State of Montana
Department of Natural Resources & Conservation
1520 East Sixth Avenue
Helena, MT 59620 2301
406 444 6699 fax 6721
S U M M A R Y
DIARY: January 27, 1992 12:12 PM Monday;
Mike Sims, P.E.
Evaluate SDS for managing Broadwater Dam Power Plant.
2...Background on Evaluating SDS
....1...Learn to Use the Schedule
........This got me into the habit of writing down things to do so I
....2...Convert Schedule Tasks Into Diary Records
........Create Notes of Important Diary Items Builds Knowledge
....3...Writing and Linking in SDS Solves Problem of Haste Makes Waste
....4...Contacts Track People and Organizations
....5...Develop Subject Index
........Filing Headache Solved
........Learn to Link Records Which Are the Result of On-going
....6...Attempts to Solve Specific Problems
....7...Management of Documents
....8...Operator is Beginning to use SDS as His Work Planner
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SDS Software Training/Setup
SDS for Management support
0505 - ..
0506 - Summary/Objective
050701 - Follow up ref SDS 1 0000, ref SDS 2 0000.
050703 - SDS improves management at the Broadwater Plant by combining routine
050704 - management work for scheduling, reporting, planning, and coordinating
050705 - people and tasks, and also tracking documents -- tracking information
050706 - on most everything is fast and easy. SDS does some things other
050707 - programs don't do here at DNRC, like time management that connects
050708 - past, present and future by using records of relevant experience to
050709 - plan future tasks, linking records, subjects to organize and find
050710 - information, document logs, automated follow up and citations. As a
050711 - result, it takes time to understand how they all fit together.
050712 - Integrating these various features makes SDS very powerful, so I
050713 - believe it is best to learn SDS with training support from The Welch
050714 - Co.
050716 - ..
050717 - Writing reports, which are a big part of managing a power plant, is
050718 - faster and more useful with SDS. The flexible structure of SDS using
050719 - time for chronology, plus subjects, contacts and document files,
050720 - provides a lot of ways to find information quickly for preparing
050721 - reports. Linking and subject reports in SDS significantly reduce the
050722 - time required to find information for writing an accurate report,
050723 - compared to conventional methods by hand and using wordprocessing
050724 - programs (we have Wordperfect). SDS tools make assigning subjects and
050725 - linking related records fast and easy, so so it is practical to look
050726 - things up rather than rely on personal recall.
050728 - [On 920127 discussed with Rod. ref SDS 3 0001
050733 - ..
0510 - Progress
051101 - Background on Evaluating SDS
051103 - This is to report progress using SDS for my job as superintendant of
051104 - the Broadwater Dam Power Plant (BPP).
051106 - Rod asked about a week ago for feedback on SDS, and I have been having
051107 - trouble getting to it because of my work load. Today there is some
051108 - time to breathe, so here are initial impressions.
051111 - ..
0514 - History
051501 - On October 18, 1991 Rod Welch of The Welch Company (TWC) installed his
051502 - Schedule Diary System (SDS) program on my computer to evaluate from a
051503 - plant manager's standpoint and determine if it would be helpful in my
051504 - daily routine.
051506 - A copy of the software was also installed on our work terminal at the
051507 - plant. This was necessary for the system to work as intended since it
051508 - is critical for me to have my records available at either location.
051510 - ..
051511 - I have been using the SDS software on a daily basis since the install-
051512 - ation date, with support from Welch Company. It is my understanding
051513 - that since my preliminary reports on the software were positive and I
051514 - wished to continue to integrate the system into my management scheme,
051515 - DNRC paid for the software. Rod has been providing support for Broad-
051516 - water contract management, so his time training on SDS has been
051517 - incidental.
051520 - ..
0518 - Experience Learning SDS
051901 - The levels of SDS proficiency that I have achieved are as follows:
051903 - ..
051904 - 1. Learn to Use the Schedule
051906 - I started by learning to enter tasks in the Schedule. This
051907 - entailed learning to type task descriptions, revise (edit),
051908 - delete and move them when necessary from one day to another.
051910 - This got me into the habit of writing down things to do so I
051911 - can decide what is most important rather than what I happen to
051912 - think of at the moment. It helped immediately to avoid letting
051913 - things "slip through the cracks".
051915 - ..
