NASA’s Knowledge Strategy Described in ASK magazine


30 August 2012, Washington, DC – The September issue of NASA’s ASK magazine featured an important article on the value of project and program management (P/PM) knowledge by Dr Ed Hoffman, NASA’s Chief Knowledge Officer.  Dr. Hoffman is also director of the NASA Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership (APPEL) and one of the best known P/PM authorities in the world.  Ed was recently a keynote speaker at the Association for Project Management (APM) national conference in London and a panelist at the PMI Education and Research Conference in Ireland.

According to Dr. Hoffman, “Knowledge is all around us at NASA. So why do we need a knowledge strategy? The successful landing of the Curiosity rover represented a signal triumph for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. The entry, descent, and landing (EDL) challenge for this car-sized vehicle required a different approach than had been used for previous Mars missions… If you want to know how to land a vehicle the size of Curiosity on the surface of Mars successfully, these are the only people who have done it. As this team moves on to other projects, its knowledge will disperse, as surely as the knowledge that went into the Viking program did.”

“As NASA faces constrained budgets for the foreseeable future, the opportunities to put this knowledge into action are likely to be few and far between,” he continued.  “A knowledge strategy is important. NASA practitioners need access to critical knowledge that can help them achieve mission success—now and in the future. That requires planning. The gaps in knowledge available from the Viking program didn’t threaten mission success for the highly seasoned Curiosity team. But it is possible to imagine a different outcome.”

In his ASK magazine article, Ed goes on to announce the creation of a new knowledge capture and sharing strategy for NASA, working with program teams and departments across the agency.

Other featured stories in ASK Magazine this month include an Interview with Kevin Stube, program manager for the Exploration Technology Directorate at Ames Research Center; a review of the recent Aviation Week Young Professionals Workforce Study; a video of the Masters with Masters roundtable discussion with NASA veterans Jack Boyd and Hans Mark; a look back in history by Jack Boyd, senior advisor to the Ames Research Center director; and a look back at the Lunar Orbiter program from the 1960s.

For more about APPEL, visit http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oce/appel/home/index.html   To see the latest edition of ASK Magazine, go to http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oce/appel/ask-academy/issues/volume5/5-8.html