Thursday, June 20, 2024

Whose big idea was the Game Management System?

England Hockey’s Game Management System (GMS) initially had a painful birth, but its conception was two years ago. In a series of articles, David Lloyd-Williams gives us the background to the system, and how it was developed.

What everyone is seeing with the GMS, at the time of writing, is the beginning of Plan A – a national system. Yes, this was rushed out. Yes, it needs a lot of fixing now; and there will be a raft of improvements. This is all planned for the long term. 

The front end to the system will appear soon, and that will be improved too over time. But if you think this is a mess now, well, Plan B, I can assure you, would have been considerably inferior. 

It would have been yet another collection of websites with, probably, just fixtures and league tables. No electronic match sheets to record everyone’s participation and build personal histories for life. No integrated umpiring, discipline, communication, or payments stuff. GDPR issues everywhere.

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In the next article, we’ll hear how the central ideas of the GMS were formed, and how it might, as so rarely on the pitch, do better than the Dutch.

David Lloyd-Williams is current and past volunteer for the London League, ex-Chair of Southgate HC.

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  1. Flabbergasted by this.

    Rushed in without on the face of it any robust testing and it can’t even put a league table out there.

    Would love to see the system requirements and process map published for IT guys to pore over.

    The whole thing needs a rigorous independent review and lessons learnt exercise as EH and GMS have made a mockery of the grass roots sport.

    • Totally agree. Now not ready apparently until November, nearly a third of the way through the season? Bring back Fixtures Live.
      Geordie Hayward- grassroots (very- bottom team) player at Canterbury for 20 years!

    • Hi. This is a small series to give an understanding of the GMS history to date and will balance out our coverage on the subject, where we will be asking further questions as to how we’ve got to this point.

  2. It wasn’t the concept that was flawed but the rushed execution so that it fell over. Should have been rolled out at different levels first only fixtures, times and venues, results plus scorers in manually and umpire appointments -the rest including player registration later. That way only club and team admins needed to register

  3. I’ve no idea of how it works (Or doesn’t!?) from a players perspective, but from a supporter and follower it’s just not fit for purpose so far. In previous seasons, to be able to see at a glance, within an hour of a game ending, what the score was, who scored and when etc… then see all the other results in the division and the updated league table.. that was excellent and didn’t appear to need changing!? Now I have almost no info at all! I have to wade through different team’s Twitter feed to find any info. This is not at all user friendly and quickly needs putting right.

  4. The whole implementation smacks of asking your mate next door to rewire your house electrics because you once saw him change a lightbulb. To undertake such a significant technical project on what appears a combination of voluntary work and mates rates is amateur even by amateur sports standard. And the mention of “GDPR issues everywhere” should get alarm bells ringing (if it doesn’t get ambulance chasing lawyers phones ringing) because GDPR has been here for nearly 3 1/2years now, and no individual or club should risk having their personal data exposed because GDPR rules are not followed rigorously.

    Now, can we have some working league tables….the team I coach won this weekend and I want to relish sitting joint top of the table for at least one week of the season please. 🙂

  5. David – as you say, there are “GDPR issues everywhere”. That is no criticism of you and your efforts. It a reflection on the mess that has been given to you by others who have failed to appreciate the importance of GDPR compliance for over 3yrs since the issue would have first surfaced. A significant failure in relation to GDPR can sink a commercial business if they were to incur the 4% of annual turnover fine – the thought of that should be enough for any organization to realise why GDPR issues shouldn’t be left to fester for 3years.

  6. Sure, but you do know that 99% of the personal data out there is controlled by clubs? You seem to be attacking EH, who have zero control over clubs. Anyway, am writing my third article, which explains how GMS cracks most GDPR issues for hockey admins.

  7. I look forward to the article on GDPR. At the moment EH have the clubs down as Data Controllers in it’s Privacy Policy for the GMS. This cannot be right as the Club’s have no access to or control over the personal information of players or officials. Clubs are the Data Controllers for their own systems – and will be for a long time to come.

  8. David, do you understand what you are doing to the volunteer community? The failures of this system have real world impacts, on real people. Our admin person is considering quitting because of the amount of time she has spent on GMS and it’s litany of failed basic activities. We are trying to get more volunteers into the game – but they see this and think the game of hockey is joke. You really should be look at what you have, and not what the dream is. There is too much vision and not enough reality.

    In terms of the system itself – sadly, this is among the worst implemented systems I have ever come across. No amount of blind faith or “fix-forward” will remedy this in the time frame required. There are so many basic 101 IT mistakes in this programme of work. Please don’t wave a vision at us – do something real and practical. I would suggest that some one should read Fred Brooks, then Steve McConnell. Then tear GMS up and start again. It is never too late to do the right thing – and say its not working.

    I’m not just criticising here – if you want some help let me know.

  9. Hugh – clubs control who has access – club admins, team admins, so it’s correct.

    Everyone – I’m the ideas guy. I am not in charge of the implementation of the project, not its IT.

    Tom – will be calling for a chat.

    • Clubs only say which members have access. They have no control over the data and can in no way be deemed as Data Controller. Have written to EH about this and will follow up by getting clarification from the ICO (seeing as EH aren’t responding).

  10. Thanks looking forward to reading this series. I’m with you that all this is needed, and to do nothing is a worse option. However, my experience of change management by one of the current UK providers of Club websites (who are also I believe an EH partner in the GMS rollout) has been abysmal – in short, quite a good, modern system but terrible rollout, management and customer engagement, which more or less negates the potential technical benefits, It takes a lot for me to lose faith, but Im starting to, at least in this company. I can’t comment on the GMS as Im not directly involved the days but I do hope it gets gripped and comes good.

  11. Personally, I just don’t understand why this wasn’t built by Teamo? They actually have a well-thought through product used and loved by clubs…

  12. Almost a year to the day and GMS is offline, failing to perform, doesn’t work properly, has cost £250K+ and EH is now blaming a 3rd party. It’s an unmitigated disaster and needs public scrutiny. Clubs across the country have contributed funds to this charade.


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