051916 - Soon I had a very big list. I could see that everything could
051917 - not be done in one day. SDS let me move To-do tasks to spread
051918 - them out to other days to make a realistic schedule based on
051919 - priority given by Walt and my own sense of plant conditions. It
051920 - also alerted me to let people know in advance when a delay
051921 - would occur, or give DNRC management the opportunity to provide
051922 - supplemental help.
051925 - ..
051926 - 2. Convert Schedule Tasks Into Diary Records
051928 - The next thing I learned and one of the more difficult to grasp
051929 - (though not to implement) was what Rod calls "integrating
051930 - scheduling and reporting." He also calls this:
051932 - Turning plans into action!
051934 - ..
051935 - That's something I've always wanted to do. With SDS you just
051936 - press F8 to put a dot in front of a Scheduled task to identify
051937 - it as a Diary record to show that some work was accomplished on
051938 - the task.
051940 - ..
051941 - Tasks in the Schedule with a DOT in front of the description
051942 - means some work was done, but does not necessarily mean that
051943 - the task is complete. Most of the things I work on at the
051944 - plant go on for days, sometimes weeks or months. It took
051945 - awhile to catch on that SDS Diary records are just about the
051946 - work accomplished on a particular day, like filling out a daily
051947 - report (later I learned how powerful SDS is in assembling these
051948 - daily reports into subject chronologies).
051950 - ..
051951 - Another interesting aspect of using F8 is that tasks with a DOT
051952 - are removed the next day, so that the Schedule always starts
051953 - out in the morning showing only the things that need to be
051954 - done. However, I can see what has been accomplished with F3
051955 - which instantly produces a list called a "Diary" of what has
051956 - been accomplished on prior dates.
051958 - ..
051959 - Thus, while F8 is a powerful tool in SDS to set the status of a
051960 - task in the Schedule, it is really just a simple switch that
051961 - enters and removes the dot, so the User can identify a task as
051962 - a Schedule or a Diary record.
051964 - Shortly, I began to build a Diary of the things worked on each
051965 - day. This is helpful in filling out my time sheets. It is
051966 - also very easy to look up what has been accomplished or occur-
051967 - red that was important to plant operations.
051969 - ..
051970 - At this point I began to learn to do "maintenance" on the
051971 - Schedule e.g. making diary entries for prior dates, deleting
051972 - diary entries that were made in error, moving tasks, etc.
051974 - I was now becoming more proficient at handling incoming tasks
051975 - entering them into the Schedule right away so I would have a
051976 - tool which forced me to remember "to do" things which I had
051977 - previously committed myself to or had identified as being had a
051978 - important.
051981 - ..
051982 - Create Notes of Important Diary Items Builds Knowledge
051983 - 3. Writing and Linking in SDS Solves Problem of Haste Makes Waste
051985 - This was difficult for me at first because I was not used to
051986 - putting my thoughts down "on paper." I had always thought I
051987 - know what I "know" in my head. I am not a good typist, and
051988 - like a lot of engineers, did not feel comfortable with writing
051989 - because it takes time to struggle with the language.
051991 - ..
051992 - As time went on I made a few notes on important matters, and
051993 - saw how helpful it was to have this information, since it can
051994 - be retrieved quickly with SDS. The data entry functions and
051995 - being able to outline and highlight ideas is very helpful.
051997 - Now it has become more natural for me to develop my ideas about
051998 - events in SDS, in a way that makes sense to me later.
052000 - ..
052001 - This is becoming a quick and simple task and helps me discover
052002 - gaps and inconsistencies in my initial understanding or
052003 - approach to a problem. When the writing does not come easy, it
052004 - usually means my understanding is incomplete and so I can check
052005 - into it more. This avoids a lot of mistakes. Taking time to
052006 - write things down and link them up in SDS saves a lot of time
052007 - fixing the mistakes that were previously overlooked in the rush
052008 - to take action before all of the factors and implications were
052009 - checked.
052011 - ..
052012 - So I guess in a way, my experience shows SDS solves the
052013 - problem of...
052015 - Haste Makes Waste
052017 - [On 980307 Andy Grove's book "Only the Paranoid Survive"
052018 - says committing thoughts to paper removes ambiguity of
052019 - understanding in the mind; he writes copious notes and askes
052020 - questions to clarify meaning. ref SDS 4 3668]
052023 - ..
