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Author malcolmw  Date 01 Jan 07, 08:43  Views 7855
Description A technical explanation of the role assignment engine and the settings it uses.
Category Running the Meeting  Type Reference
Article scope
easy-Speak information

How the Automatic Role Assignment Works

Assigning members to meeting roles
Members may be assigned to roles by the meeting manager using the 'Assign Members to Roles' screen from the meeting agenda.

If you have authority to assign members to roles for a meeting, the 'assign' button will be visible when you view the agenda screen prior to the meeting.
This feature allows you to allocate a member to each role or speech.
You will have authority because:

    You are a Club Officer with that authority (e.g. VP-E) or
    You are assigned to be the meeting manager for this meeting

Please refer to this article for instruction on the use of the assignment screen:

There is a button on the assignment screen to assign available members to vacant roles automatically.

In normal circumstances you will not need to understand the logic behind the automatic assignment process but, if you have problems assigning a new role that you have created specially for your club, or if you are just curious, you may be interested to read this technical description of how the automatic allocation engine works.

The requirements of automatic role allocation

    New members should be assigned the easiest roles first.
    Some roles should be held back until the member has sufficient experience.
    All members should be assigned each of the roles over time.
    All members should be assigned a fair mix of roles at fair intervals.
    Some roles will always be delivered by the Club President or other Club officer.
    Some roles may be better held back from experienced members to give new members more opportunity to participate.
    After a major role, requiring significant preparation, a member should not be assigned another major role immediately.
    No member should be asked to repeat the same role too often.
    Evaluators should be assigned with the most experienced last (to fit with the convention of least experienced speakers first)
    The system must be able to double up on role assignments if there are only a few members available for the meeting.
    The system must allow manual role assignment in priority to any automatic processing.
    If members 'refuse' a role, or cannot attend the meeting, auto-allocation may be run again to fill the gaps.
    Auto allocation for each meeting must count speeches that have been made, or are scheduled to be made, prior to this meeting.
    All calculations for experience should be made by counting meetings rather than time (to allow for clubs that meet weekly, close for the summer or put an additional meeting into the schedule).
    Some members may be inactive for a period of time and should be excluded from the auto-allocation routine.

Explanation of the easy-Speak Auto-Assign engine
Firstly, the program builds a list of members who are available for the meeting.

    Full members of the club whose
    Attendance is 'Yes' or 'Unknown' (Inactive members are only included if they have said that they WILL attend)
    Do not yet have a role at this meeting
For each member the system calculates:
    How recently they took any role
    How recently they took a 'Major' role
    How recently they took THIS role
    How many meetings they have attended
    How many speeches they have made
... and then assigns them an 'experience' rating based on the number of meetings and speeches.
To allow for an experienced Toastmaster being newly recruited into this club, any member with a CC or CL etc is recognised to have a minimum of 10 speeches and 20 meetings.
Since the system may be used to assign roles several meetings in advance, any speeches or roles assigned between today's date and the meeting date are assumed to be accepted and are included in the calculations.

Next, the system builds a list of vacant roles and checks the club settings for each role:

    Minimum meetings a member should attend before being assigned this role,
    Minimum number of speeches delivered before a member should be assigned this role,
    The setting for 'do not repeat more often than ...' for the role
    The 'try not to assign to a member who has attended more than ... meetings' setting for this role
Some of these settings are set by default for the club but may be overruled for a specific role.

Some roles are reserved for the Club President (President's Introduction, Club Business, Awards...).
These will be assigned to the President or, if they will not be present, to the next ranking Club Officer.
The President may take another role and will be processed the same as all other members.

The system then checks vacant roles against available members and calculates how often, on average, each member should be assigned a role.

It then tries to assign each role, in the sequence defined in the Club Control Panel (easiest first), beginning with the least experienced member and anyone who has never taken this role.
It will make several attempts.

    First attempt honours all requested preferences.
    If this is not possible it will try again - but without the 'try not to assign to experienced members' setting.
    If this is not possible it will try again - but ignore the 'average number of meetings between two roles' setting.
    If this is not possible it will try again - but ignore the 'do not repeat this role more often than' setting.
    If this is not possible it will try again - but ignore the required experience settings.

If there are not sufficient members for all roles the program assigns the more difficult roles first, starting with the most experienced members.
If this is the case a warning message is shown at the foot of the allocation panel to prompt the meeting manager to double-assign the easier roles by hand.

Assignment Audit Trail Report
If the Club has set the option to display the Assignment Audit Trail, a link will be displayed at the bottom of the assignment actions panel after auto-assign has been run.
Clicking on this link will open a new screen which shows the information used by the automatic role assignment engine and the basis for assigning a member to each role.
There should normally be no need to look at this report - but it gives valuable information if a role has been added for the club and there are questions about how and why the members are assigned.

The format of the log is as follows:

    Auto-allocation routine - Bicester Achievers Speakers Club - 10 Mar 06 20:32 - malcolmw
    Unassigned roles: 12, Available members: 13, Calculated Average Repeat: 0

    Available members:
    ChristaG - E:5, M:2, S:1, L-R:6, L-M:7
    martinw - E:10, M:7, S:1, L-R:1, L-M:9
    johnS - E:60, M:24, S:12, L-R:1, L-M:1
    benJ - E:69, M:21, S:16, L-R:1, L-M:2

    Unassigned roles:
    1 - Grammarian
    5 - Warm up
    6 - Sergeant at Arms
    8 - Timekeeper
    12 - Toastmaster
    15 - General Evaluator

The top section shows the Club name, date, time and member using the assignment screen.
The second line shows the number of unassigned roles, members available for this meeting and the calculated average number of meetings a member will wait between being assigned two roles

The list of available members shows for each member:

    E: (Experience)
    M: (Meetings attended)
    S: (Speeches made)
    L-R: (Last took a role ... meetings ago)
    L-M: (Last took a major role ... meetings ago)

The list of unassigned roles shows the allocation sequence and name for each role.

The next section shows the process of assigning a member to each role:

    Assigning: Grammarian - MinM:, MinS:0, MinR:, Max:20
    Settings: Check Minimum:Y, Check Repeat:Y, Check Average:Y, Check Max:Y
    ChristaG *** Assigned ***


    Assigning: Evaluator 3 - MinM:5, MinS:2, MinR:4, Max:9999
    Settings: Check Minimum:Y, Check Repeat:Y, Check Average:Y, Check Max:Y
    chantalC too soon this role 2
    etc ...
    benJ too soon this role 2
    Not possible
    Settings: Check Minimum:Y, Check Repeat:Y, Check Average:Y, Check Max:N
    chantalC too soon this role 2
    benJ too soon this role 2
    Not possible
    Settings: Check Minimum:Y, Check Repeat:Y, Check Average:N, Check Max:N
    chantalC too soon this role 2
    benJ too soon this role 2
    Not possible
    Settings: Check Minimum:Y, Check Repeat:N, Check Average:N, Check Max:N
    chantalC *** Assigned ***

In this example the Grammarian was assigned at the first attempt but evaluator 3 went through several attempts (see preceeding paragraph for an explanation of this).
The meaning of the codes shown against each role name are:
    MinM: (Minimum meetings)
    MinS: (Minimum speeches)
    MinR: (Do not repeat more often than...)
    Max: (Try not to assign to a member who has attended more than .... meetings)
The meaning of the settings shown for each attempt at assigning the role is:
    Check Minimum: (Check for minimum speech and meeting experience)
    Check Repeat: (Do not repeat this role more often than ...)
    Check Average: (Do not assign any role more often than ...)
    Check Max: (Try to avoid assigning to a member who has attended more meetings than...)

Each member's username is shown for each pass of the assignment process with a message, either saying that the role was assigned to them, or the reason why it was not.
If the role was not assigned to this member the number with the message indicates why the decision was made. (How recently they took this role, a major role, any role, etc ...)

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