Project Management: Are You Using the Right Stuff? (Steve Goo)

Uploaded by NASAappel on 17.08.2011

Yesterday afternoon, I got on a United Airlines 757 bound for Dulles.
We had one take off, we had one landing,
and I walked away from the landing.
Is there anything noteworthy about that?
No, it’s what I expected and I’m a happy customer.
Let’s go to my one and only chart.
Anybody know what that is?
Gorgeous, it’s a night launch of the shuttle
and it doesn’t get as much air time on CNN as Barack or Hilary,
but it’s really hard to make something like that successful and yet,
we deliver, right, as an aerospace community, we deliver.
NASA delivers, it’s what the public expects.
So our products, that we produce in this industry,
and you just a heard a great discussion about Hubble and all the great work that the team has done there.
They work, a vast majority of the time,
exactly the way they are expected to work
and that’s a credit to all of you in this room
and it’s a credit to everybody in this industry
and it’s what the public expects, it’s what congress expects.
Yet, when you think about the programs that we run to create those products,
our record isn’t so good.
Cost over runs, scheduling extensions,
and things like that are kind of normal,
not only in our business, but in other projects too.
What was I reading in the paper the other day,
they just finished some big tunnel up in Boston area,
something like that and do you read the size of the overruns
and the schedule erosion that went with that.
So it’s not just the aerospace industry,
its lots of different programs and projects.
So about ten years ago,
Boeing looked around and said you know, we got some programs that are going really, really well;
development programs, production programs, sustaining programs.
We have some programs that are kind of doing okay, not great, but they are doing okay.
And then we have some train wrecks.
So we went out to say, what are the fundamental differences, if any,
between these programs that are doing really well
and these ones that are doing okay and these train wrecks.
So we sent a team out to do a bunch of research and they came back and they said,
yup sure enough there are some differences.
And we said good, let’s write those down
and go train people on how to do things the right way so that more of our programs
are going well and fewer are train wrecks.
So they did that and they actually built this stuff into a model,
looks an awful lot like a CMMI model where it’s got a 134 attributes
you can score anywhere form a one to a five
depending on your level of implementation and maturity in that particular attribute.
And that boils up to eight, what we call our Boeing Program Management best practices.
And what we do is, every year we excess all of our programs
and we see what we have learned and then we improve the model.
That way every year the corporation learns a little bit more and everybody raises the bar.
By the way, the dirty little secret is when I modify the model every year,
I make it a little harder.
So if you were operating at a level four say three years ago
and you did nothing today different than you did back then,
you would not be a level four today.
For the first about eight years of that we said,
okay guys here are the best practices and we’ll teach you how to use them,
but it’s really your choice as a program manager,
you can choose to do these or not.
It’s really your program.
Two years ago we said, alright enough of that.
We got the culture to the point where we demonstrated the value, now it’s required.
It kind of goes like this, if you’re a program manager at Boeing
and your program gets into trouble
and you were using the best practices, you get to keep your job.
Cause what would I tell your successor to do that you’re not already doing.
If your program gets into trouble and you’re not using the best practices,
you are now the former program manager
and you will be replaced.
Now these best practices really just encompass the fundamentals.
So if your program is fundamentally flawed from the beginning
like you are relying on a technology that doesn’t exist
or you’ve got about half the time in the schedule that it really takes to do the job
or half the money that it takes to do the job
or something like that.
All the best practices in the world won’t fix that,
but assuming that you’ve got a reasonably planned out program
with a reasonable set of assumptions, use these best practices
and it greatly increases your chance of success.
So I refer to these best practices as the right stuff or the fundamentals.
People like to tell the story about this coach Vince Lombardi,
that famous coach of Green Bay, who use to get his players together.
So he got all these very experienced, professional football players,
probably been playing football since they were children
and he’d pick up a football and he say,
“Gentlemen, this is a football.”
Did they already know that, well of course they did,
but then he would take it from there and drill them on the fundamentals
because coach Lombardi knew in order to succeed in the game of football,
you had to master the fundamentals.
In order to succeed in music, you have to know how to do scales.
There is no way around it.
In order to succeed in program management,
you need to master the fundamentals.
And all this great technology that we talk about
and that we do and what we incorporate in our programs is really great
and we usually don’t mess that up to badly because, you know, were kind of engineers
and technologists at heart and we love to do that stuff.
Where we find we mess programs up, that vast majority of the time,
is on the fundamentals. I can’t think of Boeing program that got messed up
that we went and looked at where we looked at the Boeing program management best practices
and we say wow, if they had done all this stuff, would they be in the position they are in now today?
And the answer is nope, they could have avoided all that hard ache.
So what are all these best practices?
Well, really the first one starts with your strategy.
