As a center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is responsible for space missions exploring Earth, the solar system and the universe beyond. The laboratory employs approximately 5,000 people and is running a large number of projects at any given time.
The organization was using Microsoft Project Professional within the laboratory to give project management teams access to project schedules. However to share the schedules, JPL’s Project Schedule Analysts (PSAs) needed to create portable document files (PDFs) and then place them in a file share directory for access by project team members. This meant that the schedules viewed by team members were a static image of project status at any given point in time, and did not provide any ability to drill down into items or make changes. When engineers needed to make a change they had to coordinate with the PSAs, creating additional work for both roles.
JPL decided to deploy WorkEngine from EPM Live, an Enterprise Project Portfolio and Work Management solution that integrates Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Project Server to achieve improved schedule visibility, greater collaboration, and reduce costs.
Various projects are being migrated to the WorkEngine solution, including plans and schedules for major upcoming flight projects. With EPM Live’s WorkEngine solution, project schedule visibility has been transformed from a static view of the project at any given time into real-time access for all project teams to review and status.
By deploying a project management solution that is integrated with SharePoint Server, JPL is able to create project workspaces where teams can access schedules and other key project information in a single location. This has improved collaboration within the teams, as employees can work together on documents, calendars, tasks and other items, removing version control issues. Project teams have real-time access to data, which boosts productivity among employees.
As well as benefiting from improved collaboration and visibility, JPL anticipates significant cost reductions from moving to an enterprise project management solution. A PSA can create approximately 30 PDFs of schedules during an update cycle, including the top level schedule and a version for each Cost Account Manager. Using the web view will save PSAs up to half a day’s work each week. JPL will also create cost efficiencies through improved collaboration by integrating its projects.
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