Select Page

Categories

Lessons Learned for Project Managers – Part VIII (#8 in the series 128 Lessons Learned for Project Managers)
By Jerry Madden

Although some of the points below are specific to NASA, many Project Managers out there will be able to easily relate… – PM Hut

  1. NASA is establishing a set of reviewers and a set of reviews. Once firmly established, the system will fight to stay alive, so make the most of it. Try to find a way for the reviews to work for you.
  2. Knowledge is often confounded by test. Computer models have hidden flaws, not the least of which is poor input data.
  3. Today one must push the state of the art: be within budget, take risks, not fail, and be on time. Strangely, all these are consistent as long, as the ground rules, such as funding profile and schedule, are established up front and maintained.
  4. Most of yesteryear’s projects overran because of poor estimates and not because of mistakes. Getting better estimates may not lower cost but will improve NASA’s business reputation. Actually, there is a high probability that the cost of getting better estimates will increase cost and assure a higher profit to industry, unless the fee is reduced to reflect lower risk on the part of industry. A better reputation is necessary in the present environment.
  5. A scientific proposal takes about 9 months to put together. It takes NASA HQ about 9 months to a year to select the winning proposals. Then, it takes 3 to 4 years to sell the program. This means 5 to 6 years after the initial thoughts, the real work starts. Managers, for some strange reason, do not understand why a scientist wants to build something different than proposed. Managers are strange people.

Reprinted with permission from NASA. This article first appeared in NASA’s ASK Magazine, the NASA source for Project Management and Engineering Excellence.

Recommended PM App

Recommended PM App

Categories