La Formazione nella Gestione dei Progetti ad elevato Contenuto Tecnologico"

On Educating, Developing and Training Project Managers for High Technology Industries

Technology, Resources, and Creative Wisdom

Priscilla Elfrey,

Kennedy Space Center

National Aeronautics and Space Agency

Universita Degli Studi DI Genova




Modern Project Management

Attributed to Admiral Hyman Rickover and the first nuclear submarine

NASA’s Apollo project made the process visible

Computers made it practical


Working definition of Project Management

Finite activities directed toward a measurable goal that in high technology industries require





resources, and

external relations

• Proposing a new concept based on vision, purpose. and mission success criteria • Refining and documenting proposal

• Scoping out final goals, risks, and constraints

• Winning acceptance and resources
• Planning the process, task breakdown, skills assessment, risk management


Elements ( continued)

• Clarifying vision, mission, goals, and enrolling stakeholders • Building and maintaining the team

• Gathering and monitoring resources

• Controlling the work, scheduling, documenting action, and managing change and risk • Leveraging external relations

• Addressing and resolving problems

• Reviewing and completing the process


• Build a positive and wide range of stakeholders

• Lead with enthusiasm, energy, and honesty • Form a cohesive and committed team • Maintain a balanced focus on the main event and the small details • Establish and manage effective systems to • Control the work with appropriate tools, practices, and documentation • Maintain standards

• Balance persistence and flexibility

• Respect the limits and try to have fun


Creative wisdom


Poor decision making based on inexperienced project management cited as major concern This was manifested in terms of • Uneven work control.

• Teams not committed to the entire project

• Unclear success criteria

• Lessons learned being forgotten

• Trust not established

• Communication not addressed skillfully

• Risk addressed inadequately
• Missions failed.

So- called "soft" skills

that are

"hard" to acquire

involving changing habits:

- Problem solving,

- Communication,

- Analysis and synthesis,

- Risk management,

- Working with others


• Maintains pattern throughout project

- Vision

- Team

- Information

- Action Plan

- Resources

- External Relations

• Ensures commitment to vision and criteria for mission success
• Bridges gaps in transitions

• Reduces confusion



• Extend Queen’s good works.


• Bring untold wealth to Spain,

• Spread Christianity,

• Extend modern technology and civilization to less developed lands.

• Find out if the world was round; if there were unknown lands to the West and another route to India and its wealth.

SHARED VISION IS Not easily attained.

Above all, it has to be an idea whose time has come.

Digital Equipment Corporation

• Middle manager vision as "interconnected organization" in 1981

• Technology only 15% there but idea "just felt right"

* New idea: Information as a resource like people and capital

• Enlisted management who shared vision

• All 600 facilities in 50 countries "wired" in 10 years



To undertake this and other projects requires staffing and such questions as:

• What skills do we need ?

• What skills would be desirable?

• Where will we find the people we need?

• What will they be paid?


Columbus and the people he needed

--—He reminded the Queen that he was about to do something never done before, something with unimaginable rewards.

- that he had found the people he needed in many skill types, seamen, soldiers, carpenters, linguists, physicians, scientists, and priests .

- that his plan for paying them did not require her to put up money at the front end.

- that his plan for compensating their families if the ships and men did not return.



In planning project managers must gathered all the information they can about similar projects:

• Experience of others with similar projects?

• Consultation with experts

• Study of authorities and resources.

• What lessons others learned? • Potential failure and competion

• Other risks

• What makes you qualified to do this?

Columbus and Information He Used

He told the Queen of years of study while he waited for the resources he needed. Collected facts, studied and corresponded with learned scientists, traveled to the limits of the empire, consulted Arabic astronomers and the writings of Marco Polo.



Conflict between what exists and desired future is heart of drama

Situation analysis is the business of asking

• "What is the situation?

• What are the concerns?

• How best can we address this issue?

• What are the potential problems, challenges, and opportunities?

• What is the priority—the main event?

• What is the plan?


"Is what you are doing good for the project?" .



* What is the decision and its purpose?

• What are the criteria including those required and ranked desirable ones?

• What are the options?

