Category Archives: feature updates

WorshipPlanning.com Site Updates – Version 3.8

This evening we updated WorshipPlanning.com to version 3.8, and we’re quite excited to share with you what these updates include. So, let’s get right to it.

Helpers can view ALL services – If authorized, any of your Helpers can now access service details of all services, not just the ones for which he or she is scheduled. This includes worship flow, assignments, virtual stage, files, and printouts. Authorization is granted on the page where you add/edit the Helper’s information (People >> Helpers tab >> add/edit icon). We’ve added a checkbox that says ‘Can view all services (including ones not scheduled for).’ By default, no Helpers have this checkbox checked.

Worship Flow Edits Improved – If your duties include modifying the worship flow, you’ll notice a nice improvement to the way you add and edit worship elements. The worship detail fields now appear on a small pop-up window on the worship flow page. We’ve also changed the dropdown fields to have an ‘auto complete’ behavior (so you can simply start typing the desired entry, and WP will attempt to auto complete your text). Plus, we have put the Extra Notes on the same pop-up window, reducing the number of clicks needed to get all your information entered.

MyWP Home and Assignments – As we posted in our blog last week (http://blog.worshipplanning.com), we have redesigned the main page used by Helpers. The redesign makes it much easier for Helpers to access the information they need. We’ve also included a calendar view (that shows by default if they have no pending assignment requests), and some quick links on the home page to frequently accessed functionality, like team files, password changes, and adding text/email alerts. And our video tutorials have been updated, so anyone can always check there (or contact us) should questions arrise. If you’d like to see the updates to MyWP for yourself, you can do so by logging in to http://my.worshipplanning.com using your email address and WP password.

One last thing I want to mention is that our Worship Flow page improvements are really Phase 1 of some exciting plans we have. Phase 2 will likely include drag and drop of people and (hopefully) songs into worship elements. We also know some churches need down-to-the-second tracking of element durations. We anticipate including that in Phase 2 as well.

If you have any questions of issues with these new features, be sure to let us know via our support site: http://support.worshipplanning.com.

A Little Love for the Helpers

In the next week or so, we will be rolling out a major update to the MyWP site that we think your volunteers will really love. I’ll detail it out more in a blog post the evening we roll it out, but here are the highlights, plus a little screenshot to whet your appetite.

  1. Fancy calendar that shows their assignments and rehearsals.
  2. Cleaner assignments page with much more intuitive access to service and team information.
  3. Default worship flow display with Extra Notes for the Helper showing by default.
  4. (and this is a BIG one) Ability for authorized Helpers to view services details of ALL services.

We are in the last phase of testing, so keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, and Blog updates for when we roll it out. And we plan on updating our video tutorials in time for the roll-out as well.

More (and shorter) video tutorials

As promised, we have added a few helpful items to Worship Planning support, both on our support site (http://support.worshipplanning.com) and within the main and My WP sites. All have centered around video tutorial improvements.

In the main and My WP sites, we have broken down many of the large (8+ minute) videos to shorter ones that allow you to jump straight to the “how to” information you need. This is especially helpful for new team leaders and volunteers as they try to figure things out.

On the Support site, the tutorial page shows a complete listing of all the videos. But, we have also created video “tracks” that allow Helpers and Planners easily walk through a set of videos to learn about certainly functionality of the site. Right now we have only 3 tracks, but we will certainly be adding more. Also, when you perform a search on the support site, the results now include a list of relevant videos that you might find helpful.

Our goal is to make it very easy for everyone, including team leaders and volunteers, to use the site. Got feedback on how? Post a comment and let us know!

