What have the tech team been doing this week?

Fitting some monitors

We hooked up two new screens to help us see what we’re doing whilst streaming services and managing the technology within the church building.

Increasing the bus factor

Much of the technology in the church at the moment has been thrown together during lockdown by one person, which has left us with a very low bus factor (the number of people who need to suddenly become unavailable before a project became impossible to continue).

This isn’t a great position to be in, so we spent some time this week filling more people in on the intricacies of systems, and improving some of our documentation.

Thinking about Easter

We have a bit more time this year to think about how we do Easter than we did last year, when the whole thing was a bit rushed to take into account rapidly moving restrictions.

But with more time to think comes bigger ideas, and with bigger ideas come more complexity. We spent a bit of time thinking about ways we can make services more dynamic, helping to ‘bring people in’ to the church despite its online nature. A few people commented on our trials last week of adding new camera angles to the mix, so we’ll be looking at ways we can present services with a bit more of a director’s eye.

Automating more of the orders of service

Preparing orders of service is currently our biggest weekly recurring task, and a big part of this is the need for us to get them ready both as print versions and online.

So far throughout the lockdown period, the online version of the order of service (like this one for Mothering Sunday) has always been something that happened after the creation of the print copy. Despite some huge advances we’ve made in streamlining the process of creating the orders of service, we’re still left with a step where things are copied and pasted and then have some styling re-applied. This isn’t a complex task, but it is a dull one, and dull tasks are particularly prone to errors creeping in.

To fix this we’ve been looking at ways we can turn this process around and automatically generate print-ready orders of service from the online ones.

We’re still not quite happy that the typography works as we want, but we’re very close to being able to automate away another bit of our weekly workload by eliminating duplication.