Air Force uses scheduling app for evaluations

Air Force uses scheduling app for evaluations

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

The 418th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is using project scheduling software to create master schedules for development and qualification tests and evaluations of special operations, trainer and transport aircraft.

ProChain-Plus and ProChain from ProChain Solutions Inc. of Lake Ridge, Va., let the squadron resolve conflicts in multiple Microsoft Project98 schedules running on low-end Pentium PCs, said Kenneth Francis, Air Force Flight Test Center critical chain project manager at Edwards.

ProChain makes critical chain software, which has similarities to flowcharting and project management software, with the additional wrinkle that the software works to prevent the most critical parts of a production or workflow process from failing.

About a dozen people in two flight test squadrons use ProChain, Francis said. ProChain is intuitive for people who understand critical chain methodology, he said. ProChain-Plus, which lets users create master schedules, is not as intuitive, 'but once you understand how it functions in creating drum schedules, it is reasonably manageable,'' he said.

Timely support

'The software has performed very well,'' Francis said. 'When we have had questions, the ProChain support via telecom or e-mail has been excellent.''

Users have attended training classes that were conducted by ProChain Solutions, he said.

The 418th squadron has spent $35,000 on three copies of ProChain-Plus and nine copies of ProChain, and will implement the software in three flight test squadrons, Francis said.

He would like to see more automated generation of graphical reports of buffer status and the ability to use ProChain for Web and e-mail applications, he said.

ProChain holds its own General Services Administration Information Technology Schedule contract, said William Lynch, the company's president and chief operating officer.

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