D-side: A facility and workforce planning group multi-criteria decision support system for Johnson Space Center

Document Type


Publication Date





“To understand and protect our home planet, to explore the universe and search for life, and to inspire the next generation of explorers” is NASA's mission. The Systems Management Office at Johnson Space Center (JSC) is searching for methods to effectively manage the Center's resources to meet NASA's mission. D-Side is a group multi-criteria decision support system (GMDSS) developed to support facility decisions at JSC. D-Side uses a series of sequential and structured processes to plot facilities in a three-dimensional (3-D) graph on the basis of each facility's alignment with NASA's mission and goals, the extent to which other facilities are dependent on the facility, and the dollar value of capital investments that have been postponed at the facility relative to the facility's replacement value. A similarity factor rank orders facilities based on their Euclidean distance from Ideal and Nadir points. These similarity factors are then used to allocate capital improvement resources across facilities. We also present a parallel model that can be used to support decisions concerning allocation of human resources investments across workforce units. Finally, we present results from a pilot study where 12 experienced facility managers from NASA used D-Side and the organization's current approach to rank order and allocate funds for capital improvement across 20 facilities. Users evaluated D-Side favorably in terms of ease of use, the quality of the decision-making process, decision quality, and overall value-added. Their evaluations of D-Side were significantly more favorable than their evaluations of the current approach.




Tavana, M., Smither, J.W. and Anderson, R.V. (2007) ‘D-Side: A Facility and Workforce Planning Group Multi-criteria Decision Support System for Johnson Space Center,’ Computers and Operations Research, Vol. 34, No. 6, pp. 1646-1673.