We call it the business plan, but it’s really your strategy.
You just heard Frank talk about strategy with regard to with Orion, constellation,
and shuttle and discussions about servicing and all that.
It really gets down to, so why are you doing this?
What is your customer trying to accomplish with this,
whatever it is your program is creating.
And you can hear the discussion about well,
you know should it have cargo capabilities or not, how much,
well it kind of depends on what you’re going to use it for.
That is the strategy, it’s the why are you here.
What need are you trying to fulfill with your program?
And we make that number one because you have to get that right and you saw Boeing,
if you were watching the news here a number of years ago, spend a lot of time,
and get ridiculed by the press quite a bit, trying to get that right.
First of all, it was going to be a big airplane, bigger than a 747, something like a E380 size.
As we talked to our customers, they said, you know, that’s not really what we need.
Yeah, we would buy a few of them, but that’s not really what we need.
So we said, great we got all this technology, composites, propulsions,
how about an airplane that goes really, really fast, almost supersonic, but not quite.
We called it the sonic cruiser.
Anybody read about that in the press?
Boy, us engineers got really excited about that, this things going to go really fast!
And the airlines said, yeah that would be really neat, not what we really need though.
We need you to take all that technology and make an airplane that is economical
and environmentally friendly.
So we said, okay we can do that and that’s where the 787 dream liner came from.
So it is important to understand your strategy and that is why it is number one.
Number two is the business offer, this is the, okay for those of us who are contractors,
this is the proposal.
For you at NASA, it’s whatever it is, the program that you’re going to take to
your management and to congress to get it funded.
It is the what are we going to commit to
and this is where it is so important to get it right cause it is much easier to successfully
execute a program that’s actually doable.
That sounds so fundamental doesn’t it, but how many times have you seen this,
this agency, other government agencies commit to programs that just you can’t get there from here.
So the business offer, make sure that whatever it is your offering that your
committing to do is in fact doable.
You got one foot on the ground, its grounded in reality,
and there are enough smart people that know how long things take and how long,
how much things will cost that they can help you with that.
Now is that to say, we will never make progress,
we’ll never do anything faster, we’ll never do anything cheaper, well no.
But if you take what history says something will cost or how long it will take
and then you factor whatever improvements you’ve made analytically right,
not arm waiving right, but analytically say I made this investment in this capability
and I can achieve this percentage time off of this step.
Get it down to that and take a scientific rigorous approach.
Then you can commit to improvements, but you got some basis and fact to back it up.
So that is the business offer.
Well, then the next one, for us, is this whole thing about the organization.
How are you going to organize your program and we find out that people mess that up.
Where if you take the work breakdown structure,
which says here is what we’re going to build
and then you hold that up next to the organization chart, assuming they have one,
and you start looking for, okay so I go down this work breakdown structure,
whose responsible for that piece.
Show it to me on the Org. chart and there should be a very tight linkage between the two.
So here is what I have to deliver and here is whose on the hook to make it happen.
And that is an organization that you as a program manager can manage successfully
because you’ve got the single belly button
that you can point to for every one of the things
that you’re on the hook to deliver to your customer.
So that is the organizational piece.
Supplier integration.
Talked a little bit, Frank was talking a little bit about the fact that you get the specialty
houses to build your centers, your batteries, and all that stuff.
And those are suppliers to the prime contractors
or to the integrator and he is absolutely right.
Those are the people who know the most about those things that they are building.
But, how do you integrate them into the overall team
so that you’ve got absolute transparency of what’s going on
so you don’t get surprised.
It’s amazing how many times our customers or even Boeing,
as a prime contractor,
will get surprised by something that has happened maybe two or three layers down in the supply chain.
And there is some supplier down there that,
I don’t know, they changed the vendor,
they changed the procedure,
they closed the factory and moved it to some other place, and that’s all it takes.
We had no visibility of it until there was a hardware failure, had no visibility at all.
So supplier integration is all about making sure you’ve got absolute transparency
clear up and down that contracting chain
so you know what is going on
and if you see something funny, you can go ask questions.
And from there you can decide, are you going to take action or not.
Supplier integration is a big deal.
The next one for us is program execution
and control and that’s where the program manager lives for a very long time.
This is all about having a plan, doing your systems engineering,
having an integrated schedule, link to your cost,
backed up by a staffing plan, and all of that stuff.
And then, every week without fail, you’ve got the metrics,
the charts that say here’s the plan, here’s where I am,
here’s where I am off track, here’s where I need help.
If you can do that on a regular basis,
and we tell our program managers every week sit down with your team,
have standard set of charts that you go through
and I am not talking about these pretty power point charts with pictures
or what we call these bullet charts, these word charts, right.
