Caltrans' North Region, which encompasses twenty–two counties and 4,300 centerline miles of state highways, had trouble keeping track of all its projects. Data was tucked away in mainframe systems dating from the '60s and '70s or project workplans scheduled with XPM (Expert Project Manager) to which only project schedulers had direct access. The XPM system—still in use today—was strong in some realms but lacked an effective front end for viewing its data. Michael A. Scott, North Region Program Project Management, compares XPM to a television without a picture tube. 'It's great if you're inside the TV receiving the data directly, but for the 99.9 percent of us outside, it's about as user friendly as stubbing your toe.'
Project data was made available to Project and Functional Managers in the form of hundreds of printed reports every month. Regardless of the report format or mode of delivery, the reports generated little feedback from the Functional Managers. As a result, the data in the XPM scheduling files and on the mainframe wasn't in synch with what was being done in the real world.