Presentation to the Project Management Challenge:  NASA’s Challenges to Meeting Cost, Schedule, and Performance Goals Febr...
Points for Discussion <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Review Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Scope and Methodology </li>...
Background <ul><li>NASA is an Agency with a unique mission and significant accomplishments  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Apollo <...
Background <ul><li>NASA Budget as a Percentage of the Federal Outlay </li></ul>Slide
Review Objectives <ul><ul><li>Given the likelihood of NASA having to execute its portfolio on tighter budgets in the comin...
Scope & Methodology <ul><li>Finding primarily based on interviews with a wide variety of officials  </li></ul><ul><li>Admi...
Findings <ul><li>We identified five overarching challenges that hinder NASA’s ability to achieve project cost, schedule, a...
Overly Optimistic Organizational Culture <ul><li>Employees are incentivized to be innovative </li></ul><ul><li>Legacy has ...
Unstable Funding <ul><li>Number 1 reason stated by the vast majority of interviewees </li></ul><ul><li>Sources of funding ...
Technical Complexity of NASA Projects <ul><ul><li>Never before attempted technologies developed in parallel </li></ul></ul...
Incomplete Measures of Success <ul><ul><li>Emphasis placed on technical and overall mission success. </li></ul></ul><ul><u...
Limited Opportunity for Managers for Development <ul><ul><li>Managers stated that hands-on experience more important than ...
Road to Improvement <ul><li>Coordinated Leadership at All Levels Required for Implementing Meaningful Change  </li></ul><u...
Open for Discussion/Questions <ul><li>?? </li></ul>Slide
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Jim.morrison

  1. 1. Presentation to the Project Management Challenge: NASA’s Challenges to Meeting Cost, Schedule, and Performance Goals February 2012 Jim Morrison, Assistant Inspector General Ridge Bowman, Program Director Ray Tolomeo, Program Director
  2. 2. Points for Discussion <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Review Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Scope and Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>What Was Found </li></ul><ul><li>Road to Improvement </li></ul>Slide
  3. 3. Background <ul><li>NASA is an Agency with a unique mission and significant accomplishments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Apollo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hubble </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Space Shuttle </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Agency’s largest scientific and space exploration projects experience significant cost overruns and schedule delays. </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamental and interrelated factors that cause poor cost, schedule, and performance outcomes, include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inaccurate cost estimates; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Failing to adequately define requirements; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Underestimating the complexity and maturity of technology. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forced to manage diverse portfolio of projects with lower levels of funding than received in the past. </li></ul>Slide
  4. 4. Background <ul><li>NASA Budget as a Percentage of the Federal Outlay </li></ul>Slide
  5. 5. Review Objectives <ul><ul><li>Given the likelihood of NASA having to execute its portfolio on tighter budgets in the coming years, the Agency “resetting” itself in undertaking entirely new efforts in space exploration, and demonstrated difficulties in completing projects within cost and schedule goals, the OIG: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Examined NASA’s project management practices and challenges and </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Surveyed personnel to determine what they believe are the greatest challenges facing project managers. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In order to better understand the root causes of NASA’s inability to meet cost, schedule, and performance goals. </li></ul></ul></ul>Slide
  6. 6. Scope & Methodology <ul><li>Finding primarily based on interviews with a wide variety of officials </li></ul><ul><li>Administrator, Deputy Administrator, Chief of Staff </li></ul><ul><li>HQ Staff (7 interviews/11 people) </li></ul><ul><li>Center Management (6 Centers/11 people) </li></ul><ul><li>Project Managers and staff (approx 50 projects/59 people) </li></ul><ul><li>Former NASA Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Michael Griffin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Craig Steidle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alan Stern </li></ul></ul><ul><li>External to NASA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>John Logsdon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marcia Smith </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Blog generated 241 responses in the 3 weeks it was open. </li></ul>Slide
  7. 7. Findings <ul><li>We identified five overarching challenges that hinder NASA’s ability to achieve project cost, schedule, and performance goals. These include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An overly optimistic organizational culture; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unstable funding; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical complexity of projects; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incomplete measures of success in project management policy; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited opportunities for project managers’ development. </li></ul></ul>Slide
  8. 8. Overly Optimistic Organizational Culture <ul><li>Employees are incentivized to be innovative </li></ul><ul><li>Legacy has fostered a “can do” attitude </li></ul><ul><li>Optimistic culture necessary to achieve mission goals </li></ul><ul><li>However </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dismissal of cost and schedule constraints in favor of technical success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unrealistic plans and performance baselines </li></ul></ul>Slide
  9. 9. Unstable Funding <ul><li>Number 1 reason stated by the vast majority of interviewees </li></ul><ul><li>Sources of funding instability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal Agency decisions and external decisions by Congress and Administration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different than what was planned or at a time other than planned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inefficiencies generated from constant re-plans, delaying lower priority tasks, maintaining standing army </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Second and third order effects on smaller, lower priority projects resulting from need to support larger projects </li></ul></ul>Slide
  10. 10. Technical Complexity of NASA Projects <ul><ul><li>Never before attempted technologies developed in parallel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Underestimate level of effort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heritage technologies (form, fit, function) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of insight into unknowns and risks in formulation and early development </li></ul></ul>Slide
  11. 11. Incomplete Measures of Success <ul><ul><li>Emphasis placed on technical and overall mission success. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of emphasis on cost and schedule performance – no project plan included cost or schedule as part of success criteria. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Every Project responded in the affirmative when asked if their project was “successful,” regardless of whether it met cost, schedule, performance goals, or was even operational. </li></ul></ul>Slide
  12. 12. Limited Opportunity for Managers for Development <ul><ul><li>Managers stated that hands-on experience more important than classroom training. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decline in smaller projects for new managers to gain experience. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At some Centers, focus has been on operations vice development. With retirement of Shuttle, development efforts may suffer due to lack of developmental experience. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More oversight being provided vice hands-on experience for technical staff. </li></ul></ul>Slide
  13. 13. Road to Improvement <ul><li>Coordinated Leadership at All Levels Required for Implementing Meaningful Change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>True for leadership from the White House to individual project managers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manageable portfolio based on realistic estimates and available resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Courage to make unpopular decisions and courage to say “no” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus attention on the root causes </li></ul></ul>Slide
  14. 14. Open for Discussion/Questions <ul><li>?? </li></ul>Slide

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