Category Archives: feature updates

Update 1 to Team Scheduling Beta

We have received some great feedback during this first week of the new Team Scheduling page. And, in turn, we applied an update this evening that fixes a few small bugs, and adds a few minor enhancements.

Here are a things we are working on for one of our next beta updates:

  • Ability for Planner to change the assignment response by clicking on the status color code of an assignment
  • Ability to send an email notification to just one person
  • Ability to send send notifications to just “Penciled In” assignments
  • Ability to hide teams with no assignments

Of course, there are more features we have planned, but these seems to be next on the list (for now).

One other update we applied this evening is something Helpers should really love. We have made the assignment response page more intuitive to use. Helpers can respond to an assignment for master and linked services with ONE CLICK! To check it out, login to your MyWP account. We haven’t updated out tutorial video yet, but that will be happening soon.

One last note: I am going to leave this blog post open for comments. If you have any thoughts or feedback on features mentioned in this post, you are welcome to post them here.

Team Scheduling Beta Now Live

Our new Team Scheduling feature is now ready for those of you wishing to help us test it out. Since it is a beta release, there could be few bugs and formatting issues. But we’ve done enough testing on it that these issues should be minimal. One thing is for sure, you should find this page much easier (and more fun) than the “old” way of scheduling your team members.

To start using it, login to WP and click on “People”, then the Teams tab. In the upper right corner there is a “Team Scheduling” link. This link is also on a few other pages (like the Roles tab when looking at a service’s worship flow).

We strongly encourage you to view the brief and/or detailed video tutorials before you get started. Links them can be found when you first access the page.

We value your feedback as we go through this beta phase. Feel free to use the “Feedback” link in the upper right corner of the Team Scheduling page to let us know any thoughts or issues you have.

Team Scheduling Goes Live This Monday Night

The beta version of our new and very exciting Team Scheduling feature is expected to be available by the time you start your day on Tuesday. It actually could have gone live earlier this week, but since everyone is in the “red zone” as Easter approaches, we didn’t want to throw any curve balls at you, your volunteers, or our servers.

I can’t imagine ANYONE has a spare moment to watch a brief video on how the new feature will work….but maybe if you are waiting for your Easter Set paint to dry and the lighting cues are not yet ready for review, you can check out our 4 minute walk-through. It was made before we put some finishing touches on, so things should be a little tidier for Tuesday.

Team Scheduling Brief Video Tutorial

Come Tuesday, you’ll have access to a more detailed version of the video, as well as answers to some frequently asked questions (or at least, answers to questions we¬†expect would be asked frequently).
We pray everyone has a good Easter, and that you’re able to connect with it’s true meaning despite the distractions that serving can sometimes bring.

Team Scheduling – Beta Launch Very Soon!

Beta testing for the new Team Scheduling feature in WP should begin any day now. At this stage, we are just finishing our internal testing, which is a bit more thorough than usual given the nature of this enhancement. We’ve included a couple of sneak-peak screen shots to whet your appetite (click the “More” link on the right, below this post). Of course, these are subject to change, but I doubt they will change much, if any.

Just a couple of notes for you about these pages:

  • Team members, roles, and even entire teams can be dragged and dropped on a service.
  • Security levels will dictate which teams display on the left side.
  • The gray box status is our new Penciled-In status, which turn to yellow once you send the notification.
  • WP will alert you if you schedule someone for a service that they are already scheduled.
  • The “Send Notification Emails…” is used to send both initial notification and follow up reminders. And, it sends only one email per person, with all of their assignments in that email (rather than multiple emails per person).

Team Scheduling Feature Progress

I know it is taking longer than we had expected. If we were coding it from scratch, I think it would have been done by now. But one of the things that takes so much time is ensuring backwards compatibility. This project is our number one priority right now, and we are making great progress. Let me give you a more specific idea how it is going:

All the click-and-drag stuff is done. The page shows teams that you lead on the left side, and all future services on the right (with the option to hide linked services). Planners can drag a person, role, or team to any future service. Upon dropping a person or team on a service, WP checks for schedule conflicts and days the person has blocked off as “unavailable”.

At this moment we are finalizing two things:

  1. We are making sure adding and deleting assignments are handled properly between master and linked services.
  2. We need to finish the email notification part. When people are dragged and dropped onto a service, WP will “pencil” them in for that role. But it isn’t until the email notification is sent that the person is officially scheduled. If you have someone penciled in for 6 assignments, sending an email notification will change their status to Pending, and send a single email with all their assignments.

Once these 2 items are completed, we think it will be ready to test. We’ll be looking for beta-test volunteers. Keep an eye out for future blogs about that. Thanks for your patience, everyone.

Series and Location Enhancements

To assist you with planning a series of services and the location of services, we have made the following enhancements.

Location Field on the Create a Series page – You can now specify a location on the page where you normally build a series of services. The location field is a “free form” text field, but WP will also provide you a list of previously specified locations in a dropdown field just below it (if you have previously entered a location into a past service).

