NASA 14 Lessons Learned and Rules for Project Managers:
Rule #1:project managers should visit everyone who is building anything for his project at least once
, should know all the managers on his project (both government and contractor), and know the integration team members. People like to know that the project manager is interested in their work
and the best proof is for the manager to visit them and see first hand what they are doing.
Rule #2: A project manager must know what motivates the project contractors (i.e., their award system, their fiscal system, their policies, and their company culture).
Rule #3: Management principles still are the same. It is just that the tools have changed. You still find the right people to do the work and get out of the way so they can do it.
Rule #4: Whoever you deal with, deal fairly. Space is not a big playing field. You may be surprised how often you have to work with the same people. Better they respect you than carry a grudge.
Rule #5: Vicious, dispicable, or thoroughly disliked persons, gentlemen, and ladies can be project managers. Lost souls, procrastinators, and wishywashies can not.
Rule #6: A comfortable project manager is one waiting for his next assignment or one on the verge of failure. Security is not normal to project management.
Rule #7: One problem new managers face is that everyone wants to solve their problems. Old managers were told by senior management-“solve your own darn problems, that is what we hired you to do.”
Rule #8: Running fast does not take the place of thinking for yourself. You must take time to smell the roses. For your work, you must take time to understand the consequences of your actions.
Rule #9: The boss may not know how to do the work but he has to know what he wants. The boss had better find out what he expects and wants if he doesn’t know. A blind leader tends to go in circles.
Rule #10: Not all successful managers are competent and not all failed managers are incompetent. Luck still plays a part in success or failure but luck favors the competent hard working manager.
Rule #11: Never try to get even for some slight by anyone on the project. It is not good form and it puts you on the same level as the other person and, besides, probably ends up hurting the project getting done.
Rule #12: Don’t get too egotistical so that you can’t change your position, especially if your personnel tell you that you are wrong. You should cultivate an attitude on the project where your personnel know they can tell you of wrong decisions.
Rule #13: A manager who is his own systems engineer or financial manager is one who will probably try to do open heart surgery on himself.
Rule #14: Most managers succeed on the strength and skill of their staff.
Lessons Learned as Compiled by Jerry Madden , Associate Director of the Flight Projects Directorate at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center: (Jerry collected these gems of wisdom over a number of years from various unidentifiable sources. They have been edited by Rod Stewart of Mobile Data Services in Huntsville, Alabama.). January 1, 1995. Updated July 9, 1996.