Plan Do Review

I want to make it clear here how tired I am of writing negative things about SC (Scouts Canada) but they recently approved a registration upgrade ten days before Sept 1 (the beginning of our Scouting year in Canada), then made every volunteer in the country inactive for September 1 even if they had already renewed.

Of course we all had to re-apply as volunteers again instead of renewing, even if we renewed a few months ago. And now we have no active scouters in our group until our GC finds time to approve 30 of us. Section leads can’t login to MyScouts to export their youth and setup their ScoutsTracker accounts, which is causing me a ton of grief.

I thought this was a good piece of advice.  SC’s solution for everything seems to be open a help desk ticket lately.  Turns out, this new GC approval thing is a new idea they are trying, supposedly because some GC’s wanted more control over their volunteers.  So now all volunteers need to be approved by their Group Commissioners.  I can’t see that going badly at all.  I have received almost a dozen requests from people in and out of my home group asking for help with ScoutsTracker but their problem is that they are pending as SC volunteers and have no access to their youths’ data in MyScouts because of this gloriously planned registration upgrade.

In my own personal life, my Rover had to volunteer as a Rover Crew Scouter instead of a youth for some bizarre reason.  There was simply no way for him to hit renew this year. My cub can’t register because his fee comes up as $0 (as much as I wanted that one to work). I personally couldn’t use the same renewal process I have for many years (most recently only a few months ago) because it said that I was over 27. That age didn’t help my Rover though.  For some reason if you are under 27 you can’t renew as a youth and if you are over 27 you can’t renew as a volunteer.

The renewal process was never clean, but it worked until 2 weeks ago.

Wow, $0 is quite a great deal… please sign my kidlet up immediately…

You want to put $0 through on my credit card? You knew this was too good to be true didn’t you…

We were all stunned a couple weeks ago when SC (Scouts Canada) decided to shut down their website for 48-hours to totally rebuild the registration system. Outside of Ottawa, every other IT person that I knew in Canada would have suggested this upgrade be done over Christmas. It is a slow time for volunteers, employees, and programs (though some like me would still be interrupted).  They would have five months to test things before early-bird registration started in May. Planning this 10 days before September 1 with your IT department’s track record makes it clear that someone in power is still making decisions without any thought to the Plan – Do – Review process that we tout so often.

Keep in mind, while our IT department is way too out of touch with what is required of them, the decision to kick everyone out of Scouts on the 1st so that GCs could approve their own scouters seems ludicrous. I know GCs that check their email almost ever week. SC is assuming that everyone meets the standards of the people they are flying all over the country for training and that is simply not how the real world works.

I can’t defend the non-IT business decision to perform this upgrade in the ten days before the start of a new year, not after the number of epic failures the IT department has had in the past decade from a 5-year roll-out of online self-registration to this past spring’s colossal time suck rolling out a new set of standards (called BP&P or Bylaws, Policies, and Procedures).  I can’t defend the IT department agreeing to try what they did, even though they had to know they were not prepared or equipped to handle such a large project. 

I can however, defend the actual outage.  I was not please when it first happened and went to my personal Facebook to see what my personal IT friends thought of the idea and I also posted into the largest online community of professional geeks and heard what they said.  Being a non-profit, with no sales coming from the site and not a lot of value in volunteer time, I do agree that a 2-day outage might have been warranted.  I still can’t agree in doing it 10-days before a new year started and I am still shocked that their upgrade forced 20,000 volunteers to re-register and sit in a pending state until their GC found time to mark them as active.

Robert has been in IT for over 40 years and is currently a NH resident who says that the outage might have been acceptable.  His thoughts on its necessity really struck a chord.  That is exactly how I feel about this adventure… simply unnecessary.

My personal FB post was even more fun due to the scouting volunteers who decided they had to say something… even though I asked for professionals geek’s to respond.

I love that I was not alone in my weariness… and I did get responses from fellow geeks and SC volunteers…

And then a guy that I respect dearly commented… a military man who I am proud to volunteer with… 

I do agree with Gerald that life is ever-changing… in my world in IT if I can’t handle going with the flow, well I should change careers right now… I should ask Gerald how he feels about SC saying they were ready for the upgrade.  

And then Doug got involved… sorry for being a jerk but I asked for constructive comments from fellow IT professionals to help me form a solid opinion about my position with this upgrade.  While Robert and Matthew both lent a hand, you just wanted to lend some ad hominem attack and I have to admit that there is very little in this world that I enjoy more than trolling a troll… so in the immortal words of Olivia Newton-John, let’s get personal… you thought I was going somewhere else didn’t you?

Does anyone know who I would talk to or bribe to get a chair in the back of the room for the review meeting on this recent upgrade?  I promise I won’t make a sound.  

Okay, forget the promise.  There will be some sounds.

7 responses to “Plan Do Review

    • I cannot disagree with that point. Maybe I recognize it so easily because I struggle with it myself. It is not my favorite part of my personality for sure.

      • This is an excellent article Shayne! Must have taken a fair amount of digging. You ought to have an MD Degree in Celiac Disease for all the information you have taught us. Thank you.

        • I couldn’t find your comment… no idea how it got to this post, but thank you. The research is intense but I don’t know squat compared to my wife and the people who live with this disease. I do know more than most doctors though. 😉

  1. A volunteer organization ought to be able to accept feed back from those who could do their jobs more efficiently. I give you an A+ for your efforts Shayne.

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