Wishful Thinking

I learned so much about PHP + Javascript development, MySQL databases, interface design, working with time and problem solving on this project. I have already started using the skills acquired from developing it in other school, work and personal projects.

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Given unlimited time and resources, though, and there is much more that I would have liked to do with Decaf outside the scope of a Directed Studies project. In its current form I would describe the project as a working prototype or proof of concept: it meets the design goals I set out three months ago, but I’ve discovered more opportunities along the way.

  1. Request time away: going forward I would like to add a feature for employees to request holiday time, sick days or others type of paid / unpaid leave. There would be three parts to this “module”. First would be a system side part calculates how much holiday or sick time an employee has accrued based on their hours worked or time with the company. Second would be an employee facing section that allows employees to select and submit a request for time away. The last part is the administrative section where managers would approve or deny time away. Time away would be factored into availability when adding or editing shifts.
  2. Auto schedule: this is the dream. Based on employee role (or an additional skills / capabilities table), availability, part or full time status the system would automatically schedule employees. A manager might set how many hours they would like to spend each day of the week or build a template to follow. Then Decaf would fill in the blanks with employees on a weekly basis. After a schedule was germinated, managers could go in and manually adjust as necessary.
  3. Employee initiated shift swaps: if Sandra want’s to give her shift away she can post it on the “Trade” page. Then Sally could offer to cover it with one click. Swapped shifts would be placed in a queue where managers could approve or deny them based on the needs of the business. Ideally managers also post extra shifts on this page that employees could offer to tae if they are looking for extra hours.
  4. Attendance tracking: since Decaf already tracks punches and schedules, it would be great to compare the data to track timeliness and attendance. If an employee arrives late or misses a  shift managers could be notified or points applied automatically. A grace period or allowable number of incidents could be set in the settings section.
  5. Schedule HUD / dashboard: a simple live-updating page that shows the employee, start time, end time and position of each shift. This would make it easy to see who’s working, when they start and what exactly they should be doing. Useful for businesses with different sections (café vs kiosk) or jobs to do (barista vs baker).

And that’s just getting started. CalDAV integration, email / text notifications and full mobile access are among the features I would love to add to Decaf. If anything I have discovered that there is great opportunity to offer a high quality scheduling experience for both small business managers and employees.

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