Improved People Availability System

Last night we updated the site with a significant improvement to the People Availability feature (where Planners and Helpers block off days they cannot serve). Prior to this update, people could only only block off the AM and/or PM hours of a given day, one day at a time. With this new update, Planners and Helpers will be able to mark themselves unavailable for:

– Specific services (whether or not the services have been created in WP) – Time range within a single day (i.e. Jan 3, 9:30am >> 3:30pm) – Time range across multiple days (i.e. Jan 2 – 6:15pm >> Jan 5 – 11am) – Inclusive date range (Jan 1 >> Jan 8)

As before, Planners with a high enough security level can change the availability of Helpers and other Planners. But we have also added to the Teams page an “availability” tab that displays a calendar of dates/times/services blocked by team members. Only team leaders have access to see their team’s availability calendar. Team leaders also have the ability to change the availability of their team members, regardless of security level.

In the next few days, we plan on adding some enhancements to our support pages, as well as more video tutorials to assist team leaders and helpers with using the site. That will probably be our last enhancement update until the new year. With Christmas just a few weeks away, we want to avoid the risk of creating new bugs or issues with the site.

We continue to develop a mobile version of WP that will be a native app for iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Android, and Symbian devices. We also are working on some exciting improvements to the Songs Library and Worship Flow pages. Stay tuned for more info….

Secondary Email and SMS Text Messaging

This evening we applied an update to the WorshipPlanning.com site that has been frequently requested. Planners and Helpers can now receive WP communications through multiple email address and/or text message numbers. On your Account Settings page, you can add additional channels of communication, and specify which types of communications should be sent to each channel. The image below shows an example of a Planner that has one secondary email and one text message number set up.

Notice that the Primary email address ALWAYS receives the message, regardless of the type of communication. But each secondary channel can be individually configured based on the type of message being sent:

  • Assignment Notification
  • Assignment Response Notification (Planners only)
  • Message Board Updates
  • Service Changes
  • General Team Communications
  • User Account Updates

When a secondary channel is added, WP will send a short confirmation code via the new channel. Once received, the Planner/Helper will need click the “confirm” link and enter that code. This will activate that channel.

Messages sent to secondary email addresses will be exact copies of what is sent to the primary email address. However, messages sent to text message numbers will be very abbreviated in attempt to keep the message all in a single text message.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to post a comment here or contact us via our support site (http://support.worshipplanning.com).

New Worship Flow Printout and Roles/Skills Tool

As the busy time of year approaches (one them, anyway), we are continuing to work very hard at providing you new enhancements and functionality to the site. To get these new features to you as quickly as possible, we try to update the site as soon as they pass our testing process (as opposed to waiting for a bunch of them to be ready before do the update).

This evening we made a couple of quick updates, and have a few more coming in the next few days. Tonight we added another Worship Flow printout style; one that has been requested by a few folks. The style is called “Flow and Assignments”. The top part of the page is similar to the Standard printout, except with better use of page space and zebra row shading. The bottom part of the page shows the service details/notes on the left side, and assignment lists of your team(s).

The other update we made can be seen by clicking on the People navigation link. You will notice a new tab called “Roles/Skills”. This new tab has taken the place of the Roles page linked from the Admin page. What’s more, you can now click on the role name itself and a window will open showing the role details AND a list of your people that have that role specified as a skill.

Stay tuned for more feature updates in the next few days (possibly a week)….

Updates Applied on Aug 30

Yesterday evening we applied a performance update to the Team Scheduling page (where people scheduling for all future services is displayed) that should be quite noticable, especially for churches that have many teams and/or many future services scheduled. The enhancement should render the entire page within a couple of seconds, rather than a couple services at a time over the period of 10 seconds or so. For those curious, we did this by changing our code to generate most of the HTML on our server, rather than passing raw data and asking the browser to process and render the HTML. We also made a small tweak to our database that helped optimize the way data is retrieved.

With this update we also made two non-critical fixes. First, if a Helper marked himself as unavailable for a day that he had already been penciled in by a Planner, the Planner would not know of this change in availability and be able to schedule the person. To handle this, we now do a check for penciled-in assignments as the person marks a day as unavailable. If a conflict is found, the penciled-in assignment is changed to status Declined, with a note stating that the person has recently marked that day as unavailable.

