduling, except that it keeps you on the “Roles” tab and only shows you assignments for that service (and any linked services).

One last note: We have officially launched the WorshipPlanning.com Facebook page. Check out http://fb.worshipplanning.com and become a fan!

Two New Features; Team Role Templates and Sending Single Assignment Email

We just rolled out a great feature for Team Scheduling that really adds a whole new dimension to this page. It is called Team Role Templates, and here is how it works.

Within a team, “templates” of roles can be created. This would be a set roles that you often scheduled together. Here are two examples:

1) You have a Technology team that consists of all of your camera, lighting, soundboard, and computer operators. But for a normal service, you have 1 soundboard, 1 lighting, 2 camera, and 1 computer. A Team Role Template can be created with just these 5 roles.

2) You have two worship teams that alternate weekends: 1st and 3rd Sundays and 2nd and 4th Sundays. All of these people are on the same “team” in WP, but are always scheduled with their band for 1st and 3rd or 2nd and 4th weekends. Two Team Role Templates could be created called “1st and 3rd” and “2nd and 4th”. Each template could have the roles and the people specified as well.

You could even think of team role templates as “sub-teams”. The beauty of setting these up comes when you schedule them. Team Role Templates will appear as green-shaded items in the team panel on the far left side. By dragging a template to a service, all of the entries for that template will be slotted and/or assigned for that service.

To create team role templates, you can go to the Team Scheduling page, then click the down arrow next to the team name (on the far left side, not within a service), and select “Team Role Templates”. The interface to create team role templates is just like the Team Scheduling page – drag and drop.

The other feature we applied this evening is the ability to send an assignment email to just one person from the Team Scheduling page. To do so, simply click on the person’s name in the assignment and you will see the familiar menu showing you information about the person. The option at the bottom of the menu is “Send notification email for this assignment”. This will bring up a window allowing you to choose which assignments you want to include the details for in your email, as well as the subject and body of the email.

In the next few weeks, we plan on making the Team Details and Home pages a little more user friendly. This will also make accessing the Team Scheduling page a good bit easier.

Song Lyric Formating, New Help Desk System, Team Role Templates Update

We just applied a small update that I imagine will make you say, “Great update, but what took you so long?” The short description of the update is that you can now save (as part of the song details) a font type and font size for the lyrics section of the song. For those that didn’t just shout out loud “Finally!!”, let me explain how this is helpful. Many churches space the lyrics out so the chords will fit nicely above each line of lyrics. Well, if you are pasting the lyrics/chords in from a Word document, chances are the chords won’t line up correctly due to differences in font size and type. For a while, WP has allowed you to adjust the font type and size on the Song Details page….but those adjustment couldn’t be saved anywhere. So, every time you or a team members opened the lyrics of the song, they had to manually make that adjustment. Well, now you can save those setting right on the page where the song is added/edited.

On a different note (pun not intended), we have recently started using a new Help Desk system that does a better job of tracking your feedback and support requests. So, where you may have seen responses directly from WP individuals the past, you will now see them from arrive with a “from address” of support@worshipplanning.com. It will still be a message from me or another support team member, but it will have a Ticket Number associated with it. And you can respond to these emails by simply clicking “Reply” in your email software. Just be sure to keep the subject line intact to assure proper routing of your ticket.

Finally, we are shooting for an update later this week (or maybe early next) that will allow teams to create templates of roles. If you aren’t sure what this is, stay tuned. We’ll post a blog update on how it works once we update the site in the next several days.

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