A Scary Mouse Click

Whew! Today was the day we triggered announcement emails on the final reviews of our internal grants program, MCLI Learning Grants. This is a completely homegrown, online system where all applications, reviews, management, and year end reports are done online.

The task today was to run a script that rummages through the database, pulls the records for the current grants, compiles a complicated email recipient list (applicants, co-applicants, department chairs of applicants and co-applicants, deans of affected colleges, staff developers of affected colleges), and sending one of three notification messages-

* Not Funded (ouch)
* Partial Funded- with the amount and instructions for how to log in an modify their budget to meet the amount funded
* Fully Funded (yea!)

We parcel out about $184,000 a year for grants of no more than $10k each, and the goal is to spread it as wide as possible (44 out of 67 submitted were funded).

Sending the scripted emails makes our plans sweat, as the last thing you want to do with this many people is send the wrong information, or neglect/include the wrong recipients, etc. The strategy is to first run the script so it dumps all the messages to a web page, so we can review the info and verify it is correct. Then we trigger it to send it to the project manager, who can then verify the emails appear as the should. Then finally, with one click, 67 messages go out to some 300+ people. In years past we had a few goofs of sending things early, or sending out multiple times, so I try to be triple anal about testing and getting it right. The saddest thing is having to send out those apology follow-up messages which further highlight the incompetence  demonstrated by the first goof-ups.

I think it worked.


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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.