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Scoutbook Enhancements

I am wondering what the process is for Scoutbook Enhancements. I see post after post being created for the same items when I search for an answer to the same issues that countless others have also posted. It would be great to have a searchable list of enhancements. There must be one, because there is always a reference to certain requests being on the list, but not prioritized yet.

The list also should be open to new feedback on the topic. What I see is that everyone is submitting the same items over and over as new topics, because posts are closed after only a few days of no new feedback.

Who is doing the prioritization? BSA would like for everyone to move to Scoutbook, but it appears that decisions are being made by a group that is not using the system everyday based on responses to user questions and suggestions. I’d suggest that BSA and the Scoutbook Committee do like most IT companies and let customers have a vote on what is most important. I think you would find that things that are not on your priority list are more important to troops than you think they are. If there were some key items addressed, more units would be willing to drop their old platform.

As BSA makes it harder and harder to submit advancement (we now have to manually type in every earned item on a separate form since we don’t use Scoutbook for one of my troops), we’d love to move to the new platform. However it is lacking in some key areas. It is frustrating to find posts that are 6 or more years old asking for the same item and getting the same “not a priority” from the Scoutbook committee.

I’d be glad to discuss with someone in more detail, as I don’t like to complain without being part of the solution.

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Internet Advancement is also available for free for troops to use. I am confused as to why one of your troops is manually typing up advancement forms?

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I know that I’ve lobbied for a public bugs/features list (similar to what you might see on GitHub or Sourceforge), but that has received active opposition from the BSA side (not, I should not, from the folks on SUAC). I can understand the potential issues with publishing a bug list and requested features list, and showing how they are prioritized. At the same time, I still think it would be a great help to reduce the number of duplicate requests. While I support the idea in general of user-focused development, I’m thinking that I would like to see public lists – but not necessarily development based primarily on public prioritization at this time – for the bugs and feature expansion.

The biggest problem with prioritizing things exclusively (or even primarily) based on user community feedback, not that I personally oppose it in principle, is that the strategic development of a software platform that needs significant work often lags as a result. In the case of Scoutbook, it really does have some significant architecture problems (permissions is my pet peeve, but calendaring and path-dependency of actions are other areas that need a fair bit of work) that need addressing. In addition, the BSA is taking a piece of software originally written to work at the unit level and expanding it to work at the enterprise level. I am sure that comes with architecture rework issues that I wouldn’t begin to guess at, given that my area of expertise isn’t software.

To address these competing interests, the owner needs to throw more developers at the program, but that means more money. I don’t see that there’s more money in the BSA coffers to throw at the problem. I’m not sure that I would get behind efforts to do so, even if there was surplus money laying around, since there are a lot of other funding-critical issues ongoing.

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