Engineering Knowledge Management System
An aerospace engineering systems group was struggling with an internal Knowledge Management System (KMS). The tool was found to be too difficult for engineers to easily locate general processes and documentation. As a result, junior engineers found it easier to burden senior engineers for assistance; which significantly impacted efficiency. Instead of focusing their full attention on critical projects, they often were walking junior engineers through processes that were documented, but not easy to find.
Modest was hired figure out why the KMS was not being used by the engineers. Working with stakeholders, user tasks were created to represent frequently asked questions that could be answered by the KMS. These tasks were then used during user tests, where participants represented a diverse range of experience. During the tests, Modest recorded participantsРђЎ screens, captured how long each task took and their impression of the difficulty to complete.
Modest discovered several usability and organizational opportunities for improvement. A prototype was created based on the design direction that was developed from the user testing and research. The prototype was then tested against the same criteria as the original KMS to validate the usability improvements.
The prototype outperformed the original KMS, meeting or exceeding all of the projectРђЎs performance goals. Some of the highlights from the prototype user tests included:
- A 56% reduction in average time to locate engineering documentation.
- A 100% success rate in finding documentation. This is a 16% increase from the original KMS.
- On the prototype, participants described the majority of tasks as РђюeasyРђЮ. They described the majority of tasks on the existing KMS as РђюhardРђЮ.
- Participants estimated that they spend an average of 5 hours a week searching for documentation. Knowing that it will take engineers 56% less time to locate that information with the prototype, Modest projects an average time savings of 3.3 weeks per year, per engineer with the redesigned KMS.
Modest effectively validated the design and the new KMS concept was placed into development. After six weeks, the KMS was rolled out to engineers РђЊ saving them time, money and effort.
Due to the success of the project, Modest was featured on an internal case study video that was placed on the companyРђЎs intranet. The case study recognized the project for saving the systems engineering group:
- 2,419 hours saved per engineer, per year.
- A total of $290,309 in yearly savings resulting from engineers spending less valuable time searching for information.