Edit a Series Title – If you need to change the title of a series, you can now make that change across all services in that series. To do so, go to the table of services (Admin –> Services), then look for the desired series title in the table of services (any one will do). You’ll notice the series title is a link. Click it, and you’ll see a list of all the services in that series. This view in-and-of itself is probably pretty helpful to you. But if you want to go further and change the series title, find the “Modify Series Title” link on the left side below the “Services” tab. Click it and you’ll be prompted to enter a new series title. Once you click the Save button, all of the services on that page are changed to have the new title.

Finally, we made a few small changes to the pages where general service info is added and edited. Specifically, we cleaned up the Quick Pick dropdown boxes for specifying a Series title and Location. Oh, and we fixed the “File Upload Disk Usage” indicator on the Church Settings page (Admin –> Church Info –> Church Settings tab…near the bottom of that page).

Songs Library Access for Helpers

A long awaited feature of WorshipPlanning.com has finally arrived. Helpers can now view the details of every entry in your church’s Songs Library. For those not familiar with the issue, it used to be that Helpers could only access song details and files of those scheduled for services that the Helpers themselves were scheduled. This was done for multiple reasons, including a way for worship leaders to limit how song details and files were shared. But we feel the solution we rolled out last night is much better. Most worship leaders should have received an email last night with details on how this new feature works. If you didn’t, you can check out our support pages (http://support.worshipplanning.com) in the next day or so for the full rundown, or just send us an email.

The next big feature we roll out is one that many, many churches have asked us about. It is a tremendously improved “assignment” page….the page where people are schedule to serve. I won’t go into all the details, but let me mention just a few:

  • Drag and Drop
  • Assigning an entire team at once
  • Schedule conflict alerts
  • Schedule across multiple services on a single screen
  • Sound exciting? We can’t wait to roll it out….except that we first need to finish developing it. Hopefully it will be ready for beta testing in 2-3 weeks.

Volunteer Schedule Grid – beta

We realize two blog posts within just a few days of each other might blow you away, but we just rolled out a feature we know some of you have been really wanting to see. The “Schedule Grid” page (in its beta version) shows you a table of people down the left column, and services across the top. In the grid cells are data about the person’s schedule (roll, response, availability). You can also filter the view to show just a specific date range of services, just master services, and a specific team.

This page can be found on the “Schedule” tab of the “People” navigation link. Give it a shot and let us know your thoughts. Be warned that churches with tons of people and services might see slower load times of the page until we are able to tune the code a bit.

And, by the way, the ability to print and/or export this to a spreadsheet is coming very soon.

Two MyWP Additions

We hope this update finds you well and into the Christmas spirit. Seems like this time of the year really zips on by, as this is a busy time for both family and worship ministry lives.

In light of how critical it is for things to operate in a timely and consistent manner during the services leading up to Christmas, we are especially selective in the updates we apply to the WP site. At this point, we have two small updates we applied to My.WorshipPlanning.com.

1) Virtual Stage Access – Your Helpers now have access to the latest virtual stage arrangements you make. No changes to the Virtual Stage can be made in the MyWP site (regardless of security level), but the stage can be printed just like in the regular WP site.

2) Advanced Print-out Pages – Helpers now also have access to the various service-flow printout options that are available to Planners in the regular WP site.

We are planning to improve the layout of the My Schedule page in the MyWP site, including the ability to view past services (for the sake of allowing 360WP surveys to be filled out), and the ability for a Helper to respond to multiple services at once.

Servers Upgraded and Site Enhancements

Early this past Monday we successfully migrated WP to new server hardware. The reason for our migration is to handle the growth we are being blessed with. For those curious about the technical details of our setup, be sure to read the section further down in this blog.

We also applied a few new helpful features while we did the migration. First, when you click on a song title in the site you’ll see a “Songs Menu” with some general info about the song (including the most recent performance date), as well as several links to access details about the song. Also, our song details pages have been given a nice face-lift.

As another enhancement, we added a Location filter to the “Services” section of the Home page. That filter setting is stored on your computer for the next time you access the page.

Hardware Migration Technical Details Our main application hosting company, Rackspace, has been fantastic. So when we planned this migration, we didn’t even consider changing to anyone else. WP currently has severs at two other data centers in different areas of the country for business contingency (disaster recovery) purposes.

Our hardware upgrade had three main goals: 1) Give the database its own, high-power server. 2) Beef-up the main application server. 3) Implement a better firewall solution. This configuration also will allow us to handle future growth by simply adding additional application servers to share the load (with the use of a content switch).

The database is (as it has been in the past) backed up on a daily basis and copied to one of our remote servers. In the event of a catastrophe at the Rackspace datacenter, traffic to worshipPlanning.com could be redirected (in a matter of minutes) to the back-up server. But let’s pray we never need to use that option.

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