ECF Finance meeting 2018

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:00 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:52 am
"Take for instance a tiny task like sorting out someone's membership" - that might take a minute, it might be a lot longer if someone has a common name, or if some details have gone astray, or the member is an idiot and has got their own details wrong, or if you get stupid (or vital) interruptions and you have to start again as you forgot where you had got to! These things are difficult to quantify...
Don't quantify them. Just make 1 tally mark on a Post-It. That represents 1 membership query of average complexity. No-one expects the average query to be dealt with at the same speed as the easiest possible query. That's not how averages work.
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Hok Yin Stephen Chiu
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:53 pm

I think we are in danger of trying to implement Taylorism into the ECF Office, which I would personally not encourage. Correct me if I am wrong, but surely it doesn't matter whether the voting register is published at the start or the end of the week!?
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Michael Flatt
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Michael Flatt » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:03 pm

Chris Goodall wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:00 pm
Don't quantify them. Just make 1 tally mark on a Post-It. That represents 1 membership query of average complexity. No-one expects the average query to be dealt with at the same speed as the easiest possible query. That's not how averages work.
The ECF are fortunate to have loyal and hardworking staff in the Office. It is too easy to push extra work onto them such keeping tallies of enquiries and other incidental tasks; it just wastes everybody's time to no obvious benefit.

I have always found that the Office respond to queries in a tinely and helpful fashion.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Michael Farthing » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:07 pm

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:53 pm
I think we are in danger of trying to implement Taylorism into the ECF Office, which I would personally not encourage. Correct me if I am wrong, but surely it doesn't matter whether the voting register is published at the start or the end of the week!?
Ah a little misunderstanding there. The voting register is not a current job of the office and I don't work there. I was just using the example of myself to illustrate the problems of time sheets. Just happened my major activity at present is ECF related. [Lest I havn't made it clear I'm agin time sheets Full. Stop.]

I can assure you that there were folks panting at the bit for the voting register. I'll let others explain why...

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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:27 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:07 pm
Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:53 pm
I think we are in danger of trying to implement Taylorism into the ECF Office, which I would personally not encourage. Correct me if I am wrong, but surely it doesn't matter whether the voting register is published at the start or the end of the week!?
Ah a little misunderstanding there. The voting register is not a current job of the office and I don't work there. I was just using the example of myself to illustrate the problems of time sheets. Just happened my major activity at present is ECF related.
Thanks for clearing that up!

My point was more that whilst work study/measurement may well be worth considering to improve and monitor an organisation's efficiency, if individuals in an organisation perceive it as an attack on their work or the move is politicised (in the small p sense), then some of the suggestions so far can easily back fire and be viewed as a pseudo-science Talyorist action. A demotivated/disgruntled workforce is not an ideal outcome, if one wants greater efficiency!

Also conscious that a debate on the ECF Office's efficiency may be slightly off topic...
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Peter Turner
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Peter Turner » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:49 pm

From Michael Farthing above.

"The ECF are fortunate to have loyal and hardworking staff in the Office. It is too easy to push extra work onto them such keeping tallies of enquiries and other incidental tasks; it just wastes everybody's time to no obvious benefit.

I have always found that the Office respond to queries in a tinely and helpful fashion."

I have found that mutual respect from all parties involved is most helpful.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Michael Farthing » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:58 pm

While not in any way in disagreement with the sentiments quoted above, Peter, they come from Michael Flatt, not Michael Farthing

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:44 pm

If there's a way to see things in black and white, chess players will find it.

Keeping track of what the office staff are spending time on is relevant to a discussion of finance, because we currently don't know what things actually cost once you take into account the admin support they require. How do we even discuss finance without at least splitting out the office budget by directorate? (No, I don't mean assign budget to activities in advance, I mean report after the fact "we spent x half days on thing y".)

Taylorism?! Come on. Firstly, keeping track of half days is not Taylorism. Not even close. Keeping track of minutes and seconds is Taylorism. Keeping track of half days is basic organisation. The kind that, if you're not already doing it, you're tying your own shoelaces together.

Secondly, the point of Taylorism is to then go to the staff and say, this is what your efficiency is, this is what we'd like it to be. The point of this is to get an idea of what our office, which we're all confident is running like a well-boiled icicle, is already doing. The level of respect and trust is completely different.

The only point of the "keep a tally of membership queries" idea is to take away the excuse that we can't track half days because sometimes membership queries come in. I'm sorry but putting one stroke of a pen on a Post-It note is not work. (Doing it with an Excel spreadsheet would indeed be a terrible idea, because every time you switch your attention from one computer window to another it costs you 10 minutes.)

Plus, if you find you've given out the same information twice, that's a sign that you need to either send a mass email or put a notice on a website. Then no-one else will call you with the same query. Boom, distractions terminated!
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Nick Grey » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:42 pm

The ECF office is very efficient. I use their services once a year by phone to pay my membership. I tend to phone lunch time from where I am eating or having a coffee at work. It is a very quick process.

Whilst ECF may want this dealt with online please remember how often there is hacking of systems, including my bankers.

ECF may be trying to do too much, with little money.

My main issue is on the price of Gold as I cannot believe that there is a significant levy to fide. Maybe it is being charged twice for rating once for fide, once for ECF. Not that I expect to hear from our Gold rep/s before the meeting.

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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:02 pm

I don't wish to hijack this particular thread with a debate on how exactly we conduct work measurement in the ECF Office.

