PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
CONTACT: Jim Doyle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJuly 10, 1996
JPL DISPENSES WITH PAPER MANUALS AS RULES SYSTEM GOES ONLINE
As of the first of July, all of the rule books at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory became obsolete. The books, not the rules.
JPL has abandoned paper manuals in favor of putting its official
documents online on a computer "intranet" visible to Laboratory
employees. The book pages are being recycled and the binders
donated to a school.
At 12 noon on Thursday, July 11, JPL Deputy Director Larry
Dumas and John Casani, JPL's chief engineer who oversaw an effort
that created the new net site, will lead a team of collectors and
recyclers in a "Manual Round Up/Recycling Event" on the
Laboratory’s mall. All PL employees have been invited to attend,
and those with rules manuals were invited to bring them along to
throw onto the pile.
In addition to the mall event, a tree will be planted to
symbolize the savings in paper the changeover will make. In fact,
the new process will save two and a half trees a year just by
stopping the printing of annual updates alone. On average, 1,700
manuals were updated with new sheets and rule changes 150 times a
year. (The tree planting is purely symbolic; the tree is not a
paper producer but an attractive flowering tree, a Crape Myrtle
which is native of China and grown widely in the United States.)
The effort grew out of a JPL employee survey conducted last
year that examined some of the Laboratory's processes. Employees
who took part in the survey suggested changes in several
processes, among them, the way rules are accessed. They found
them difficult to understand and not always applicable.
Casani was named to head a reengineering team, called
"Define and Maintain the Institutional Environment," or DMIE, to
improve the rule-making process and make the rules clearly
accessible and meaningful to all employees. In doing that, the
team also recognized the value of dispensing with paper documents
and putting the entire system online.
"The most basic tenet of this system is that every rule is
associated with a process," Casani said, adding that it supports
a Laboratory-wide initiative towards making JPL a "process-based"
The DMIE process generates, maintains and continuously
improves the documents which define the operations of the
Laboratory. Those documents include organizational charts,
charters, roles and process maps in addition to policies,
procedures and rules.
Permanent computer kiosks have been set up in JPL's library
and two cafeterias to allow all emoployees access to the intranet
site. On July 11, a computer kiosk will be set up on the mall.