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Thread: Planning for AFTER Lockdown

  1. #841
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    How long have you been in Scouting again? of course it would be degined, managed and developed by comittee and end up a total disaster
    Yeah...

    I know. It was more of a thought experiment than anything else...

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    How long have you been in Scouting again? of course it would be degined, managed and developed by comittee and end up a total disaster
    The problem is getting the right people on the committee and a decent chair who exploits the skills. One problem is that you often get the keen types and not those who are very busy but may have more skills. Unless the chair is good then it can be hard to challenge things, especially if you are new to the experience.
    For instance there was an IT project in a galaxy not that far away. The team asked to help specify the system were quite a good cross section and included some people with a lot of experience of identifying user requirements, designing and implementing systems. However they were given half the spec (definitely a camel instead of a racehorse already) and not encouraged to challenge the wish list from the little red book of accumulated ideas. It was also difficult to create workflows when everyone did it the right way (just differently to everyone else) and some people wanted one bell, whilst others wanted a whistle.
    The end resulting spec was not that good but at least it did identify the total wish list, it just needed a bit of reality and some judicious pruning. Instead of working on a simple prototype to refine the spec and have something which would approximate to most people's needs, a completely different procurement model was adopted for reasons which have never been clear and over £2M later we are still all left pondering what might have been.
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  4. #843
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    Quote Originally Posted by wealdbrook View Post
    The problem is getting the right people on the committee and a decent chair who exploits the skills. One problem is that you often get the keen types and not those who are very busy but may have more skills. Unless the chair is good then it can be hard to challenge things, especially if you are new to the experience.
    For instance there was an IT project in a galaxy not that far away. The team asked to help specify the system were quite a good cross section and included some people with a lot of experience of identifying user requirements, designing and implementing systems. However they were given half the spec (definitely a camel instead of a racehorse already) and not encouraged to challenge the wish list from the little red book of accumulated ideas. It was also difficult to create workflows when everyone did it the right way (just differently to everyone else) and some people wanted one bell, whilst others wanted a whistle.
    The end resulting spec was not that good but at least it did identify the total wish list, it just needed a bit of reality and some judicious pruning. Instead of working on a simple prototype to refine the spec and have something which would approximate to most people's needs, a completely different procurement model was adopted for reasons which have never been clear and over £2M later we are still all left pondering what might have been.
    Interestingly, or not. What befell Compass may also be the same problem which ails the wider movement's structure - it's voluntary nature and the idea of people being able to be in charge when they're no more or less qualified than the people they're supposed to be in charge of.

    Committees are bad enough, voluntary committees though? I imagine that just compounds existing issues.

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    Senior Member Airobat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    As long as it's not being designed/managed/developed by a committee, then I still have faith.

    That said, TSA's hit rate in terms of successful project management, (including IT and certain policies which shall not be named), do somewhat dent - and by dent, I really mean destroy - any faith I might have.

    We can dream though.

    Steady Paul! That's nearly optimistic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Airobat View Post
    Steady Paul! That's nearly optimistic
    I dare say it'll pass.


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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Interestingly, or not. What befell Compass may also be the same problem which ails the wider movement's structure - it's voluntary nature and the idea of people being able to be in charge when they're no more or less qualified than the people they're supposed to be in charge of.

    Committees are bad enough, voluntary committees though? I imagine that just compounds existing issues.
    There are plenty of examples of computing projects going badly wrong in the commercial sector. Personally I think it was down to badly spec’d and conflicting requirements, in fact no different to many projects in businesses. I don’t think the voluntary nature of scouts really added much to it going wrong.

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    Personally I think it was down to underbudgeting, over promising and selecting a company who were woefully incapable of producing what was being asked for.

    I obviously have never used it but from the little I have heard of it i think the Guides GO system is substantially better than Compass and I am suprised TSA didn't just ask their suppliers to adapt it for our needs.
    Last edited by shiftypete; 16-11-2020 at 07:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big George View Post
    There are plenty of examples of computing projects going badly wrong in the commercial sector. Personally I think it was down to badly specíd and conflicting requirements, in fact no different to many projects in businesses. I donít think the voluntary nature of scouts really added much to it going wrong.
    And there are thousands of IT projects in the commercial sector that go exactly as they're supposed to go.

    As it happens, it's in the public sector where these kind of issue happen. It may be that we hear about them because it's public money. I suspect thought, it's also down to a more laissez-faire tone to proceedings.

    So maybe it's a mixture of both - a lack of funds and lack of clear leadership.

    But then, who knows what meetings went on around the specification and development, or the project process that was in place. It's ironic though, that they couldn't make their mind up about Compass and got a totally bodge job - but obviously could make their mind up (and quite quickly too) about WRA's and got another bodge job.

    I suppose, if it's wrong then it's wrong, regardless of how it got to be that way.

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    Most IT projects will have some form of "teething problems". But there's a world of difference between teething problems and being pretty much useless at the point of release.

    I suspect one of the problems within the charity sector is everything is done by committee. To an extent the same sometimes applies in the public sector. However, in the commercial sector generally a project will have a project manager and a chain of command, and that project manager will have been appointed based on his or her skills, merits or experience at delivering similar projects.

    Leaving a large, unskilled committee to manage anything tends to be a bad idea. It's why there are community halls with lists of rules as long as your arm, crumbling away because the committee in charge are more interested in enforcing rules to protect the crumbling floor than raising money to replace it. Often the best thing a committee can do is appoint someone to manage whatever the project (or aspect of day to day running) is, give them a budget, and set reporting parameters - and leave them to get on with it within those parameters. So, for example, a scout hall with a designated hall manager who has a maintenance budget and can therefore just get on with fixing things when they break is likely to be kept in far better condition than one where every decision has to be discussed at the exec.

