Its common practice to manage project information in documents. This can work ok for small projects but when projects are large, complex, long running or all three, documents become a major problem:

  • Inter-related information is stored across multiple documents
  • Searching for information across multiple documents is difficult and inefficient
  • Understanding relationships between information in different documents is difficult
  • Maintaining links between related pieces of information in different documents is virtually impossible

Understanding the relationships between information found in different documents is absolutely critical to your project’s success. Consider asking yourself these questions about your current project:

  • Have all your contractual obligations been addressed?
  • Does your project design satisfy the customers’ requirements?
  • If a change is proposed what impact will it have?

If you answer “I don’t know” or “maybe” to any of these questions that could be a real problem. So, what’s the solution?

Some companies use a document management system (DMS) but this is not really an effective way to manage complex project information. A DMS manages documents, not the inter-related pieces of information inside of them. What you really need, is a system that:

  • Manages the pieces of information found inside documents
  • Relates each piece of information to those that depend on it
  • Allows new information to be related to existing
  • Allows the information to be published into documents
  • Allows full traceability of all changes to all pieces of information
  • Allows full configuration control of each piece of information

This is the role of Cradle Enterprise, the multi-user systems engineering tool developed by 3SL.

Cradle is a database into which you can:

  • Load any amount and any type of information:
    • From documents, automatically splitting them into separate pieces of information as they are loaded
    • From other tools / files (Excel, databases, etc)
    • By entering it manually
  • Define relationships between these pieces of information:
    • This is the difference between Cradle and other databases
  • Query, view, update and report on this information, for:
    • Coverage, such as: Have we met all customer requirements?
    • Compliance, such as: How well have we met customer requirements?
    • Traceability, such as: What do our statements and assertions depend on?
  • Track and control the evolution of information
  • Generate metrics, KPIs and dashboards from the information
  • Generate documents from the information

Some of the benefits of managing your project information with Cradle are:

  • Single point of truth:
    • All information is stored in one place
  • Knowable relationships:
    • You know where every piece of information is used
    • You know what every piece of information depends on
    • So, you know, for certain, the entire impact of any and every change
  • Guaranteed consistency and accuracy in all outputs:
    • Each piece of information exists only once which guarantees the accuracy and consistency of project deliverables including reports, metrics and documents
  • Improved efficiency:
    • Automatically generate compliance tables and matrices which can take hundreds of hours to manually produce and maintain.
    • Automatically generate reports and project metrics
    • Automatically generate word documents on your own templates
  • Reduced risk:
    • Fully understanding your compliance to requirements, contracts, standards and regulations will greatly reduce the risk of costly rework and schedule overruns
    • Implement formal configuration management and change control processes within Cradle so that costly unapproved changes are eliminated
    • Be in complete control of your project, monitor open issues and risks, know actual project progress based on completeness of information not on someone’s opinion!

Moving away from managing documents to managing the information inside of them is a paradigm shift but the benefits are worth the effort. Experience tells us that the cost of investing in Cradle is far outweighed by the savings you will realise.

If you would like to improve your project performance get in touch with Agile Controls and we will be happy to organise a demonstration of Cradle.