Jerry Madden, former Deputy Director of the Flight Projects Directorate at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, is considered NASA’s first Project Manager. He has collected these jewels of wisdom over many years. The respective sources are unknown and the official connection to NASA disappeared with time.
In the meantime, however, this list is circulating again on the web under the name “One Hundred Lessons Learned for NASA Project Managers”. The usefulness of the 100 rules should be available to everyone, so some have taken the trouble to maintain and expand the list – also to pay tribute to its creator Jerry Madden.
Here is a short extract from the 100 Lessons Learned:
- A manager who is his own systems engineer or financial manager is one who will probably try to do open heart surgery on himself.
- Wrong decisions made early can be recovered from. Right decisions made late cannot correct them.
- All problems are solvable in time, so make sure you have enough schedule contingency-if you don’t, the next project manager that takes your place will.
- A working meeting has about six people attending. Meetings larger than this are for information transfer.
- All problems are solvable in time, so make sure you have enough schedule contingency – if you don’t, the next project manager that takes your place will.
- Too many project managers think a spoken agreement carries the same weight as one put in writing. It doesn’t. People vanish and change positions. Important decisions must be documented.
Take off – with the 100 project rules of NASA!
The complete collection of the 100 NASA project rules can be found here (there are already a few more):
Website: The 100 lessons learned by NASA for project managers on the NASA website
PDF: The 100 lessons learned by NASA for project managers as PDF file
We recommend the following articles for further reading:
- Work breakdown structure – 6 steps
- Work package
- Milestone Plan
- Time scheduling – Gantt chart
- Project order
- Project Client – role and tasks
- Project controlling – effective project monitoring
- Project reporting – meaningful project reports
- Social competence – a must-have for project managers?
- 9 Stages of Conflict Escalation according to Friedrich Glasl
- 4 Sides Model of Communication