THE WELCH COMPANY
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700
S U M M A R Y
DIARY: September 30, 1989 11:02 AM Saturday;
Meeting to review Expedition used by Swinerton & Walberg.
3...Data Entry by Support Staff
4...No Software Integration
5...No Browse Feature
6...No Electronic Mail
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0201 - Swinerton & Walberg 415 421 2980
020101 - Mr. Michael Strong; Project Engineer =415 444 3822 (Oakland job)
020102 - Interiors Division
SDS Marketing evaluation
0405 - ..
0406 - Summary
040701 - Mike demonstrated Expedition and Micro Planner, an on-line CPM
040702 - networking program.
040704 - I explained how Expedition could be called as a supplemental utility
040705 - from within SDS, in the same way SDS calls a spreadsheet,
040706 - wordprocessing, or scheduling program.
040708 - Sent follow up to Mike and Larry, ref DIT 1 line 30, and ref DIT 2
040709 - line 30.
0410 - General
041101 - Mike provides computer support for the project.
041103 - He has been using Expedition since June. He did not get formal
041104 - training in it; simply, "Here it is with a manual, implement it."
041105 - Mike is trying to customize some of the reports to S&W existing
041106 - formats. This effort is slowed by a heavy work load.
041108 - Hardware
041110 - They seem to have a 12 MHZ AT, with probably a 40 MB or 60 MB drive.
041111 - Wordprocessing is performed on a separate CPU. They are considering
041112 - getting another computer to provide direct access for Brian, the
041113 - Superintendent, to the CPM program discussed below. This leads to
041114 - consideration of networking the computers. In that case they need a
041115 - machine with a large drive, 120+ MB, for a server.
041117 - There did not appear to be a tape drive for daily backup. This will
041118 - be needed to support a network (probably should be available now).
041121 - ..
0414 - Expedition features
041501 - This thing gets started like Primavera's schedule program, and allows
041502 - you to move through the various modules in the same manner; so, it is
041503 - generally User friendly.
041505 - Expedition is a series of LOGS to track standard construction manage-
041506 - ment data like submittals, RFI's, change orders, correspondence,
041507 - meeting notes. A nice feature is the ability to set up standard
041508 - follow-up ("Dunning") letters that are automatically issued when
041509 - target response dates are not met by vendors and subs. [This could be
041510 - used for sales follow up.]
041512 - Expedition also offers standardized formats for transmittals, Daily
041513 - Work Reports, Change Orders, RFI's, Meeting Minutes, and status
041514 - reports. Some of these are handy to use under a comprehensive Issue
041515 - coding system, however that part of Expedition is weak.
0417 - Technical support
041801 - Mike said Primavera's Technical Support can be reached fairly easily
041802 - (you are not on hold for 20 minutes, nor do you have to leave a mes-
041803 - sage for a call back in a few days after giving up on your immediate
041804 - problem).
041806 - He feels though that for many of the sophisticated situations that
041807 - arise in heavy PM work, Primavera's staff are not helpful. They do
041808 - not know the program as well as Mike does, which is pretty normal.
041810 - Mike said the president of Primavera is helpful. He was recently in
041811 - town to hear about S&W's views on the product and following the visit
041812 - sent them a revised program disk to address concerns that were raised
041813 - (Larry mentioned this also on 890929, ref SDS 1 5993).
041816 - ..
0421 - Narrative Reporting & "To-Do"
042201 - Expedition has separate modules for Meeting Notes, Daily Reports, and
042202 - general "Notes" to enter "To-Do" items. "Issues" can be assigned to
042203 - items using 6 digit codes. Mike said data entry is awkward and the
042204 - six digit Issue code field is not enough. They are using the Daily
042205 - Report secion, but not the other two. They prepare meeting notes in
042206 - their word processor program and log them in Expedition. They use a
042207 - regular desk calendar and tickler file system for "To Do" items.
042210 - Data Entry by Support Staff
042212 - Mike said he and the job secretary do the data entry. Expedition is
042213 - not used directly by the Project Manager. They use Wordperfect for
042214 - regular correspondence, and then log it into Expedition.
042216 - Since they have only been using Expedition a few months, Mike is
042217 - unsure about how well the logging operation will turn out. When they
042218 - get busy, data entry into Expedition falls behind, but they are trying
042219 - hard to keep up.
042222 - No Software Integration
042224 - Expedition does not support using other software programs, as SDS
042225 - does. A spreadsheet analysis, or letter created in Wordperfect for
042226 - example cannot be accessed directly from within Expedition. This
042227 - requires two steps and manually transferring information into the
042228 - Expedition Logs, which Mike says causes errors. Additionally, such
042229 - documents cannot be opened from within the Expedition Logs.
042231 - On the other hand, Expedition could be called as a utility from within
042232 - SDS to overcome this limitation.
042235 - No Browse Feature
042237 - Expedition's reports are not linked to each other. It is not possible
042238 - to list documents in the Reference field of a document, and then
042239 - simply point to it on line to access related information.
042241 - SDS would overcome this limitation.
042244 - No Electronic Mail
042246 - Expedition does not support directly issuing correspondence, Notepad
042247 - or meeting notes via E-Mail.
042249 - SDS would overcome this limitation.
0425 - SDS v Expedition
042601 - The objectives are essentially different, with some overlap in the
042602 - document log. SDS supports the management function directly through
042603 - regular hands on use of the computer. It is for personal scheduling
042604 - and record keeping which in turn creates an information resource for
042605 - the entire organization; whereas Expedition is good at logging formal
042606 - communications. Both are important.
