Performance Anxiety II

Last month, Charles Fishman commented on some of the management mistakes made by NASA. In the current edition of IT Solution Journal, E.J. McIlwaine expands on the business lessons learned from the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report. Among the key findings:

  • Challenge Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound practices. Lesson Continue to look outside the organization and always question “how we do things.”
  • Challenge Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety Information and stifled professional differences of opinion. Lesson Make people feel comfortable to deliver bad news so that it can be digested and acted upon quickly.
  • Challenge Lack of integrated management across program elements. Lesson Be sure all managers know the direction of the organization and be sure they communicate regularly.
  • Challenge The evolution of an informal chain of command and decision-making processes that operated outside the organization’s rules. Lesson Avoid bureaucratic decision procedures that elicit avoidance behavior. Foster a pro-decision environment.
  • Challenge The mischaracterization of the Shuttle as operational rather than developmental. Lesson Provide sufficient resources for projects and know the limits of your staff and production capacity.

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