Original Date: 04/26/1999
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Project Light
In the past, total quality management practices and quality circles were standard methods for implementing change at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). However, downsizing, budget reductions, and the need to develop more efficient work processes caused the Center to look for another approach. In 1996, MSFC implemented Project Light as a Center-wide program to bring about change and process improvement. The program’s name is an acronym for: Help our team members
Listen to our customers
Identify where we need to change
Guide our future
Transform our process
MSFC chose a quality action team approach as the methodology for Project Light. The program’s structure consists of Cross-Functional Employee Teams (providers and customers from multiple organizational levels) and an Executive Steering Committee (three center managers, four functional managers, one program manager, two employees). The Teams identify issues, review processes for possible improvement, and make recommendations to the Executive Steering Committee. The Committee provides guidance to the Teams and can grant on-the-spot approval for a process change. Project Light debuted with 53 employees who met offsite to brainstorm ideas of improvement. As a result, 18 action teams were set up and 350 ideas were generated, categorized, and prioritized. Additional employees later joined these teams as supplemental resources were needed. To date, more than 250 employees, representing 10% of MSFC’s workforce, have participated on these teams.
Changes implemented through Project Light fall into three categories: (1) Enhanced Communications, (2) Employee Development, and (3) Work Processes. Improvements for Enhanced Communications include Inside MSFC, an Intranet website that posts current events and vacancy announcements; IDEAs, an employee suggestion plan; and a new directorate that focuses on internal communication issues and community outreach. Improvements for Employee Development include core competencies for all positions; individual development plans; a pilot mentoring program to pass along corporate knowledge to new MSFC employees; a three-fold increase in the training budget; and an upgrade of secretarial positions to office managers which allows for pay increases and career advancement. Improvements for Work Processes include ISO-9000 project and a flexi-place pilot program.
MSFC’s Project Light has been instrumental in bringing about effective changes to the organization. Constant communication throughout the Center greatly facilitates the improvement process. In addition, the structured team approach fosters innovative improvements as employees are now empowered to initiate change.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.