| Not everyone looks forward
to reviews. "Dog and pony shows" I've heard them called.
Exercises in putting together PowerPoint charts. Other
less tasteful descriptions abound, but I won't bother
to summarize these. This is a tasteful magazine after
all. In this issue, we've assembled a number of articles
on the subject of reviews, particularly as they occur
in the NASA project world (although we cover the subject
from other perspectives too).
Veteran NASA Project Manager Marty Davis, in his article
Tangled Up in Reviews, writes, "Many people regard
reviews as something onerous, but if we can tailor them
so that they're not as bad as they have to be, it can
be a great benefit to a project manager." Great benefits
to the project manager is what you'll find in Marty's
story as he describes not only tailoring a single review
but the entire lifecycle of reviews in his project.
In Jo Gunderson's story, Calling Down the Fire
on Yourself, she describes a young NASA Project
Manager who does just that because, as he tells her,
"I needed to know if there was anything that I had overlooked."
How he brings fire down on himself at his project review
will inspire other young Project Managers, seasoned
managers, and anyone else who reads this powerful story.
Check Your Ego At The Door, Please, by Jenny
Baer-Reidhart and Ray Morgan, uses reviews to highlight
the creative collaboration that existed between NASA
and one of its industry partners. The protagonist of
this story is a company who took advantage of NASA's
expert advice during reviews and accomplished amazing
feats as a result. The story also examines how disasters
might well have been avoided by two other NASA partners
had they been as open minded as the first company during
In Roy Malone's story, Standing Offer, a NASA
Project Manager describes how he used a crack review
team to help him pass a critical certification inspection
while he was a Combat Systems Officer in the Navy. Malone
invited the reviewers to come back several times so
that they would be able to focus in detail on the many
areas of the program that would be scrutinized during
the certification inspection.
These are just a sampling of some of the articles
you'll find in this issue of ASK. We believe
this issue offers ample evidence that talented Project
Managers know how to use reviews to the great benefit
of their projects. A talented Project Manager will typically
figure out a way to turn any onerous task into a useful
These Project Managers demonstrate that the real value
of reviews is that they provide a chance to learn something.
No dog and pony shows here.