The other issue fixed was that the file description in MyWP was missing on some pages. That description now shows as it should.

We are continuing to add many video tutorials to the site. Just look for the “Video Tutorial” link on the left side of pages in WP. We hope to soon index these in such a way that they can be easily searched on our support center.

Quick Update on What’s Coming

Since it has been a few weeks, I wanted to post a quick update on what what will be in the next update to WP (currently scheduled for this coming Sunday night).

From a feature-perspective, we’ll be rolling out improvements to the team management pages. Managing team members, team roles, and default roles will work just like scheduling people, as far as the interface goes. You’ll be able to drag and drop said elements onto your team in a familiar fashion.

Our update will also include more video tutorials, as well as a few account configuration “tracks”. The tracks will trigger automatically when you try to perform a task that your account hasn’t been set up for yet. For example, if you try to create a service and don’t have worship flow template defined, WP will help you create a template before creating the service. The configuration tracks will be most helpful for churches new to WP, though if you have never created a team or added additional people, these tracks will be helpful to you also.

We are planning to start regularly occurring “webinar” sessions that cover various topics. Probably the first topic we cover will be on managing teams and scheduling people. If you have any ideas for other topics, feel free to post a comment with your suggestion.

Improved Privacy, Creating a Series, and a New Home Page

Last night we rolled out three new updates that we want to tell you about.

Privacy Settings
Lately we have had several requests to give Helpers and Planners some options on restricting who can see their contact information. As of this morning, both Helpers and Planners can now set one of three levels of privacy for his/her contact info: 1) Visible to all Helpers (within church account) 2) Visible only to Helpers that are teammates 3) Not visible to any Helpers. This setting can be change by clicking on the “account settings” link in the upper right area of most pages in WP (and myWP). The default setting is “Visible to all Helpers” since that is the equivalent of what it has been in the past. Administrators can also adjust this setting when adding or editing Helpers and Planners. It is important to note that Planners can always view the contact information of fellow Planners and all Helpers.

Creating a Series
Updates to this page make it even easier to create a series of services. One really nice feature is the ability to skip weeks mid-series, if desired. We also added a 3 minute video tutorial right on the Create a Series page. Just look for the Video Tutorial icon on the far left side of the page.

New Home Page
We are really excited about this enhancement. Because it is still in the final testing phase, you have to click on a link at the bottom of the current Home page to see the new one. But we think you’ll be very happy with the improvements. There is even a pretty nifty calendar! If you have any feedback you’d like to give us on this page, feel free to let us know.

People/Team Scheduling Enhancements Officially Released

Early this morning, the Team Scheduling update graduated from “Beta”. This means they are now officially integrated into the site and ready for all churches to start using. The fastest way to learn about these features is to watch the video tutorial we have put together. There are actually two videos: one on how to set up and manage Teams in WP, and another on using the new People/Team Scheduling pages. Links to each tutorial are presented to you the first time you access the People/Team Scheduling pages. They can also be found on WP Support¬†http://support.worshipplanning.com in the “People” section.

To access one of the new pages, click on the “Roles” tab next to the Worship Flow tab of a service, then click the “Roles Scheduling” link in the upper right corner of the Roles tab.

Over the next week or so, we will be adding a new feature to People Scheduling. It is called Auto Email Reminder, and can be used by team leaders to have WP automatically send an assignment email reminder before the date of service. Team Leaders can configure the “lead time”, the message content, and whether or not a reminder summary page is sent to him or her once the reminders have been sent.

We also have a little more work to do as far as updating our support documentation and video tutorials. We hope to create a few tutorial tracks for the different types of WP users. This will include a track for ministry leaders that are not necessarily worship planners.

Finally, we want to give big “Thank You!!!” to all the churches that took part in testing this feature. Your feedback was invaluable, and we hope to continue to hear from you with this and other new features.

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