JPL Resource Cost Planning

In 1992 at JPL, Nicholas was hired to develop MS Excel macros for the Resource Cost Planning system. The project was way over budget and almost a year past the delivery deadline. The bottleneck was that the Excel spreadsheet categories were continually being added to. Thus reading them into MS FoxPro utilizing Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) calls was fighting a losing battle. The FoxPro expert tasked with reading in these values from the Excel Spreadsheet was terminated and Nicholas was assigned the task and given 2 weeks to accomplish what his predecessor had been unable to do in 9 months. After 2 days of analyzing the existing code, Nicholas decided to scrap all of it and come at it from an entirely different approach.

    • Since Excel and FoxPro were both Microsoft programs, Nicholas realized that FoxPro could run commands to turn the entire spreadsheet into a database, then systematically parse through the data regardless of how many changes in the number of categories each section had. With this breakthrough, we were able to fully process our first spreadsheet in just 11 days, with 3 days to spare.

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