Project Assistants’ Case Studies

Major News Network Leverages PM Technology to Optimize Studio Construction and Management

Description of Client

The NBC News organization is considered a world leader in the coverage of breaking news and original journalism. NBC News is recognized for its broad range of news products that include NBC Nightly News, Dateline NBC, The Today Show, CNBC, and MSNBC.

The Broadcast News Media Industry Challenge

To deliver the most up-to-date news 7 days a week, 24 hours per day. Responding to the demands of breaking news requires that the news delivery infrastructure be constantly prepared to provide for the need to deliver the latest news content from anywhere in the world.

The NBC Challenge

With numerous news studios and related journalistic demands, the East Coast Broadcast operations organization is responsible for the efficient delivery of engineering services to support all capital projects and work orders for both fixed and temporary news delivery studios. These studios include NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, and Dateline NBC as well as the mobile news reporting needs such as the Decision 2000 studios that delivered the live events of the last presidential election from the First Union Center in Philadelphia and other satellite locations. The ever changing demands of these operations require a Project Management solution that is able to show the rapidly shifting needs of a news organization that is responding to current events. All of these demands need to be met within specified schedule and budget criteria and once met, the Project Management system must be able to show which projects and resources were deployed at what cost for what period of time.

Solution

Project Assistants helped NBC by configuring and deploying Microsoft Project based upon the specific work flows required for both major studio upgrades and ongoing work orders for equipment and infrastructure upgrades. At the beginning of each budget year, project plan templates with suggested work flows are converted to specific capital and work order plans for each of the NBC news studios. This conversion process is assisted through the use of a Microsoft Project Wizard that asks specific questions about the type of project that is being planned to ensure that end of month roll-up reporting for NBC News Executives provides accurate and timely information for decision-making.

These real work plans are then assigned specific resource skills types with specific labor estimates. These plans are then connected to a central resource pool that provides the ability to see how a large yet limited pool of resources is assigned across a myriad of ever-changing project plans.

As the actual projects are performed, the work plans are statused with actual schedule and labor progress. This progress information then provides the basis by which variances can be easily identified and explained to management on a regular basis. This reporting has significant value in highlighting the results of the rapidly changing priorities in the world of broadcast news reporting.

Business Benefits

  • Single source of data for management reporting
  • Ability to see the impact of shifting priorities on the overall News Operations budgets
  • Rapid dissemination and summarization of a large amount of Project Management information to the team members and management teams that need it.
  • Leverage the organization’s current investment in Microsoft Project
  • Ad hoc management requests reports can be developed and published using industry standard report writing tools.