WorshipPlanning.com 3.9.5 Update

WorshipPlanning.com version 3.9.5
Early this morning, we updated WorshipPlanning.com to version 3.9.5.  It has been a little while since our last update, but that doesn’t meant we haven’t been busy!  As a general policy, we intentionally avoid applying non-critical updates to the site in the weeks leading up to Easter.

Version 3.9.5 is a mostly-transparent update, but something we wanted to at least make you aware of.  Plus, the enhancements for this update are needed for some great enhancements coming soon.  Here is what’s in 3.9.5.

Improved Notifications Architecture
This was a big update that I wish I could easily convey the level of effort we put in to.  In the short-term, this change will allow us to handle the continued growth in users, especially with how many notifications WP is sending (thousands a day).  Down the road, you’ll be able to view a list of “sent” messages, as well as see exactly what messages your team members have received (originating from WP).

Bug Fixes
3.9.5 also fixes a few small bugs, one of which is a problem where linked services can’t be easily edited (as far as people-scheduling goes) if the master service is in the past and the linked services are still in the future.  The fix allows you to schedule people for all services, up to several hours after the service has passed.

We are continuing to work hard to bring you features that will really help you in your ministry.  Thanks to everyone that has provided comments, suggestions, and feedback!

A Little April 1st Fun

Our hope is that you won’t be disappointed that our Garment Conflict Management feature is not a real enhancement (yet).  We had fun planning this “way outside the box” idea.

While this feature isn’t currently on our radar, we are busy working on several enhancements due out soon.  And in the next few weeks, we plan on opening up a forum discussion where you can read about and suggest enhancements that you, the user community, would like to see.  Keep an eye out on our new Support Center (http://support.worshipplanning.com) for that discussion.

 

New, Highly-Requested Feature – Coming This Spring

We are very excited to introduce a new feature in WorshipPlanning.com that has become our most-requested enhancement:

Garment Conflict Management

As a musician performing in front of a worshiping congregation, being dressed like a fellow band member can not only be embarrassing, but also a major distraction.  Even if you serve in a ministry where you aren’t performing on stage, wearing the same outfit as another team member can lead to general distrust, and even identity theft.

Enter Garment Conflict Management (GCM). This new feature is design to help you avoid the awkward, and potentially hazardous, situation of wearing an outfit that looks just like a fellow team member’s.  GCM is very easy and fun to use.  And the best part is, it’s included with every subscription level, for both Planners and Helpers.

Create your Virtual Closet

Using Facebook integration, you can direct WorshipPlanning.com to analyze your Facebook photos for the types of clothes that you wear.  WP will then create a Virtual Closet of clothes, specifically for you.  And you can always add more garments by uploading picture from your cell phone.

Real-time Conflict Management

Once your virtual closet is complete, WorshipPlanning.com is ready to protect you from ever being asked “Oh, are you two twins?” (not that there is anything wrong with actually being twins).  When you respond to an assignment in MyWP, you’ll see a new “Garment Selection” option.  Simply select the garment you plan to wear, and click “Submit Response”.

Now that WP knows what you plan to wear, it will be on the lookout for another team member who may pick a similar garment.  Should that team member make such a selection, he or she will be warned of the impending doom if they proceed with their pick.  If the person ignores the warning, you will be notified immediately (thus giving you time to make any outfit adjustments).

Future plans for this feature include:

  • “Garment Suggest” – WP picks your outfit based on a complex algorithm that considers the set lighting, weather forecast, and last time the outfit was worn.
  • “Color Coordinate” – Use when your band wants their outfits to go well together – without looking like the Partridge Family.
  • “Fashion Police” – Warns you when your clothes are out of style, and suggests new clothes to buy, based on your age, the instruments you play, the songs you have performed, and the number of Facebook Friends you have.
  • “Onstage Conflict Correction” – Uses WorshipPlanning’s Virtual Stage and a projector to make your conflicting garment appear a different color or pattern while you are performing.

We have invested significant resources into helping you reduce the stresses involved with serving at worship services.  This new feature now helps you reduce the awkwardness.

New (and free) Webinar: Team Leading in WP

Webinars

With the powerful people-scheduling and team management tools built in to WorshipPlanning.com, it’s no wonder many ministries outside of the Worship Team want to use WP.  Plus, there are lots fo benefits for your volunteers to be on a single, centralized system where they can view serving details, access team info, and select their serving availability/preferences.

So, we are starting a new webinar called Team Leading.  It is about 30 minutes, and we cover the following:

  • Setting up and managing your team
  • Scheduling your team members to serve
  • Seeing how team members access the site

To see a schedule of this webinar, visit http://worshipplanning.com/webinars.  To register you must have a valid account in WorshipPlanning.com.  If you can’t attend the webinar, you can watch a recording of it on our new Support Center. To access the video, you must be logged in to the Support Center (use your WP login info).

New Customer Support Center

WorshipPlanning.com Support Center

 

We are excited to introduce our new Customer Support site that is designed with one major objective in mind:

Answering your questions quickly.

