Tech Briefs

Problem Reporting System

The Problem Reporting System (PRS) is a Web application, running on two Web servers (load-balanced) and two database servers (RAID-5), which establishes a system for submission, editing, and sharing of reports to manage risk assessment of anomalies identified in NASA’s flight projects. PRS consolidates diverse anomaly- reporting systems, maintains a rich database set, and incorporates a robust engine, which allows tracking of any hardware, software, or paper process by configuring an appropriate life cycle. Global and specific project administration and setup tools allow lifecycle tailoring, along with customizable controls for user, e-mail, notifications, and more. PRS is accessible via the World Wide Web for authorized user at most any location.

Upon successful log-in, the user receives a customizable window, which displays time-critical “To Do” items (anomalies requiring the user’s input before the system moves the anomaly to the next phase of the lifecycle), anomalies originated by the user, anomalies the user has addressed, and custom queries that can be saved for future use. Access controls exist depending on a user’s role as system administrator, project administrator, user, or developer, and then, further by association with user, project, subsystem, company, or item with provisions for business-to-business exclusions, limitations on access according to the covert or overt nature of a given project, all with multiple layers of filtration, as needed. Reporting of metrics is built in. There is a provision for proxy access (in which the user may choose to grant one or more other users to view screens and perform actions as though they were the user, during any part of a tracking life cycle — especially useful during tight build schedules and vacations to keep things moving). The system also provides users the ability to have an anomaly link to or notify other systems, including QA Inspection Reports, Safety, GIDEP (Government- Industry Data Exchange Program) Alert, Corrective Actions, and Lessons Learned.

The PRS tracking engine was designed as a very extensible and scalable system, able to support additional applications, with future development possibilities already discussed, including Incident Surprise Anomalies (for anomalies occurring during Operations phases of NASA Flight projects), GIDEP and NASA Alerts, and others.

This work was done by Don Potter, Charles Serian, Robert Sweet, Babak Sapir, Enrique Gamez, and David Mays of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-40202.