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Methodologies for improving Flight Project information Capture, Storage, and Dissemination

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1 Author(s)
Equils, D.J. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA

As the complexity of Flight Projects continues to grow, the management of information has become the underpinning of effective organizational communication. Documentation is the preferred method for capturing and disseminating information in organizations and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), there are a series of documents called Gate Products that each Flight Project is required to generate. The goal of these documents is to capture the requirements, concepts, design, and testing plan for a given project such that it is reviewable and can easily be shared across the project. The process for generating these documents on Flight Projects, however, is typically done through a series of informal inquires for older versions of a needed document which is then updated with project specific information. This can present a number of problems which can increase overall cost and risk to the project.At JPL, the Project Support Office (PSO) developed a common-sense approach for improving the way in which project information in gate products is generated, communicated, and stored. This task, called Document QuickStart, consists of 3 phases: Fifty-eight projects from Earth, Mars, Astrophysics, and Outer Planets missions were data-mined for existing examples of Gate Products. These examples were then posted in an easily accessible area for scientists, engineers, and managers looking for examples of a particular gate product. From these examples, templates of key Gate Products were system engineered and peer reviewed in an intuitive multi-mission format with both narrative description of content as well as boiler plate formatting. Finally, in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), a tool, called DocAssist was developed for the storage of project specific information that then could be used to pre-populate the existing templates providing a user with a more mature entry point into document development. This paper will discuss the drawbacks and ri sks of the current documentation paradigm, how Document QuickStart improves on that process and ultimately how this stream-lined approach will reduce risk and costs to the next generation of Flight Projects at JPL.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2011 IEEE

Date of Conference:

5-12 March 2011