I think the suggestions come from good intentions - in fact, if there are an 'X' number of standard processes in the Office, we should indeed design the best practice for each process through method study; equally, doing time studies, identifying work elements that can be easily timed by operators down to the second, and working out the standard time/basic time/allowances (the concept referred to somewhere earlier - I think) for each process is actual very good.

But, this really requires an experienced/trained individual who knows what they are doing, to work day-in-day-out with the staff who knows their job best, in order to genuinely deliver meaningful results.

Simply recording and generating data in a way that will not being meaningfully and directly utilised by the staff will create an impression that it is a management gimmick/slight pseudo-science, where in fact the data will actually be far more useful for us to debate how efficient/effective the Office are. To get an better understanding of the Office, perhaps one could email the Office/ask the Board about what exactly the Office spend their time doing instead.

I think you have the right ideas, but demanding half days be recorded and membership queries to be tallied, appear to produce data that helps us understand what the Office staff do more, rather than meaningfully helping them improve efficiency/effectiveness. If staff feel that the said suggestions is merely producing meaningless metrics and view it negatively, it will likely have the same reaction/impact on the workforce as when Taylorism was 'justified' in the past.
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:31 pm

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:02 pm
I don't wish to hijack this particular thread with a debate on how exactly we conduct work measurement in the ECF Office.

I think the suggestions come from good intentions - in fact, if there are an 'X' number of standard processes in the Office, we should indeed design the best practice for each process through method study; equally, doing time studies, identifying work elements that can be easily timed by operators down to the second, and working out the standard time/basic time/allowances (the concept referred to somewhere earlier - I think) for each process is actual very good.

But, this really requires an experienced/trained individual who knows what they are doing, to work day-in-day-out with the staff who knows their job best, in order to genuinely deliver meaningful results.

Simply recording and generating data in a way that will not being meaningfully and directly utilised by the staff will create an impression that it is a management gimmick/slight pseudo-science, where in fact the data will actually be far more useful for us to debate how efficient/effective the Office are. To get an better understanding of the Office, perhaps one could email the Office/ask the Board about what exactly the Office spend their time doing instead.

I think you have the right ideas, but demanding half days be recorded and membership queries to be tallied, appear to produce data that helps us understand what the Office staff do more, rather than meaningfully helping them improve efficiency/effectiveness. If staff feel that the said suggestions is merely producing meaningless metrics and view it negatively, it will likely have the same reaction/impact on the workforce as when Taylorism was 'justified' in the past.
No-one is talking about designing best practice for standard tasks. Put that thought out of your head. The fact that it helps us understand what they do, and doesn't meaningfully help them improve efficiency/effectiveness, is the entire point. Who are we to tell them how to be more efficient? Start with the assumption that the office is already 100% efficient and go from there.

The board knows what the office is responsible for. The board doesn't know what percentage of the office costs go on which activities. Because if they did, they would say so. They wouldn't be writing the equivalent of a giant question mark in the accounts.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:43 pm

Chris Goodall wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:31 pm
No-one is talking about designing best practice for standard tasks. Put that thought out of your head. The fact that it helps us understand what they do, and doesn't meaningfully help them improve efficiency/effectiveness, is the entire point. Who are we to tell them how to be more efficient? Start with the assumption that the office is already 100% efficient and go from there.

The board knows what the office is responsible for. The board doesn't know what percentage of the office costs go on which activities. Because if they did, they would say so. They wouldn't be writing the equivalent of a giant question mark in the accounts.
Method study was mentioned because it generally goes hand in hand with work measurement, which is what you seem to be suggesting. I am simply providing some context.

"Who are we to tell them how to be more efficient?" - I fear waving our arms saying, we want you to give us summaries of what you do every half-day, gives exactly that message.

If we want work measurement to genuinely help the Office, and not become an amateur attempt to us scope what proportion of time is spent by the Office doing what, then I refer you back to my earlier comment:
Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:02 pm
this really requires an experienced/trained individual who knows what they are doing, to work day-in-day-out with the staff who knows their job best, in order to genuinely deliver meaningful results.
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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:51 pm

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:43 pm
Chris Goodall wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:31 pm
No-one is talking about designing best practice for standard tasks. Put that thought out of your head. The fact that it helps us understand what they do, and doesn't meaningfully help them improve efficiency/effectiveness, is the entire point. Who are we to tell them how to be more efficient? Start with the assumption that the office is already 100% efficient and go from there.

The board knows what the office is responsible for. The board doesn't know what percentage of the office costs go on which activities. Because if they did, they would say so. They wouldn't be writing the equivalent of a giant question mark in the accounts.
Method study was mentioned because it generally goes hand in hand with work measurement, which is what you seem to be suggesting. I am simply providing some context.

"Who are we to tell them how to be more efficient?" - I fear waving our arms saying, we want you to give us summaries of what you do every half-day, gives exactly that message.

If we want work measurement to genuinely help the Office, and not become an amateur attempt to us scope what proportion of time is spent by the Office doing what, then I refer you back to my earlier comment:

"this really requires an experienced/trained individual who knows what they are doing, to work day-in-day-out with the staff who knows their job best, in order to genuinely deliver meaningful results."
It's like your antenna only picks up Radio Taylor. Are you studying business management by any chance? I am not talking about improving anything.
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:55 pm

Chris Goodall wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:51 pm
I am not talking about improving anything.
That is kind of the issue - data collection has to be directly meaningful/useful to staff. Otherwise, it will end up being seen as a bit of a gimmick...
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NickFaulks
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by NickFaulks » Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:36 am

Chris Goodall wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:31 pm
They wouldn't be writing the equivalent of a giant question mark in the accounts.
Where should I look for that question mark? In fact, where should I look for the accounts?

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