The Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) has used a hand-coded Microsoft Access database (called RaDView) since the 1990s to manage its project portfolio and evolving business needs. Once cutting edge, RaDView’s functionality had become obsolete as compared to commercial off-the-shelf software in workflow capability, portfolio management, interfaces with project management tools and document management.
RaDView was conceived as a simple query system for viewing project quarterly status reports, but it grew into an essential management tool as years of modifications converted it into a database of project, program and portfolio information.
In 2009, RDC contracted with a team of enterprise information management specialists to analyze RaDView and, following the results of the analysis, selected Microsoft’s Enterprise Project Management Suite (EPMS) to replace it.
Initial EPMS installation began in early 2010 with Project Server 2007. RDC started beta testing and examining how the software could be implemented and configured for RDC needs. Even though work was temporarily slowed as assets and personnel were transferred to respond to the Deepwater Horizon incident and release of EPMS 2010 was delayed, beta-testers still evaluated successive versions and offered valuable ideas for adjusting EPMS to RDC’s specific needs before its full deployment.
On October 1, 2012, RDC replaced RaDView and its associated components with EPMS. RDC now has a suite of project management tools that incorporates embedded time tracking, portfolio level viewing, detailed account transactions and contracting information. Resource availability and capacity are now quickly accessible, and RDC no longer needs to maintain separate data sets manually. RDC continues to adjust EPMS to suit its needs and will soon evaluate its portfolio selection functionality.
Key enhancements include:
- Individual workspaces for each project.
- Document management with version control and check-in /check-out feature.
- Resource pool assignments and resource availability.
- Direct costs pulled directly from project plans.
- Enhanced workflow capabilities both during the project lifecycle and at the document level.
- Branch summary views – displays branch specific data in one location, including contract information and financial data.
- Better responses to data calls – data easily pulled directly from the plans.
- Ability to link timesheets directly to a specific task in a project; tasks adjust based on actual time charged to the timesheets.
- Access controls protect EPMS data.