    A lightbulb blows.

    At the first hall, the hall manager pops to Screwfix, picks up a bulb, and pops along to the end of Scouts that night to ask the SL to hold the ladder while he nips up and replaces the bulb. It's fixed within 24 hours and cost the price of the bulb.

    At the second hall, the blown bulb is placed on the agenda of the next committee meeting. There a small majority decide (after a 20 minute debate about health and safety rules) that it should be fixed by an electrician. The GSL agrees to source 3 quotes and bring them to the next month's exec meeting. The bulb takes 2 months to be replaced and costs £80 for the electricians callout fee.

    The overall outcome is the same - the bulb is replaced. But one group gets it done straight away and for a fraction of the price. The exec don't even know that the bulb blew, apart from the treasurer who processed the receipt for the new bulb, and the SL who held the ladder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    Most IT projects will have some form of "teething problems". But there's a world of difference between teething problems and being pretty much useless at the point of release.

    I suspect one of the problems within the charity sector is everything is done by committee. To an extent the same sometimes applies in the public sector. However, in the commercial sector generally a project will have a project manager and a chain of command, and that project manager will have been appointed based on his or her skills, merits or experience at delivering similar projects.

    Leaving a large, unskilled committee to manage anything tends to be a bad idea. It's why there are community halls with lists of rules as long as your arm, crumbling away because the committee in charge are more interested in enforcing rules to protect the crumbling floor than raising money to replace it. Often the best thing a committee can do is appoint someone to manage whatever the project (or aspect of day to day running) is, give them a budget, and set reporting parameters - and leave them to get on with it within those parameters. So, for example, a scout hall with a designated hall manager who has a maintenance budget and can therefore just get on with fixing things when they break is likely to be kept in far better condition than one where every decision has to be discussed at the exec.

    A lightbulb blows.

    At the first hall, the hall manager pops to Screwfix, picks up a bulb, and pops along to the end of Scouts that night to ask the SL to hold the ladder while he nips up and replaces the bulb. It's fixed within 24 hours and cost the price of the bulb.

    At the second hall, the blown bulb is placed on the agenda of the next committee meeting. There a small majority decide (after a 20 minute debate about health and safety rules) that it should be fixed by an electrician. The GSL agrees to source 3 quotes and bring them to the next month's exec meeting. The bulb takes 2 months to be replaced and costs £80 for the electricians callout fee.

    The overall outcome is the same - the bulb is replaced. But one group gets it done straight away and for a fraction of the price. The exec don't even know that the bulb blew, apart from the treasurer who processed the receipt for the new bulb, and the SL who held the ladder.

    Agreed.

    I think that committee only work when they have a dedicated influencer for affirmative action at the head of the game.

    I was used to being that person. To use your lightbulb analogy - I bought it, I fixed it. When we waited for an agreed professional to fix the plumbing - we waited three months and then I went and got what was needed and did the job myself. Or, mty Chair did.

    In other committee setting where I sit back, I get frustrated by the length of time decisions can take to be made. - I'm thinking JDI!.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Agreed.

    I think that committee only work when they have a dedicated influencer for affirmative action at the head of the game.

    I was used to being that person. To use your lightbulb analogy - I bought it, I fixed it. When we waited for an agreed professional to fix the plumbing - we waited three months and then I went and got what was needed and did the job myself. Or, mty Chair did.

    In other committee setting where I sit back, I get frustrated by the length of time decisions can take to be made. - I'm thinking JDI!.
    Committees purpose is to agree my decisions. ��

    A bit tongue in cheek, but as you say a committee will go round in circles unless they are directed/led in the right direction. (And before anyone asks, the right direction is the one I want to go in).

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big George View Post
    Committees purpose is to agree my decisions. ��

    A bit tongue in cheek, but as you say a committee will go round in circles unless they are directed/led in the right direction. (And before anyone asks, the right direction is the one I want to go in).


    Any group needs someone with a vision to take a lead. That is the way of life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post

    But then, who knows what meetings went on around the specification and development, or the project process that was in place. It's ironic though, that they couldn't make their mind up about Compass and got a totally bodge job - but obviously could make their mind up (and quite quickly too) about WRA's and got another bodge job.

    I suppose, if it's wrong then it's wrong, regardless of how it got to be that way.
    Not that many meetings for the system "Getting IT right" (which was the project name prior to it becoming directed) and most over Webex where it was hard to have any real discussions. Most of the work was done by email ping pong and, as I said up thread, the agenda was to include everything rather than focus on a core need. I still have a copy of one of the specs in the archives, I might, if I can work out attachments, upload it for you all to ridicule.
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    Managed to attach the file
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Any group needs someone with a vision to take a lead. That is the way of life.
    I'd argue that the ideal management committee for any charity will delegate most responsibilities to those who are best skilled for the task, and as a committee act as a final governance check.

    So, for example, if the task is to create a new storage shed at the hq - the QM and GSL might go off and create a design, passing it on to a parent who works as a builder to sense check and cost up. The plan would then be presented to the exec to approve.

    Rather than the exec sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and arguing over whether the tents should go on the left or right hand side.

    I've seen community events that are "run by committee", and its a painful process. Far better for a team of people to each take on aspects of the event and report back. The person organising the stage acts doesn't need to get involved in the fairground rides or the parking arrangements for example.

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