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Small projects have unique characteristics that should be closely observed to help achieve a successful outcome.

David Wilcox, Chief, Special Projects Office at NASA Wallops Flight Facility, who also served as a project manager for the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, shares helpful lessons about characteristics unique to small project work at NASA.

Video key learning points:

  1. 1.

    The project management role gets smaller as a function on a small project team.

  2. 2.

    On smaller projects, it is more effective to have a small, dedicated team with everyone working full-time on the project.

  3. 3.

    Team members on a small project should have a systems mindset of how their specific area is working with the rest of the project. Cross-discipline awareness is valuable for small project teams. Team members should focus on their assigned project area but understand the interfaces they have with the rest of the project team.

  4. 4.

    It is valuable to have team members with a broad work experience outside of their assigned technical discipline. This broad experience can help on a smaller project.

  5. 5.

    It is easier to have cross-discipline interaction on small projects.


Related Resources

NASA VPMC: Smaller, Faster, Better: Big Lessons from Small(er) NASA Missions (full video)

ASK Magazine Article: GALEX: Managing the Unexpected

APPEL KS Courses: Building and Leading NASA Teams

ASK Magazine Article: A “Sweet 16” Of Rules About Teamwork


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