Needs Approval Report getting cluttered

We have a troop of 90 scouts which has the potential to lead to many “sign off” requests that show up on the needs approval report. When a Scout asks for signoff, sometimes the reviewer doesn’t want to approve the request. It would be nice if there was a way to “reject” the signoff request and let the scout go back and work on an item.

Right now, we have a lot of signoff requests that aren’t ready for approval on our Needs Approval Report.

Also, it would be nice to have another role that would enable other leaders to sign off on items such as Scout-1st class rank advancement (but not Scoutmaster Conference or Board of Reviews).

Thanks in advance for consideration.

I can see some value to having an easier way to “clear” items from the Needs Approval report that shouldn’t be on there. However, it has the same potential to be done erroneously as hitting “Approve All” does, so I’m not sure if it would really be an improvement overall.

On occasions where a scout’s work hasn’t yet been reviewed and signed-off by someone approved by the SM, I have put notes in the comments to indicate why what was done doesn’t satisfy the requirement and removed the date and checkmark from the “Completed” box. That removes it from the Needs Approval list.

The workaround my troop uses in Scoutbook is to use the note feature on requirements where the scout needs to go back and do more in order to earn approval for the requirement.

For example, let’s say a Scout working on Tenderfoot 4d sends me photos of the First Aid Kit he put together but did not include any type of explanation as to how the items would be used. I’d add a note to Tenderfoot 4d like: 30 Aug 2021 - Scout sent photos of his first aid kit but will need to explain how the items are to be used before this can be approved.

I then email the scout (via Scoutbook) to let them know that they haven’t quite completed the requirement yet and that they can check the note I’ve left in Scoutbook to see what they need to do in order to earn approval. In the case of 4d, the scout could bring the kit to an in person meeting or schedule a zoom meeting with troop leaders to do the explanation part. When that hasn’t been possible, we’ve allowed the scouts to send us a video explanation and then updated Scoutbook to show the requirement as approved or to add on to the note if we required more information.

There’s a very obvious notepad symbol that is then shown beneath the requirement so someone else looking at it after I’ve been in there has no excuse to not see there’s a note and should go read it.

Yes it can be tedious sometimes, but I’d rather be put out a little bit on my end as long as it means the Scout is able to keep learning and keep advancing. If we make too many barriers for them, especially considering that some families are still very hesitant to attend in person meetings, then we risk losing scouts due to not feeling as though we are making an effort to work with them.

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I appreciate the feedback. I hope the point of Scoutbook is to help make us more efficient as well. The current approval process doesn’t allow for feedback except through tedious, one off clicking. It seems that a complete workflow for this process should include something besides “Mark as Approved” at the bottom of the “Needs Approval” report. When you have a large troop, these kinds of little issues become bigger ones.

Like I said, I think it could be an improvement, but it’s not clear to me anyway how it is significantly more efficient at communicating the issue to the scouts.

I can see it being more time efficient when an individual is processing the Needs Approval report, in theory, if the user story is:

  • Select one or requirements to be “rejected” on the Needs Approval report.
  • Click “Decline to Approve”.
  • Scouts each receive an email indicating that the item was not approved and they should contact < person who declined to approve > for more information.
  • Scout reaches out to relevant leader for more information.

However, if the intent is to be able to also provide specific feedback as to why what was submitted was not approved, it seems like you would still need some sort of process to enter that feedback. At that point, is it really faster than the current process? Without any more detailed feedback than “Talk to the person who didn’t approve it”, I’m just not sure how useful the process is to the scout. I agree it certainly would make it faster to grind through the Needs Approval report. That thing can be a beast at the best of times if you’re trying to do anything more than review a den- or patrol-sized group of scouts with whom you’re regularly interacting.

No one usually wants any feedback if you approve something – only if you don’t! The workflow might provide that if you click “Decline to Approve” a pop-up box would come up allowing the leader to provide feedback (such as “Please provide more information.”) that is sent to the Scout. This note would be recorded on each requirement in the notes section for which was selected. Once you click, “Ok” on that, you would be taken back to the “Needs Approval Report” to continue the process.

I think this would just automate / encourage the best practices that some are already doing. I think it would be much faster because it would combine a number of clicks and allow you to batch items by selecting more than one (as opposed to doing them one at a time.) For example, I have scouts requesting approval on dozens of scout-first class items with no feedback.


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