WorshipPlanning.com Support Center

So, what’s so new and great about this new support site?  I’m so glad you asked.  Since it’s all about quick answers, let me dive right in:

  • The interface is more streamline and intuitive
  • It is much easier for us to post updated information, thus promoting fresh and up-to-date content.
  • We’ve updated all the articles to be current with the existing features in WP.  Articles include knowledge base entries, FAQs, and video tutorials.
  • For many articles, WorshipPlanning.com users can post comments.
  • When you access the site from WorshipPlanning.com (by clicking on the “support” link once you’ve logged in), the system knows you from your WP account, thus making it easier to submit a support request.
  • You can easily track the status of your support requests.

We plan on adding much more content to the site over the next few weeks, including more video tutorials.  And, we are investigating some great options that will allow even tighter integration with the main WorshipPlanning.com site.

Feel free to check it out at: http://support.worshipplanning.com.  We welcome your feedback on the new site!  Feel free to post a comment here or submit a request.

New Feature: Serving Preference

Preferred Serving Date

We can imagine volunteers all over the world cheering for joy when they discover this new feature.  Serving Preference is a simple feature that might only take you a week to wonder how you ever ran your ministry without it.  The idea: allow volunteers to tell you when (and possibly even how) they would like to serve.  Currently in WP, Helpers can block out days they cannot serve.  But if there are days they prefer to serve…well…they’re out of luck, unless they email you, call you, or send you smoke signals.

MyWP  Serving PreferenceWith our new Serving Preference feature, your team members can select which days they prefer to serve, and optionally the role in which they wish to serve, right on the MyWP calendar.  This window is accessed by simply clicking on a date in their MyWP calendar. 

Team leaders can then see all serving preferences right on the People Scheduling page.  It looks similar to an actual assignment, but is in a special “Serving Preference” section of the assignments.  Simply click the blue check mark to schedule the person as they prefer.

Serving Preference - Planners View One last thing to note is that Serving Preference is a Team setting, and is disabled by default for existing teams.  To enable it, login to WP and click People >> Teams >> desired team >> Settings tab.

Belated Christmas Gift? An iPod Touch could be yours.

Christmas PresentWhat’s that under the Christmas tree? There, way in the back, under all the brown needles.  It’s one last gift, looking for a home.  In fact, it’s a new iPod Touch 8GB that we’d like to give away to one lucky person.  But rather than just randomly draw a person’s name out of a virtual hat, we’d like your Christmas music experience play a factor.

Contest Screenshot

Enter the Christmas Songs 2010 Contest.  We’ve analyzed the WorshipPlanning.com data and created a list of the 14 most-performed Christmas songs for this past season.  Your job is to order the list from most-performed to least-performed.  The person with the most matches to the correct order (from our data) wins the iPod Touch!  Oh, and if you tweet about it using our Twitter link, and “Like” the WorshipPlanning.com Facebook page, you can earn a couple of bonus matches to help improve your chances of winning!

Contest ends on January 25th.  Good luck!

iPod Touch

Facebook App Now Available

WorshipPlanning.com+FB=Smiley

That’s right!  We’ve been busy developing an app for all you Facebook fans out there (I understand there are at least a couple of you).  So, let me give you a few bits of information about the app that are important to know.

  • You must first link your WP account to your Facebook account, which we’ll prompt you to do the first time you run the app.FB Notification
  • The functionality of the app is similar to the iPhone app. You can respond to assignments, access service information, song details (including files), and contact info of fellow team members.
  • A link at the top of the page will direct you to the WP login page if you need to do more advanced tasks.
  • Once you link your FB to your WP account, you’ll see a new dashboard item on your Facebook page that will tell how many pending assignment responses you have (see image to right).

We hope you enjoy the app.  Click the link below to install the app.  And feel free to become a fan and post any feedback you have with us!

WorshipPlanning.com Facebook App

Merry Christmas

Christmas Star

We wanted to take a moment to wish you a joyful and Christ-centered Christmas. When you are called to shepherd a meaningful Christmas for others (in whatever capacity you serve), it is often a challenge to slow down enough to hear what the Spirit has to say to you. Our prayer for you is that you and your team experience the same meaning of Christmas that you help bring to others.

Serving with you,
-the worshipplanning.com team

Website Updates and a Word on iOS 4.2

This evening we updated the WorshipPlanning.com site with a couple small, but helpful changes.  But before I get to those, I wanted to provide some information for iPhone/iPod users that have upgraded their OS to version 4.2.  It seems there is a problem with the current version of the WP app and this new OS version.  Users were reporting that they could not get their assignments or even get logged in to the app correctly.  We have resolved the issue (it was very minor) and submitted the update to Apple’s App Store review team.  Our hope is that approval will be forthcoming within a few days.

The two updates we made to the website are both on the People Scheduling page.  First, we’ve added a “drop indicator” that pops up as you drag a person, role, or template over the service column.  Hopefully this will make it very clear what action will take place when you are about to schedule someone to serve. We’ve create a short video of how this works.  Feel free to check it out.

The second update is helpful for those that schedule people for master and linked services. No longer will you have to click “yes” or “no” to tell WP you want the assignment applied to the linked service also. WP will remember your setting, and you can change it at any time in your Teams Settings tab.

Skip ahead with these bookmarks: