Author Topic: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT  (Read 31355 times)

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #400 on: September 26, 2018, 12:39:19 pm »
QG, you are wrong.

AUK is doing much more than ACP and requires more flexibility to do so than BRMs allow. ACP operates a subset of brevets within a host of FFCT formats. AUK doesn't have that situation.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #401 on: September 26, 2018, 12:41:43 pm »
With so many computer experts clearly around, I look forward to the AUK IT Director role being hotly contested this year, ideally by people experienced in managing large, volunteer-led projects as that appears to be what is being called for.

To be fair, there are totally different levels of expertise required to have a back-of-the-envelope idea of the scale of the project, a knowledge of market rates, the ability to project manage, and the ability to manage volunteers[1].

While I probably count as a computer expert by forum standards, my expertise is in fields only tangentially related to large database-driven websites (Linux system administration is about as close as I get to the Web), and my project management skills are limited to "shut up, and do exactly as I say".  On the other hand, I have more exposure to the industry than the average layperson, and I've seen what happens when well-meaning experts volunteer to build a bespoke IT system for a non-profit organisation[2].

In other words, I'm fully aware that I'm unqualified to do more than ask reasonably sensible questions.  I'm sure that goes for most of the 'computer experts' on this thread.  Who you'll note are mostly asking sensible questions, rather than offering to build a new AUK website.  Indeed, if anyone comes along and says they will, I'd suggest treating them with healthy degree of suspicion.

Perhaps you'd rather people didn't ask sensible questions?


[1] Who, with the best will in the world, are less reliable than paid workers, as the volunteering will necessarily take a lower personal priority for them.
[2] The usual problems include poor project management, poor communication, or an unexpected change in personal circumstances meaning the project gets left high and dry too late for the organisation to implement an alternative.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #402 on: September 26, 2018, 12:51:36 pm »
QG, you are wrong.

AUK is doing much more than ACP and requires more flexibility than BRMs allow to do so. ACP operates a subset of brevets within a host of FFCT formats. AUK doesn't have that situation.

Am happy to be wrong.

Can you elaborate so I am have the knowledge necessary to not be wrong?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #403 on: September 26, 2018, 12:59:15 pm »
How can you have a DIY under BRM rules for example?
“That slope may look insignificant, but it's going to be my destiny" - Fitzcarraldo

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #404 on: September 26, 2018, 01:04:54 pm »
How can you have a DIY under BRM rules for example?

DIY's are not recognised by ACP (AFAIK), and as such are outside the remit of my rant. Tho aren't BR DIY/Perms done at a different speed to a BRM?

That said, how does ACP handle the SR series permanents? These are recognised by ACP? Are there other perms recognised by ACP?

Tho I failed to specify it clearly, I was referring to calendar events initially. Given that not all Audax associations allow perms/DIY.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #405 on: September 26, 2018, 01:06:57 pm »
No perms under BRMs, so no DIYs either. No opportunity for non-standard distances or extra time for over-distance with BRMs. No sub-200 BRMs. No opportunity to add events to a calendar after the previous September. Are they enough reasons?
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #406 on: September 26, 2018, 01:12:43 pm »
ACP offer various perms but each series of perms are independent of BRMs and their perm awards are similarly independent of each other. It is only ACP's Randonneur 10000 award that incorporates a perm (SR600) amongst the BRMs. ACP's perms range from Fleche de France to the Tour de Corse. Look them up on the ACP website to see how they differ from BRMs.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #407 on: September 26, 2018, 01:31:44 pm »
ACP offer various perms but each series of perms are independent of BRMs and their perm awards are similarly independent. It is only ACP's Randonneur 10000 award that incorporates a perm (SR600) amongst the BRMs. ACP's perms range from Fleche de France to the Tour de Corse. Look them up on the ACP website to see how they differ from BRMs.

Separating the different elements of AUK's offerings is something I think would make sense, rather than shoehorning everything into the current points system.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #408 on: September 26, 2018, 01:49:38 pm »
If AUK was starting from scratch, perhaps. We're so far down the line now, the marginal benefits of doing so probably aren't worth the bother.

Getting back to the OP, what form of contract was the IT firm employed under? What were the deliverables, cancellation, payment and IP requirements? I don't recall seeing the contract at all when I was a non-exec. director, which was a big mistake, given the current circumstances.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #409 on: September 26, 2018, 03:47:44 pm »
At the weekend I joined a 200k BRM in Denmark, this ride will be recognised by ACP, and by inference every other Audax club. It will count towards an attempt at a RRtY from Randonneurs.nl, it's even recognised by AUK if I should decide to claim RRtY from them instead.

However, if I had done a 200k BR in .UK on Saturday, it would be recognised by... AUK.

It's not AUK's problem if the Danes don't want to recognise our BRs.  </spirit of Colonel Blimp>

There is nothing like a Dane ... nothing, in the world.
There is nothing you can name, that is anything like a Dane.


It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #410 on: September 26, 2018, 03:56:07 pm »
Compete with Strava? I hadn’t realised Strava has an AUK section.

It doesn't (or shouldn't) need an AUK 'section'.
In terms of what functionality it provides to fulfill the purpose of listing and reviewing the past rides that I, and others have done, Strava offers me details, statistics, including a map and even 'flyby' map in which you can watch your progress on the map compared to others that did the same ride. You always see others that have done the same audax.
The AUK website offers .... a single line of text.

The sort of wider point is - does AUK deserve its apparent monopoly on Audax/long distance rides in the UK?
Organisers are effectively franchisees and they are doing the hard work but paying a chunk of what they get to AUK.
I don't organise but if I did I would take the view that if that chunk is a very small amount (in absolute pound note terms) then it is worth it for the entry system/front end but if I'm paying more purely to maintain a page that shows a simple list from a database then I would probably take the view that that tips the balance of the benefits of the franchise not being worth the fee.

Has AUK even got a monopoly - does it even own the copyright to the word 'Audax'?
Could someone set up a rival organisation, just build (or buy off the shelf)  a simple front end that has no results system, but offers organisers an entry system and third party insurance, to allow organisers to run rides that they could call Audaxes, for a lower fee than AUK charges.
I'm sort of wondering why that hasn't happened, but my guess at the answer is that AUK's results system in fact is its USP which makes its franchise model saleable, but the only reason for that is simple inertia, rather than merit.

Quote
Besides, if I am going I to give my details to an organisation, I’ll do it to an organisation I’m a member of, not one that wants my details to make money from.

You might, but as an argument it's a red herring because most people aren't that anal.

Yay! I’ve been bonjed  :thumbsup:
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #411 on: September 26, 2018, 07:15:20 pm »
A few years ago 'this months audax panic' was the dilemna of a non-commercial body holding vast reserves of cash. It was generally agreed that this was a bad thing and that effort should be put into somehow getting rid of the vast reserves.

Indeed.

And by far the most popular way to spend this money was on shiny new webby stuff that would attract new members.

(cos the old was so ugly/unuserfriendly/old-fashoined, as evidenced by AUK's growth rate in the 3 years subsequent - I assume, I haven't checked ... )
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #412 on: September 26, 2018, 07:23:34 pm »
I notice that Control F1 Limited has recently changed its name (to Intercept Services Limited).

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07284437/filing-history

I wonder what is the reason for this?

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #413 on: September 26, 2018, 08:51:42 pm »
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

hillbilly

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #414 on: September 27, 2018, 11:10:16 am »
To me, the relevant question about Control F1 is not really who owns them (beyond seeking clarity on what it does to the quotations given). 

It is what happens to the maintenance and support (costing a tidy total sum of £26,000 a year to Control F1 according to the minutes) if they cease to trade.  I anticipate the Board has a contingency plan but who knows.    Likewise who has the rights to the code in that circumstance.  At the moment it feels like the Board is putting a lot of faith in a single firm (Control F1 in this case, but it could be anybody in truth).  Understandably given the use of commercial firms, but I can't help but get a tingle in my risk sensors.

(As a complete aside, the minutes don't add up the support and maintainence costs correctly.  They claim a total of £17,980 a year when the component figures add up to £28,980.)

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #415 on: September 27, 2018, 01:20:25 pm »
I am not an IT expert but i have written a couple of applications (psion 5) in the past and over the last 4 years developed a bespoke software package for our unit with a custom database of some complexity, data input systems linked to an iPad app, with appropriate sandboxes, safety and running in an NHS server. We also completely archived our previous database with15 years worth of data on many thousands of patients when the costs of integration became too high.  So i have some idea of the complexity and needs of such development.

Do we have a formal written specification for the software and what it needs to do?
Did we have a cost analysis of archiving the old database and creating a new bespoke versus continuing with the old database?
Did we have progressive deliverables at defined costs with the early option to walk away or change tack.
how many quotes did we get and was there a history of development of similar development?

i really do not see examples of their software on either site which is a bit worrying.

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #416 on: September 27, 2018, 06:17:27 pm »
Everything I've read in this thread leads me to the conclusion that, however well intentioned, this project has been poorly consulted upon and runs the risk of being poorly implemented.  When a sizeable number of your members, particularly those more informed in the area of IT, are raising serious questions I'd suggest it's time to stop and reconsider.

When a national charity I volunteered with for many years imposed far-reaching policy changes without appropriate consultation and with poor implementation it lead to the mass resignation of hundreds of long-standing volunteers and has never fully recovered.  AUK should take heed.

j_a_m_e_s_

  • Prisoner 17091
    • AUK results
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #417 on: September 27, 2018, 08:59:02 pm »
Everything I've read in this thread leads me to the conclusion that, however well intentioned, this project has been poorly consulted upon and runs the risk of being poorly implemented.  When a sizeable number of your members, particularly those more informed in the area of IT, are raising serious questions I'd suggest it's time to stop and reconsider.

Given stuff like this,

Quote from: Greenbank
I offered (via email) and was told that if my view was that we should "pause and review" (but it was unfairly interpreted as canning everything done so far) that they would "have genuine difficulty in passing your application to work on the IT Refresh team to the IT Refresh managers".

It is crystal that that the board will proceed.


An IT man offers his services, but is told that any opinion other than proceed is not compatible.

The board is proceeding.

AUK will have it's new website.


I've been adamant from the instant all this website hullaballoo came to light that the membership needs to be balloted on what we do.

Nope, the board is proceeding.

You could be fooled into thinking  AUK is in fact now just a business run by the board, and not a club run by the board on behalf of the members.

As evidenced by this.....
Quote
I think we all share the view that AUK should retain as much of the ethos of a club as possible.  However AUK is also a company and, as such, those members willing to volunteer as directors of that company (we currently have two vacant posts) are subject to important legal duties deriving from the Companies Act 2006 and wider case law

Is AUK big enough for off shore accounts and registering in Jersey yet? Nope? Memberships Efforts should be doubled.
When a national charity I volunteered with for many years imposed far-reaching policy changes without appropriate consultation and with poor implementation it lead to the mass resignation of hundreds of long-standing volunteers and has never fully recovered.  AUK should take heed.


I stated in another thread that I categorically would not let my membership lapse over the matter of £4. I would pay double if asked.

If asked.

Unfortunately, its PBP next year - a fact I'm sure is not lost on the board.
Rule 77

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #418 on: September 27, 2018, 09:17:27 pm »
£26k per annum. New costs.

I can't remember what the existing income is but c £36k comes to mind.

Barking, unless I am wrong.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #419 on: September 27, 2018, 09:53:48 pm »
I offered (via email) and was told that if my view was that we should "pause and review" (but it was unfairly interpreted as canning everything done so far) that they would "have genuine difficulty in passing your application to work on the IT Refresh team to the IT Refresh managers".

I need to do a bit more reading up on the history of it all via the minutes/reports but given what has recently come out I'll almost certainly be withdrawing my offer of help if they continue with the plan to piss away lots of money unnecessarily doing things, IMHO, in the wrong order.

I also suspect there's a fair bit of this going on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost#Loss_aversion_and_the_sunk_cost_fallacy

What I expect/hope will happen is that the possibility of pissing away all of this money will get all of the people that probably wanted to volunteer last time but didn't bother (just like me), or did but fell away as the enormity of it dawned on them, and galvanise them into really doing something this time. If that happens then I'll throw my hat back into the ring.

The projected costs of the project may be enormous but my greater concern is the ongoing maintenance fees that CF1 were scheduled to charge, these annual chargers were more than the current annual surplus of AUK. (From what I've read, happy to be proven wrong.)

In my mind the minimal viable product of this work should have been the shoring up of the existing website/backend so that it is not running on legacy software, not reliant on FF so much, can be more easily maintained, and then slowly rewrite chunks of it in situ to make it more easily extensible and maintainable for the upcoming improvements required in both membership and event planning. None of this needed outside contractors.

Once that it would be considerably easier to get a prettier front end slapped on the front of it, which may be easier to do with outside contractors but considerably cheaper as the interface/infrastructure required to do it would already be in place.

I agree with everything you have said.

The most disturbing figure is the annual support cost. This is just to keep it ticking over, no new functionality, which will certainly be required over the coming years. I'm also concerned about the choice of a relatively little-known platform, further tying in to this supplier.

I would also be willing to throw my hat in to a team of volunteers (I'm an IT professional with experience of a number of "lift-and-shift" projects of very large systems) but I suspect that is never going to be an option.
Quote from: tiermat
that's not science, it's semantics.

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #420 on: September 27, 2018, 10:27:31 pm »
Everything I've read in this thread leads me to the conclusion that, however well intentioned, this project has been poorly consulted upon and runs the risk of being poorly implemented.  When a sizeable number of your members, particularly those more informed in the area of IT, are raising serious questions I'd suggest it's time to stop and reconsider.

Given stuff like this,

Quote from: Greenbank
I offered (via email) and was told that if my view was that we should "pause and review" (but it was unfairly interpreted as canning everything done so far) that they would "have genuine difficulty in passing your application to work on the IT Refresh team to the IT Refresh managers".

It is crystal that that the board will proceed.


An IT man offers his services, but is told that any opinion other than proceed is not compatible.

The board is proceeding.

AUK will have it's new website.


I've been adamant from the instant all this website hullaballoo came to light that the membership needs to be balloted on what we do.

Nope, the board is proceeding.

You could be fooled into thinking  AUK is in fact now just a business run by the board, and not a club run by the board on behalf of the members.

As evidenced by this.....
Quote
I think we all share the view that AUK should retain as much of the ethos of a club as possible.  However AUK is also a company and, as such, those members willing to volunteer as directors of that company (we currently have two vacant posts) are subject to important legal duties deriving from the Companies Act 2006 and wider case law

Is AUK big enough for off shore accounts and registering in Jersey yet? Nope? Memberships Efforts should be doubled.
When a national charity I volunteered with for many years imposed far-reaching policy changes without appropriate consultation and with poor implementation it lead to the mass resignation of hundreds of long-standing volunteers and has never fully recovered.  AUK should take heed.


I stated in another thread that I categorically would not let my membership lapse over the matter of £4. I would pay double if asked.

If asked.

Unfortunately, its PBP next year - a fact I'm sure is not lost on the board.

So do you think the Board should get the boot?

frillipippi

  • from Italy
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #421 on: September 28, 2018, 12:02:27 am »
Answering to QG's question, in Italy we have ARI (Audax Randonneur Italia) that organizes both BRM and non-BRM audaxes. I guess the reason for non-BRM audaxes is related to our national habit of improvising: it conflicts with ACP schedule for publishing the world calendar for each year.

We also have a rival organization (Ciclofachiro), that organizes non-BRM rides, plus a BRM-validated Super-Randonnée.
This rival organization is a sort of "rebel" organization: it was founded by some former members of the "official" equivalent of AUK who decided to leave an organization that apparently didn't suit them (anymore). I remember I read some recriminations about money, but when I asked why they left to one of them, he told me that while ARI spent a lot of energies in a lot of different things, he and his partners just wanted to focus on riding. Riding beautiful rides.
To my opinion, "rebel" routes are often much better than those of the official organization, so I dare say they're achieving what they strive for.

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #422 on: September 28, 2018, 12:10:34 am »
I've been adamant from the instant all this website hullaballoo came to light that the membership needs to be balloted on what we do.

FWIW I don't quite agree with this.

I wish that the board would do the right thing. I don't trust the membership to be able to be informed enough to make the right decision if it went to a ballot.

What I wish the board would do is stop at the end of Phase 1 and reassess. Don't fall for the Sunk Cost Fallacy and throw good money after bad with Phases 2/3.

Look at what really is the problem (the current infrastructure is shaky) and the proposed solution (which does not change this) and realise that it is pointless to continue with Phase 2 or 3 as it stands.

Phase 1 has cost enough and scared enough people that a proper rethink is required. Balloting the members suggests that there is a viable alternative plan, there isn't yet.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #423 on: September 28, 2018, 05:50:53 am »
No small feat...

Bianchi Boy

  • Cycling is my doctor
  • Is it possible for a ride to be too long?
    • Reading Cycling Club
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #424 on: September 28, 2018, 07:12:13 am »
I have said this before but the way (from the outside) that the website re-write appears have been undertaken by looking at all the features and trying to do it all. In my experience this approach normally fails. I have have worked on many project large and small and there are some worrying signs. First when something goes over budget you should should look at what has been achieved and ask if it has been done effectively. Most projects look at the remainder of the work and do a frantic re-plan which often just repeats the mistakes that were done in the planning of the first phase in more painful detail. The point here is that all software development is really R&D as nobody will have done it before, look at what has been achieved and if it is good quality and has been done effectively take the next set of functionality and implement. To take this approach the users of the software have to have a clear idea of the minimum functionality that makes sense, then augment it in iterations ensuring that after each cycle the product makes sense.

One common feature that many failing projects have is having large amounts of documentation. Firstly no one reads the documents and they take a great deal of effort to write and then it is ignored in varying degrees during the implementation. Focus on what has been delivered and understand the product, build things that people can see and not endless features that are in the spec.

I am not close to the project and it would take some time to examine what had been done, but this looks like what needs to get done before further commitment is made.

There is one other point there appears to be two separate objectives, one to give us a modern web site and the other to get us off obsolete infrastructure. Which is the most important, I would suggest the second.

BB
Set a fire for a man and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he is warm for the rest of his life.