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How NASA Builds Teams: Mission Critical Soft Skills for Scientists, Engineers, and Project Teams by Charles J. Pellerin

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CHAPTER 8
Incoherent Project Mindset Colors? Update Your Resume
 
 
 
How important is this short chapter? I put it this way: If you get this wrong, customers will name you incompetent no matter what else you do. John Casani, one of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s greatest project managers, showed me a presentation on this subject some years ago. He began with, “I wanted to explain why some project managers are fired when cost goes from $400 million to $410 million and others get medals for projects that go from $350 million to $750 million.” (Note: John’s presentation was based on a 1993 NASA study called Science Systems Contract Study by CSP Associates.) I adapted his ideas into the 4-D framework.
Our work emphasizes projects because this is where most organizations, from aerospace to drug companies, create value. Simply put, projects are activities with start and stop dates that produce products in distinct, usually defined, phases. If you have little interest in projects, you might skip ahead to the next chapter.

Basic Project Management

Figure 8.1 shows the Project Manager’s Triangle with Blue performance on the top and an Orange base with cost on one side and schedule on the other side. In the simplest terms, project and program managers trade cost, performance, and schedule within an envelope of acceptable risk.
FIGURE 8.1 Project Manager’s Triangle
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Project Mindsets Drive ...

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