• What are the risks ( how likely and how serious)?

• What are the costs and benefits?


The consequences of technology have meant

• Doing more with less,

• Partnering, innovative teaming,

• Shifting accountability and new roles,

• Enhanced productivity,

• Safe cost-conscious approaches,

• Revolutionary improvement.

Seductive message of quantum leaps in capability, thanks to technology, seemed to imply that experience not important

That assumption proved to be untrue


• Need for experienced project managers.

• In short supply leaving few potential mentors.

• Inexperienced project managers can’t get jobs because they lack experience.

• They can’t get experience without jobs as project managers.

• Work-study assignments, shadowing, simulation.

Action Plan questions include: • How big is the project in terms of time and effort? • When will it start and end

• How will it be organized

• What is the schedule?

• What training or job aids or guidelines do people need?

• What are the early warning signs of danger?

• What are the plans if things go wrong?

Christopher Columbus Plan of Action

• Leave Spain in the summer.

• Sail on three ships • Use knowledge of sea currents.

• Train in secret navigational technology.

• Reach China and negotiate trade agreements.

• Provide for provisioning

• Include communication back to Spain with a method for messages to come back in case of disaster.

• What physical resources, buildings, storage, tools, furniture, equipment, transportation, do we need?

• Do we have resources to meet requirements?

• How long will it take to get ready?

• What resources must we buy and from whom?

• What are our financing alternatives?

• Have we balanced resources and requirements to ensure mission success

Columbus recounted his Resources

• Size and costs of his ships,

• Gifts for trade and presentation to the rulers of China ,

• Weapons and ammunition,

• Navigation instruments,

• Payroll that had been deposited with the bankers

Itemization is persuasive.

It suggests thoroughness of planning.

An itemized list implies that a project is real and practical no matter how risky.


Large projects require nails and hammers and also impact others not directly involved. The project manager has to address

• What approvals do we need ?

• What agreements ?

• What contracts?

• What about insurance or bonds?

• Who may oppose this project on legal, social or other grounds?

External Relations: Columbus arranged • Charter designating as an official expedition. • Documents to negotiate trade agreements • Military guards to ensure secrecy. • Contracts with ship builders,

• Bonds with bankers,

• Safe passage documents from the Pope and King of Portugal,

• For emergencies, a letter of credit from the Queen

How can people learn such behavior?

• Not overnight

• Work with leaders

• As member of a project team

• Reading about great project managers,

• Active listening -- no easy matter

• Study of communication and management

• Training

• Simulation

Today, we expect even more of

project management

• Form a team to take ownership of the project. • Anticipate institutional support

• Manage changes, early detection of errors errors, corrective action, contingency planning and assurance that lessons learned are learned.

• Ensure a workable problem solving system.

• Review progress—provide an extra pair of eyes. Another set of eyes to ensure operational readiness and risk validation.

Potential for simulation

"Red Team" Review of "virtual" project :

• Overall system design

• Design.operational, and test decisions,

• System safety, reliability,

ª Planned and completed testing,

ª Operational procedures and processes,

ª Team preparation and cohesiveness

• Contingency planning and risk management

• Resource management

• Communication and external relations

Other training, education and development

• Clear guidelines and checklists

• Job aids (scheduling and tasks)

• Electronic performance support systems

• Group dynamics and interpersonal communication

• Training in structured problem solving

• Attention and advice of management

• Brain book

• Mentors

• Project management coach

Follow Columbus

* Vision (success critera, purpose and goals)

• Team ( skills, risk and opportunity management, technology integration

• Information (policies, practices,authorities, data, rumors, reviews)

• Action (plans, training, systems engineering, operations, mission assurance, lessons learned)

• Resources ( budget vs.actuals, deviations, changes, work control)

• External Relations (agreements, partnering).

"There are no miracles.

No formulas to resolve confusion, no substitutes for clear thinking and hard work.

There is no right or best answer.

You can’t learn to keep your eye on the

main event


your first cup of coffee and dinnertime.

You will never be finished.

You are looking at a lifetime of work, but

it might be worth the work of a lifetime."

The Hidden Agenda

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