Pinnacle Helps Aerojet Streamline their Earned Value Management System
Aerojet’s Redmond, Washington offices design and build the propulsion systems for NASA’s Orion spacecraft Crew Module, Service Module and the Launch Abort Jettison motor. The Orion Program is in excess of $50M and therefore requires a fully validated Earned Value Management System. Aerojet recognized they had some significant challenges related to building the Program baseline and performing monthly EVMS processing efficiently. As they were approaching their next rolling wave planning cycle, it became clear that they needed to address these issues quickly in order to meet their customer expectations.
Aerojet chose to evaluate the forProject Technologies software suite to address these challenges and streamline the Earned Value Management processes in the Redmond office. By doing so, they could standardize their planning processes and incorporate Earned Value into their monthly business rhythm, while not having to change their existing planning or Earned Value Management software (Microsoft Office Project and Deltek MPM).
Pinnacle was selected to evaluate Aerojet’s EVMS business practices, make recommendations for streamlining and improving the budgeting and statusing processes, and implement the forProject tools to solve these challenges.
Pinnacle started with an assessment of Aerojet’s current planning practices and how they were executing Earned Value Management. Pinnacle identified some areas that needed immediate attention and recommended streamlined solutions enabled by the forProject tool set. Working with key Aerojet management, the following implementation goals were set:
Improve the EVMS budgeting process
Aerojet was using a budgeting spreadsheet for control account planning and using these spreadsheets to load budgets directly into Deltek MPM. In addition to being viewed by the CAMs as cumbersome, the spreadsheet budgets did not easily reconcile with the basis of estimate, authorized Program budget or Integrated Master Schedule (IMS).
Pinnacle recommended replacing the budget spreadsheet process by developing Control Account Plans from Microsoft Office Project using resource-loaded schedules. The forProject tools would be implemented to enable this process and streamline it.
- Import forProject would be used to import resource estimates from ProPricer (the estimating system) directly into Microsoft Office Project.
- Utilities forProject would be used to distribute resources to IMS tasks and reconcile to the authorized budgets
- Export forProject would be implemented to load the time-phased resource budgets from Microsoft Office Project to Deltek MPM.
Streamline EVMS statusing for CAMs
Without integration between Microsoft Office Project and Deltek MPM, EVMS performance was input directly into Deltek MPM by the business manager. CAMs wanted greater “hands-on” involvement in the statusing of their work without compromising the integrity of the IMS or Deltek MPM data.
Pinnacle recommended implementing Export forProject to send IMS status information to MPM for earned value calculations. To streamline the Microsoft Office Project updates and protect the integrity of the IMS, Pinnacle recommended implementing Update forProject, a web-based tool that allows CAMs to securely status the tasks that they own in the IMS.
Pinnacle implemented the forProject tools in two phases:
Phase 1: Proof of Concept. During the proof of concept phase, Pinnacle installed and configured the forProject tools and developed processes for importing and exporting data to and from ProPricer, Microsoft Office Project and Deltek MPM. A pilot of EVMS processes was performed using the forProject tools and a set of representative Orion schedules.
Working with the Orion Program team, Pinnacle consultants were able to successfully demonstrate importing ProPricer data to Microsoft Office Project using Import forProject, updating schedule status using Update forProject and exporting baseline and performance data to Deltek MPM using Export forProject.
Phase 2: Rolling Wave Planning Support. After a successful pilot, Aerojet wanted to implement the new tools and processes to perform the next Orion rolling-wave planning cycle. To do this, Pinnacle provided experienced IMS consultants to guide the Orion program team through the new baselining process using the forProject tools. Pinnacle consultants provided a combination of group training and individual training, tailored to the specific individual function and need, as well as facilitated planning sessions with the CAMs.
The combination of training, individual mentoring, and facilitated planning allowed the CAMs to learn the new tools and processes while rapidly developing their Control Account Plans.
Aerojet, with Pinnacle’s support, was able to significantly shorten the baseline planning cycle and enable the Program’s first resource loaded schedules. Having better quality, resource-loaded schedules has allowed for more accuracy in their weekly status, increased visibility into the performance of each schedule and control account, and more accurate and timely variance reporting.
By implementing forProject, Aerojet was able to integrate their existing tools, giving them the opportunity to streamline their monthly business processes and providing improved visibility into their cost/schedule performance.
Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc company, is a major space and defense contractor specializing in missile and space propulsion, and defense and armaments. Since the company was founded in 1942, it has led the way in the development of crucial technology and products that have kept America strong and furthered human's exploration of space.
Aerojet is a leader in the development and manufacture of aerospace propulsion systems; precision tactical weapon systems; and armament systems, including warhead and munitions applications. Aerojet is the second leading provider in both the solid and liquid propulsion market areas, as well as the number one provider in the tactical segment area of solid propulsion.