On Educating, Developing and Training Project Managers for High Technology Industries
Technology, Resources, and Creative Wisdom
Kennedy Space Center
National Aeronautics and Space
Universita Degli Studi DI Genova
Modern Project Management
Attributed to Admiral Hyman Rickover and the first nuclear submarine
NASAs 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
Scoping out final goals, risks, and constraints
Winning acceptance and resources
Planning the process, task breakdown, skills assessment, risk management
Elements ( continued)
Gathering and monitoring resources
Addressing and resolving problems
Reviewing and completing the process
PROJECT MANAGER SKILLS
Build a positive and wide range of stakeholders
Balance persistence and flexibility
Respect the limits and try to have fun
STUDY OF MISHAPS IN HIGH TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS
Teams not committed to the entire project
Unclear success criteria
Lessons learned being forgotten
Trust not established
Communication not addressed skillfully
Risk addressed inadequately
"hard" to acquire
involving changing habits:
- Analysis and synthesis,
- Risk management,
- Working with others
Maintains pattern throughout project
- Action Plan
- External Relations
COLUMBUS VISION, MISSION, PURPOSE
Extend Queens good works.
Bring untold wealth to Spain,
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
SHARED VISION IS Not easily attained.
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?
Study of authorities and resources.
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.
STRUCTURED PROBLEM SOLVING
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 prioritythe 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,
Safe cost-conscious approaches,
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 cant get jobs because they lack experience.
They cant get experience without jobs as project managers.
Work-study assignments, shadowing,
How will it be organized
What is the schedule?
What are the early warning signs of danger?
Leave Spain in the summer.
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.
Do we have resources to meet requirements?
What resources must we buy and from whom?
What are our financing alternatives?
Have we balanced resources and
requirements to ensure mission success
Size and costs of his ships,
Gifts for trade and presentation to the rulers of China ,
Weapons and ammunition,
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 about insurance or bonds?
Bonds with bankers,
Safe passage documents from the Pope and King of Portugal,
For emergencies, a letter of credit from the Queen
Work with leaders
As member of a project team
Reading about great project managers,
Active listening -- no easy matter
Study of communication and 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 progressprovide an extra pair of eyes. Another set of eyes to ensure operational readiness and risk validation.
"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
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
Project management coach
* 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,
No formulas to resolve confusion, no substitutes for clear thinking and hard work.
There is no right or best answer.
You cant learn to keep your eye on the
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."