I am not talking about that. With all due respect to Bill Gates,
I don’t like Power Point for running programs because it’s all fake.
You can put anything on a power point chart and it can be pretty artificial.
I am talking about a meeting where your actually going into your data system,
wherever your data is housed on your program, bringing up the real data
that give you the up to date status of where things are.
Status plotted against a plan with trends
and tell you where you’re headed and if you’re headed towards the ditch,
you can be receptive to that early and then take action.
Okay, so that is program execution and control.
Again, that is a big one because you live in that a lot.
By the way, some people thing a well drawn program
means everything is proceeding according to plan all the time.
If you ever find that program, will you give me a call because I have never seen one, never.
What I have seen is programs where they have a plan
and they check statues against that plan
and they find out early on that they are off plan
and they take corrective action and they get themselves back on plan.
I see a lot of that, but I’ve never ever seen one where you just laid out a plan
and it just magically march right up that line.
Okay, so then risks, issues, and opportunities.
I call it RIO; risk, issues, and opportunities.
This is the ability of the program manager
and their team to look around corners, think about what could go wrong
and if it goes wrong, what do we need to do about it.
And for some subset of those,
are those consequences so bad that we need to start doing things today
to prepare ourselves so were ready to do something if it goes wrong.
He talked about looking into the future, Frank did, that’s really looking into the future,
taking off those rose colored glasses
and really putting on that been there done that,
I got a lot of scars on my body, what could go wrong and prepare for it.
It’s really not a whole lot different than when we do something like plan an EVA
or a shuttle mission, right.
We think about not only what we plan to have happen,
but we also think about what could go wrong
and how are we going to prepare ourselves to deal with what goes wrong.
So risks, issues, and opportunities. So that’s risks. Issues.
Risks, a risk is something that could go wrong that hasn’t gone wrong yet.
An issue is something that could go wrong that is going wrong.
So the only difference between the two is the probability.
On a risk, the probability of it happening is less than a hundred percent.
On an issue, it is a hundred percent.
It is happening, it is eating your lunch today.
If you are running a program, I will guarantee you have issues on your program today.
You might not know about them because your team might not be telling you about them,
but they are there, go look, they are there.
So we integrate risks and issues because so many of those issues
are just risks that we were unable to mitigate successfully.
So it’s got to be managed as an integrated set because they’re so interrelated.
Then opportunities are the opposite of risks.
These are how can we do better than planned, what are the opportunities.
Maybe we need to make an investment, maybe we need to get people to go study it,
maybe we need to go collaborate with somebody,
but what are the things we could do on this program to perform better than planned.
This is really a hard one because your team will say, oh we don’t have any of those.
Wait until they get in trouble and see how they scramble to get out of it.
All of sudden they create those opportunities so this best practice
is all about creating those up front, before you’re in trouble,
and maybe doing some deliberate things to realize those opportunities
and just use those opportunities to do better than planned to offset the risks
and the issues where you’re doing worse than planned.
Hopefully it will net out and on the net, you’ll be on plan.
Because, again, no program goes exactly as you planned.
Those risks, some of them do turn into issues,
some issues come up that you were just unable to predict
and you got to have the opportunities to offset the risks and issues
so that you net out on plan.
So that is risks, issues, and opportunities.
Then there’s help needed and independent review.
At Boeing, we’ve got a requirement that any briefing you give,
the last chart needs to be your help needed chart.
It’s what help do you need from outside of your team to deal with something.
Now you could put up help needed and that’s the title and then it says none.
That is okay if you don’t need any.
But the reason we make it the last chart of every review is because, picture this,
you are sitting there as a program manager
and you’ve had one of your integrated product teams briefing for the last half hour
on how their doing and their showing these technical difficulties they are having,
they’re showing that they are a little behind schedule, they’re a little overrun on cost,
they got some suppliers that are late on delivery’s, whatever.
And then help needed, none.
That is why that chart comes at the end
because as a program manager it gives you the opportunity, it’s a very teachable moment.
It gives you the opportunity to have some dialogue.
Now maybe they really don’t need any help and they’ll get this all worked out,
but chances are they need help.
These aerospace programs are really hard.
We do things that people think are impossible.
I mean there are people who still think that’s impossible.
There’s still people who don’t believe we landed on the moon.
We do things that are really hard and it is unreasonable to expect that some product
team somewhere on your program is going to be able to solve every problem
that they come up against by themselves.
This is a team effort so help needed is all about finding out what those things are,
keeping the responsibility with them,
but giving them the help to make sure that they can succeed
because in order for you to succeed as a program manager,
every one of your integrated product teams, every one of your sub-contractors needs to
succeed because it all comes together for a successful program.
And then the final one is communication.