Overarching Objectives and Background and Research Paper

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Summary of work completed

To help ensure that affected personnel had an opportunity to communicate their needs for the solution, a telephonic interview with a work coordinator at Ames Central Travel Office was conducted recently; in addition, this telephonic interview was followed by a personal visit to the Ames Research Center in order gain a clearer understanding of the current workflow process. The end users of the solution provided very insightful suggestion as to what features they would like incorporated in the system. This meeting was highly productive and helped illuminate the numerous steps that were involved in travel request processing and administration that were unclear or unknown prior to the visit.

Because the software development team for this project is currently working on other initiatives, a meeting has been scheduled with them to discuss the scope and duration of the entire project. Preparatory to this meeting, hard copies of current travel forms being used by Ames will be obtained for mutual collaboration. The project's progress will be tracked using Microsoft Project (see progress report at Appendix A). At this point, the major constraint involved relates to ensuring the receipt of the human resources needed to complete the project on schedule.

Summary of work in progress

The various stages of work in progress and their current status are shown in Figure 1 at Appendix A; as can be seen, all work elements are currently on schedule.

Summary of future work

Based on the decision made at a September 14, 2010 design meeting, the solution will use a full authentication approach to accessing the travel request system that requires user identification and password as well as initial user registration. During this recent meeting, a number of additional project requirements were identified, including the following:

Multiple Requirements:

1. Users should be recognized as work coordinators and travel preparers.

2. Any travel preparer (lead) can become a work coordinator.

3. Work coordinators can also be travel preparers.

4. One work coordinator should have the authority to designate another person as a work coordinator.

5. One or more travel preparers (leads) will have the ability to see all domestic/international travel requests or other types of travel requests.

6. Each travel preparer will individually manage one or more travel codes such as T, R, H, Q, etc. At any time, a travel preparer can be assigned new travel codes or be removed from managing current travel codes.

7. Work coordinators should have the ability to assign a new travel request or remove an assigned travel request.

8. At any given point of time only one person can be a work coordinator.

Following an assessment of the various options available to satisfy these additional requirements, the design committee elected to adopt the following approach:

1. Creation of user profile with a field to help classify different types of users in the system, namely travelers and travel preparers.

2. Creation of exclusive user group called "Admin Group" to monitor and control travel requests and assignments.

3. Ability to assign work coordinator role on an as-needed basis among users of this group.

In addition, to date, the following associated screens have been identified as requiring changes based on the original goals and new requirements listed above as follows.

1.

Travel Request Screen (Impact: Medium):

Any person who has a role of Travel Preparer can enter a new Request into the system. In general only one person will always enter a new Request into the system after reviewing the CTO mail box.

Screen changes:

Travel Begin Date

Travel End Date

Travel Type as a Drop Down with options like

a)

Complex Travel

b)

International Travel

c)

Domestic Travel

d)

Invitation

2.

Travel Preparer Screen (Impact: Severe):

Travel Preparer will open the Travel Request in non-editable mode with check list based on the Travel Type getting displayed at the end of the Travel Request. Travel Preparer can check these check boxes or add new comments and will have the ability to change the request status to In-Process or Hold.

a.

New Requests does not show Time Left as soon as the Travel assignment has been done by the Travel Work Coordinator.

b.

New Requests still pops up on the Travel Preparer work screen.

c.

Travel Reference Number will be a Link/Button which will open the Travel Request.

d.

Travel preparer will review the travel request and if it meets the criteria contained on the checklist will click the Accept Button on the summary page or click Accept Button on the travel request page while reviewing the travel request.

e.

Once the travel preparer clicks the Accept Button, the travel request will be moved into in-process request area.

f.

When travel request moves to in-process request area, the cycle time commences and the time left will be displayed and the system will indicate that the requests will be completed within the cycle time.

2.

TRW Edit Page (Impact: Severe)

Travel preparers can come to this screen after clicking the edit button.

a.

Overall, screens remain the same.

b.

TRW -- request status will be added.

c.

Travel type based on checklist criteria will be added to the page.

d.

A separate link will be provided on the travel preparers' page that will display a list of travel requests which are either (a) assigned; (b) in process or (c) on hold. These requests can be assigned back to any travel preparer and the history of such assignments will be captured.

3.

Request Transfer Page (Impact: New):

Travel preparers will have ability to transfer the requests to other travel preparers.

a.

A new screen will be developed displaying the currently available active requests (travel requests which are not yet completed).

b.

User can select one or more requests and will have the ability to assign them to another travel preparer.

c.

When requests were assigned to another travel preparer in this fashion, an e-mail will be sent with the list of requests with their current status.

d.

There will be no change in the cycle time if requests are already in-process.

4.

Display list of travelers ending the travel (Impact: New):

Travel requests will be evaluated on a daily basis for the travel end date.

a.

Travel requests with travel end dates matching the system's current system date will be listed by traveler name on a daily basis and will be sent to a pre-configured list of travel preparers (including work coordinators and other affected individuals).

b.

Alternatively, a report will be provided based on the date range, which will display a travelers list whose travel end date falls within this range.

5.

Work Coordinator -- Travel Request Status Report (Impact: New):

Travel work coordinators will have access to travel requests count and request status and time left for each request. A new report will be created for travel work coordinators displaying the travel request status with remaining cycle time for each travel preparer.

6.

Work Coordinator -- Travel Request History Report (Impact: New):

A new report will be created displaying the travel request history.

a.

A new report will be created for travel work coordinators displaying the travel request status with cycle times grouped on travel preparers.

b.

This report will also be accessible to travel preparers who are currently processing the travel request.

Summary of unexpected developments

One major unanticipated development that may create additional constraints to the implementation of the solution is the impact that it will have on affected unionized positions, with union representative expressing concern that a more efficient travel request processing system may eliminate jobs. This issue remains unresolved at this time.

Anticipated completion date

Although the completion date remains fluid at this point in time, particularly in view of the additional requirements developed during the design team meetings described above, a tentative completion date of February-March 2011 has been established but this date may be extended depending on availability of resources.

Assessment of progress to date

Research, development, testing, and documentation for this project are approximately 50% complete.

Appendix A

Project Progress Status

Research Report: Ames Research Center Travel Matrix

Introduction

ABC Services ("the company"), a federal contractor, was recently awarded a 5-year financial services support contract by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, valued at $29 million dollars. The purpose of this project is to develop a centralized and standardized method for the Ames team at the Central Travel Office (CTO) in California to validate the precise date or time a travel request is initiated or process by travel preparers as mandated by contractual requirements and federal government regulations. The outcome of the project will allow the company to develop and implement a system that will automatically authenticate monthly performance levels using these metrics.

The current objectives of the project which are four-fold as follows:

1. Provide a centralized location (via a web address) where…[continue]

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