042608 - [Note these differences were endorsed by Fred Talegani at ICS who
042609 - markets Primavear products, per ref SDS 2 line 214.]
042612 - Philosophically, SDS intends to increase the manager's understanding
042613 - of the work he performs, and his ability to formulate and carry out
042614 - action plans by providing an efficient, integrated environment for
042615 - planning, analysing, making assignments, reporting, and writing
042616 - correspondence. It is a very fast writing tool and very fast in
042617 - retrieving information previously written -- speed is critical to
042618 - good management. Thus, SDS is for the manager to use as well as
042619 - support staff.
042621 - Expedition is used by the STAFF to enter and retrieve lists of
042622 - documents without improving the process by which the facts and ideas
042623 - in the documents are developed and supported. Management itself
042624 - remains isolated from the benefits of computing. I suspect the
042625 - concept that "writing" merely conveys and records ideas rather than
042626 - creates ideas, arises from traditional manual writing modes: pencil
042627 - and paper, typing, dictating. The editing power of SDS is the
042628 - critical difference because editing is thinking and thinking is
042629 - management. Until managers experience this power, they have diffi-
042630 - culty grasping the notion that direct data entry improves the quality
042631 - of their ideas and decisions, when, as with SDS, the writing is
042632 - entered into a structured data base that permits fast retrieval of
042633 - ideas and knowledge.
042636 - Scheduling and Reporting
04263701h- SDS integrates these functions; Expedition does not. SDS offers a
04263702 - natural, simple means to write down what happened (Daily Work
04263703 - report, Inspection report, site visit report, telecon MFR, discus-
04263704 - sion notes), and then make sure follow up action is taken. Getting
04263705 - follow up action into an electronic schedule has the benefit of
04263706 - making sure it will not be forgotten, as often occurs in manual
04263707 - systems. Expedition does not offer this feature.
042640 - Multiple Subjects
042641 - Electronic filing
04264201 - Information entered in Expedition is limited to chronological
04264202 - structure. While it does permit entering a subject code for
04264203 - extracting reports, since most information pertains to a variety of
04264204 - subjects, Expedition is too primitive for dynamic management.
04264206 - SDS allows assigning multiple codes (as many as necessary) to a
04264207 - particular entry similar to cross referencing documents in a filing
04264208 - cabinet. Expedition's "reports" are merely lists of documents that
04264209 - contain ad hoc keywords.
04264212 - Segmenting reports
04264213 - ------------------
04264214 - SDS not only permits identifying multiple subjects within a single
04264215 - record, but also produces reports that contain only the portion of
04264216 - an event such as telephone discussion, meeting notes, issue analy-
04264217 - sis, that pertains to a particular subject of interest. Expedition
04264218 - cannot do this.
042645 - Networking
04264601 - Expedition does not provide this feature now, but Primavera
04264602 - intends in a future release to support LAN applications.
04264604 - SDS has general LAN capability. This is a fundamental strength of
04264605 - the program because it offers a data base into which everyone can
04264606 - contribute and in doing so, make it possible to obtain comprehen-
04264607 - sive reports on performance when the time comes to find out what has
04264608 - been done on a particular issue by EVERYONE in the organization.
042649 - Document Log
04265001 - This is Expedition's strength. Some would argue about the need to
04265002 - segment logs into types, but I think it can be helpful, particularly
04265003 - for high volume transmittal work which is a staff function.
04265005 - The advantage of SDS is that when a document is created, it is
04265006 - totally defined within the DL system and does not require someone
04265007 - else to do another step, as it does in Expedition. I think the
04265008 - management correspondence would be created in SDS, and, if
04265009 - necessary, data entry into Expedition DL could be accomplished via
04265010 - batch file.
0505 - SDS demonstration
050601 - I explained some of the features of SDS.
050603 - Mike will call next week to arrange a visit on the way home from work
050604 - to see SDS.
050606 - He has a good appreciation of the resistance in applying computers to
050607 - a real-time management situation. I related the concept of regular
050608 - use as a function of comprehensive management tasks. Menus are User
050609 - friendly, but too slow to keep up with dynamic management. SDS uses
050610 - Function keys to instantly access data, but they take awhile to learn
050611 - and the interim frustration can be difficult to overcome, particu-
050612 - larly for management types.
050614 - Since S&W is experimenting with Expedition on a few projects they
050615 - may consider doing the same with SDS. Mike said Larry is good about
050616 - trying new ideas.
Procurement, CPM Scheduling
software, Micro Planner
0606 - Mike gave a demonstration of how an activity can be created on line
0607 - with this thing. It seems slick, but apparently runs only under MS
0608 - Windows.
060901 - Supports only ADM; node numbers are assigned automatically.
060903 - Activity descriptions can be as long as necessary without regard for
060904 - duration in time scaled formats.
060906 - There does not appear to be a direct ability to use node numbers for
060907 - WBS and structuring schedule plots. The capability for this may be
060908 - supported though. Mike tried an alpha scheme for a node number and
060909 - this seemed to work. More experimentation would be needed to evaluate
060910 - the efficacy of WBS applications.
0611 - Reporting is limited, but adequate for 90% of the situations that arise
0612 - in everyday management.
0614 - Didn't get a chance to see a plot. Mike had a bar chart that looked
0615 - good. He thinks plotting is supported for HP laser printer.
0617 - On line scaling is another feature it may have. There is a command for
0618 - it, but we didn't have time to experiment with it.
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