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Virtual PM Challenge Roundup

Knowledge, safety, and program planning and control served as the first three topics for NASA’s Virtual Project Management (PM) Challenge series.

For nearly a decade, PM Challenge has provided a platform for experienced practitioners to share their knowledge with their colleagues across government, industry, academia, and the public. In 2013, the event became a virtual offering, featuring a keynote presentation every other month that examines a different dimension of program/project management.

The training events, sponsored by the Office of the Chief Engineer, serve as a forum for sharing knowledge and lessons learned. Each session is publicly available through a live, online broadcast and offers viewers an opportunity to ask questions through a session moderator. All events are recorded and archived for later viewing and attendance at the virtual events contributes towards continuous learning certification for NASA project managers.

Recent speakers and presentations from the virtual events include:

Working Knowledge at NASA

Ed Hoffman, NASA Chief Knowledge Officer

Knowledge is the coin of the realm at NASA. Like all large, knowledge-intensive organizations, the agency faces continuous challenges identifying, capturing, and sharing what it knows effectively.

Watch the presentation.

10 Years and Counting – The NASA Engineering and Safety Center

Ralph Roe, Director of the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC)

NASA’s long successful history is grounded in a few fundamental safety tenets that are just as relevant today as they were 50 years ago. Ralph Roe describes the factors that led to the creation of the NESC and the principles on which the organization was formed, the NESC model and management approach that efficiently capitalizes on the talent and skills across the agency,  and the NESC processes that allow NASA’s work to be conducted in an open environment that encourages creative, robust technical solutions to problems.

Watch the presentation.

In the Driver’s Seat: Program Planning and Control (PP&C)

  • Sandra Smalley, Director of the Engineering Program and Project Management Division, Office of the Chief Engineer
  • Lucy Kranz, Program Planning and Control Orion/Multipurpose Crew Vehicle Program, Johnson Space Center
  • Stephen Shinn, Deputy Director for Planning & Business Management, Flight Projects Directorate, Goddard Space Flight Center

Effective program, planning and control (PP&C) puts management in the driver’s seat to successfully manage NASA’s missions. Having the right type and level of programmatic information is essential to sound decision-making. In an environment of constrained budgets, it is imperative to have accurate data and a skilled workforce without adding undue process and reporting requirements. Across the agency, there has been a concerted effort to rebuild and improve NASA’s PP&C capability. This PM Challenge session shares innovative PP&C techniques from both an institutional and a program perspective. A panel Q&A session will follow a brief overview of inventive practices that have been put in place at GSFC and within the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Program. 

Watch the presentation.


To receive updates about upcoming sessions, subscribe to the Virtual PM Challenge email list.

Visit the Virtual PM Challenge website.

View the 2007 – 2012 PM Challenge presentation archive.

Revisit highlights and key presentations APPEL covered in past years.


Sandra Smalley, Director of the Engineering Program and Project Management Division for the Office of the Chief Engineer presents at NASA’s Project Management (PM) Challenge in Long Beach, CA on February 2011.

Photo Credit: NASA

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