AASHTOWare Bridge Management Product Update

August 2020

The AASHTOWare Bridge Task Force product update is provided to keep all AASHTOWare Bridge Management (BrM) Software users apprised of recent activity related to the development of the software. The Task Force is committed to providing quarterly updates to help improve communication between the Task Force and those interested in the product.

Development Update: Multimedia and LCCA Enhancements

As previously communicated to the user community, the Task Force has authorized multiple development efforts to occur concurrently. Both projects include significant product enhancements and are well underway. Mayvue is providing frequent updates to the Testing TAG and Task Force, ensuring the multimedia and life-cycle cost analysis enhancements deliver exactly what BrM users need. Below is a progress update on both development efforts:

  • BrM Version 6.4 / Multimedia Enhancements: Mayvue is working very hard to complete the development of a detailed demo of the new multimedia functionality for presentation during the BrMUG meeting in early September. The enhancements include the improved organization of the current user interface, development of a widget for easier access to multimedia files, and a foundation for integrating with other multimedia platforms. The 6.4 release also includes other minor enhancements and dozens of updates and software fixes. Work completed to date is already being tested by the TAG to lessen the load for the complete beta testing period. The Task Force looks forward to the all-encompassing beta testing period to occur this Fall and a release to the user community shortly thereafter.
  • LCCA Enhancement Updates: Mayvue has completed hundreds of development and alpha testing hours in support of the LCCA enhancements to date. Recently, Mayvue surpassed the half-way point for development; however, this project still has a way to go before its ready for release. Mayvue is currently implementing much of the backend functionality with the UI already created. The next significant step is to work on the cost calculation and the optimizer portion of the updates. It is worth noting that the Testing TAG is closely involved in this project and testing is occurring along the way to streamline the testing and release cycle when ready. If you’re interested in checking on the status of this project, please remember that the Task Force is making the LCCA walk-through videos available on the BrM YouTube channel.

2020 BrMUG Meeting Update

While the 2020 BrMUG is not an in-person event, the modified agenda and training topics are shaping up to offer an exciting and productive meeting for all attendees. The robust agenda includes both Mayvue guided training and first-hand state experience presentations that offer users a diverse look at the software, in addition to providing insight into the BrM product roadmap. The virtual nature of the BrMUG will be a great opportunity for additional staff from your organization to attend the Webinars and training sessions that would typically not be able to participate. Complete information on the 2020 Virtual BrMUG Meeting, including links to register for the webinars, is available here.

The yearly user survey was forwarded to the BrM user community in early August to solicit customer feedback and provide the Task Force with critical information to advance product support and improve interactions with the Task Force and Contractor. A high-level summary of the survey results will be included in the AASHTOWare Overview presentation during the 2020 Virtual BrMUG meeting.

The Task Force is looking forward to an exciting and productive meeting and seeing everyone’s faces again in 2021!

2019 User Priority #2: Sub-divide Funding by Project Category Update

The Task Force plans to send out an update email on each of the top ten (10) user priorities identified during the 2019 BrMUG. In support of this direction, the Task Force recently authorized Mayvue to draft a functional requirement document (FDS) for the second-highest user priority voted by the BrM community in 2019: Subdivide Funding by Project Category. This enhancement would give an agency the ability to dedicate a certain portion of their funding to Preservation or Replacement project categories and those funds would be optimized in series. It is a workflow that can be accomplished manually in BrM now; however, the manual process requires several rounds of manual optimization. The goal of this enhancement is to automate that process.

Mayvue will assist interested agencies in the formulation of complete requirements. To support this effort, the Task Force is funding the FDS development phase through the annual Maintenance, Support, and Enhancement (MSE) contract with Mayvue. Mayvue started this effort in late July and plans to have the FDS completed for agency review before the User Group meeting in September. The second phase (development of the functional requirements) will then be funded by state contributions and added to a future work plan for implementation into the core software. If your agency is interested in providing funding to support the development of this enhancement, please reach out to Mayvue or any Task Force member.

Microsoft Teams – Improved Method for User-to-User Communication

The Task Force recently completed a trial of Microsoft Teams to evaluate the applicability of the use of the tool to improve user-to-user communication as well as communication with the Task Force. The Task Force trial was initiated based on feedback from the user community conveying their interest in identifying a platform other than typical social media outlets (i.e. Facebook, email chains) serving as the primary mechanism for BrM user communication with one another. Microsoft Teams provides many benefits for user-to-user communication as well as for general correspondence with the Task Force. Please note, this will not replace official communication from the Task Force or Mayvue such as release announcements. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Microsoft Teams enables users to communicate in a central, persistent location.
  • Users can be easily added or removed to reduce noise.
  • Conversations are organized in channels and available for anyone to follow/review/respond.
  • Microsoft Teams allows users to follow certain channels, so alerts are provided when a post is made.
  • Microsoft Teams can be installed locally with a Microsoft license or accessed via a web browser.
  • Search is available to recall past conversations.

The Task Force plans to roll out an AASHTOWare BrM Community Team in the coming weeks. Please note, additional channels can be created and/or removed based on user feedback and growing needs. Here are a few of the planned channels that will be available from the start.

  • BrM Quarterly Updates
  • BrMUG
  • FAQs
  • Optimizer Discussion
  • BrM General

If you’re interested in participating in the AASHTOWare BrM Community Teams channels, please email BrM@Mayvue.com to be added to the Teams community.

Solicitation to Remain Compliant with the Proposed Changes to the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) as well as the new Specifications for the National Bridge Inventory (SNBI) 

BrM is synonymous with compliance. The changes to the BrM software because of the planned coding guide changes are expected to be significant. The Task Force and Mayvue have been planning for the release of the proposed changes for many months. This includes planning the necessary steps to ensure the software remains federally compliant and the mandated changes are implemented as fast as possible. The goal is for BrM agencies to focus their energy on internal/organization changes needed to remain compliant. As a result, AASHTO plans to issue a solicitation to help fund the significant improvements and modifications in the coming year. The amount of the solicitation request will depend on the extent of the required changes but is expected to be around $300,000 per agency. 

An initial announcement was sent by Eric Christie in May 2020, identifying a forthcoming solicitation and how solicitations are strategically used at times to pool funds to achieve defined large-scale objectives through work plans with the Contractor while keeping license costs economical. This announcement also detailed options to help ease the impact on agency budgets, especially due to COVID-19 implications. Additional communication will be sent to the BrM end-user designees as the release of the coding guide changes get closer and becomes official. 

Agencies interested in supporting the upcoming solicitation, or agencies who may have questions about the process, should reach out to Judy Tarwater to discuss further. The Task Force asks that each agency consider participating in this important undertaking.

Reminder – BrM Training Videos Available

The Task Force authorized the creation of numerous BrM training videos focused on frequently asked questions and available functionalities/modules added to the software. These videos contain useful information for all levels of users and are readily available on the BrM YouTube channel located here. Be sure to subscribe and click the bell icon to receive notifications whenever a video is released. Requests for additional topics to be considered for video instruction should be submitted to BrM@mayvue.com. Your input is always appreciated.

Sincerely,
The AASHTOWare Bridge Task Force

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