052024 - 4. Contacts Track People and Organizations
052026 - While learning to create SDS detailed records, I learned to use
052027 - the "Contacts" system which is very valuable to me since I deal
052028 - with so many professionals, technicals, vendors, etc. If one
052029 - of my diaries deals with someone in particular, I look it up in
052030 - the "Contacts" Summary and have it automatically pasted into my
052031 - Diary record. This becomes important later on if I have to
052032 - follow up on a conversation because this information is quickly
052033 - displayed in my notes each time I examine them.
052035 - ..
052036 - Rod entered most of my contacts to get me started. This
052037 - was a life saver because it allowed me to concentrate on
052038 - using Contacts as a resource to tag and look up records,
052039 - without having to struggle with learning Contact data
052040 - entry. Now I just use the records he created as templates
052041 - for adding new Contacts as they come up.
052044 - ..
052045 - 5. Develop Subject Index
052047 - By now I was beginning to sense the value of SDS to record all
052048 - my notes about plant operation and maintenance. Brian and I
052049 - have been doing this at the plant using WordPerfect but were
052050 - somewhat discouraged about it because we were creating notes
052051 - which we never looked at again because it was so difficult to
052052 - retrieve them or in some cases even find them.
052054 - ..
052055 - By watching Rod retrieve his notes with great proficiency I
052056 - began to believe that our maintenance and operation notes at
052057 - the Plant would be much better off in SDS which afforded easy
052058 - research and access to the notes. The Subject Index is one of
052059 - many powerful SDS tools for researching the Diary. Rod set it
052060 - up to track all of the information encountered at the plant and
052061 - the entire DNRC organization.
052062 - ..
052063 - At first, I tried creating subjects "on-the-fly" to
052064 - crossfile my notes as they arose while writing SDS reports. It
052065 - wasn't long before I realized, however, that careful thought
052066 - was needed to layout the Subject Index "tree" so it exhibited
052067 - logical organization. Rod spent an entire day helping me
052068 - analyse how to break the Broadwater Power Project down into
052069 - subject categories, sub-categories to reflect the relationships
052070 - between various systems.
052072 - ..
052073 - Filing Headache Solved
052075 - Now I can identify and find information by date, contacts, and
052076 - subjects. SDS puts it away, and I have five ways to find it.
052077 - This is better than before when papers piled up on my desk or
052078 - the floor, because I didn't know where to put them, and never
052079 - had time to put things away or research the files. I was
052080 - afraid to have papers filed because it took too long to get
052081 - them back, something would be missing, filed incorrectly, etc.
052082 - It takes only a couple of seconds to tag records with subjects
052083 - and contacts. The subject index prompts consideration of other
052084 - aspects of an event or problem.
052087 - ..
052088 - Learn to Link Records Which Are the Result of On-going
052089 - 6. Attempts to Solve Specific Problems
052091 - The next level of SDS I achieved is very important. As I work
052092 - on problems at the plant, I engage in many conversations with
052093 - salesmen, vendors, engineers, etc. Often the dialog continues
052094 - over many days or months even. The sequence of records I have
052095 - been creating each day, lets me instantly research what has
052096 - been done or agreed by Contractors, vendors, engineers, etc.
052098 - I learned how SDS automatic record linkage lets me reuse all of
052099 - the Contact, Subject and other management "buttons" without
052100 - entering them over again.
052102 - During phone conversations I can instantly look up related
052103 - tasks and documents, for talking points and to make sure we are
052104 - consistent with prior commitments. When I am writing the diary
052105 - of what happened today, SDS linkage lets me quickly check to
052106 - see the impact of new facts on past understandings. This dis-
052107 - closes inconsistent reasoning that otherwise is not discovered
052108 - until an expensive plant failure occurs.
052111 - ..
052112 - 7. Management of Documents
052114 - I am currently learning how to create documents which I will
052115 - maintain on a regular basis. For example:
052117 - Oil Sample Log
052118 - Tool Inventory
052119 - As-Built Discrepancy List
052120 - Maintenance Procedures
052122 - I foresee the management of many more of these documents as
052123 - time goes on.
052126 - ..
052127 - 8. Operator is Beginning to use SDS as His Work Planner
052129 - The plant operator is beginning to use SDS as his To Do list
052130 - and is currently at Level 2 proficiency. He expresses faith in
052131 - the system and believes it will be an effective way to file and
052132 - access all the historical plant information.