Managing Knowledge And Learning At Nasa


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Case report for NASA

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Managing Knowledge And Learning At Nasa

  1. 1. Change whole except name of NASA<br />Diagnosis of problems <br />In the past 10 years, the budgets on their missions have been radically reduced, missions have multiplied ten-fold, and moreover many of the most experienced scientists and engineers are going to retire. We can see the conflict between Fast, Better, and Cheaper commission. It is difficult to make things better with a cheaper price. So, this orientation which cut costs and maximizes mission performance was counterproductive.<br /><ul><li>SymptomsStruggled to find the right balance between mission performance and cutting edge space exploration in the range of radically reduced budget.People were retiring and experienced personnel were leaving but it has few programs to bring their wisdom into our institutional memoryThe most experienced personnel become overburden so junior folks put in relatively senior positions.In 2000, the agency developed KM tools for reducing the risk and implementing retirements’ knowledge, but it could not fully address the needs.Broke down lines of communication and prevented people from internalizing and applying previous lessons.Mangers indicated that LLIS is not the primary source for lessons learning.CausesDownsizing at NASA over the last decade has resulted in an imbalance in NASA’s skill mix.Pursuit cut costs and maximizes mission performance.They have no formal process for transferring knowledge from people who are leaving high level management positions.JPL’s prevailed belief is only focus on creation new knowledge and overlooking old knowledge.LLIS’s lessons cover so many topics that it is difficult to search for an applicable lesson.RiskShould we need more IT investment or stick to change culture? However, to begin the cross-agency cultural changes necessary to make this work, they will need a larger budget. And if it fail, they will lose credibility StrengthNASA’s already rich, explicit information.ObstacleManagement decentralizes, some centers returned to their pre-Apollo technical culture.It also sustains a culture of privatizing knowledge. Scientists and engineers sometimes don’t include material in their reports that might compromise their competitive advantage.The project team sometimes resisted experienced personnel’s feedback.</li></ul>Alternatives<br />Alt. #1.Invest in IT infrastructure<br /><ul><li>IT systems provide a platform and standards for scientists and engineers to discuss, document and share information.Introduce collaboration tool and communication tool such as video conference Strengthen Search function cooperate with GoogleProsConsEnable to capture employee’s valuable knowledge and experiences.Improving NASA and its partner’s performance.Share information instantly.IT system alone cannot satisfy experienced people. </li></ul>Alt. #2.Reform the KM system and stick to change culture<br /><ul><li>Change its culture to encourage and motivate employees sharing experiences and knowledge they learned from each particular project but revive FBC spirit ( Fast, Better, Cheaper ) to minimize the expenditureDevelop Self-Retirement Program to maintain the existing knowledgeIncentive Senior Mentoring to effectively and efficiency coachingDevelop the systematic and written process to allow organization-wide employees follow the process.ProsConsA higher success rate in future missionsResolving the problems of time allocation of the employees who has complained about mentoring workload.Changing culture is riskier than building up IT system</li></ul>Suggestion : Alternative #2<br />According to KM Implementation approach from book “Knowledge Management: Concept and Best Practice”, Alternative 2 would be appropriate to NASA in order to prepare the process, programs, and operations to have the readiness to the KM system in the future. In other words, the IT implementation would fail if the operations and organization members would not seriously embedded the activities into daily life of operation.<br />