Dawn : Cooperation, not Control
- May, Todd
- Winter 2008.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- On September 27, 2007, a Delta II rocket carrying the Dawn spacecraft lifted off from Kennedy Space Center. Part of NASAs Discovery program, the $370 million Dawn mission began its three-billion-mile voyage to the asteroid belt to study the asteroid Vesta and Ceres, a dwarf planet. The spacecraft is scheduled to reach Vesta in 2011. After spending nine months measuring the composition, shape, and topography of that body, it will travel a billion miles to carry out a similar analysis of Ceres in 2015. The Important Lessons: The demands of Dawn and other challenging missions have taught some important lessons for successful program and project management. These are the main ones: a) Program management, particularly of uncoupled and loosely coupled projects, should be more about enabling than controlling. You're working with motivated, high-performing teams and institutions with a track record of quality and success. Emphasize commander's intent over rudder control; let them know where you want to go and when you want to be there, then let them figure out how to get there. b) Open and honest discussion of issues is essential. People fill the void of the unknown with their worst fears. Get folks around the table and have open, honest, and frank dialogue. I've seldom seen this fail to get to the root of issues. c) You have to earn your seat at the table, proving that you are competent, trustworthy, and dedicated to the success of the mission. d) Know when to fold 'em. Your pride can get rolled up in making a milestone or launch date, but you have to make a judgment based on the realities of the situation and not wear down the team trying to meet an increasingly impossible deadline. e) The NASA governance model that gives a voice to the concerns of engineers and safety experts works-trust it and use it.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20080014348. and Ask Magazine; 12-15; NP-2008-02-494-HQ.
- No Copyright.
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