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A program manager needs to stay mission-focused in order to reach success.

Keith Walyus, who served as the Flight Project Manager for the Joint Polar Satellite System at Goddard Space Flight Center, talks about the habit of staying mission-focused and how to work through problems while dealing with constant work distractions.

Video key learning points:

  1. 1.

    Take the time and correct steps to identify and understand a problem that comes up on your program or project.

  2. 2.

    A program manager should fight all the distractions that are going on during a busy project/program and focus on underlying factors that contribute to a problem and make sure these factors are also solved. Fix the whole problem so that it doesn’t come back and hurt the program in the future.

  3. 3.

    A program manager should use metrics to make sure a problem stays solved by seeing if mishaps and mistakes are decreasing.

  4. 4.

    Training needs to be performed so that each team member has a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities on the project.

  5. 5.

    A manager should look at staffing to be sure the right people are in place for the success of a project or program.

  6. 6.

    Good advice for a person thinking of becoming a program manager would be to take advantage of every work opportunity and assignment you are given in your career. A manager should be curious to learn and ask questions to everyone they work with on projects so that these learnings and collected experiences may come back to help you on future work assignments.


Related Resources

Small Steps, Giant Leaps Podcast: Decision Velocity

NASA APPEL KS ASK Magazine Article: A Relentless Focus on the Mission

NASA APPEL KS ASK Magazine Article: How Do You Make Good Managers Better?

NASA APPEL KS PgM Series: Program Decision Making

NASA APPEL KS Complex Decision Making in Project Management

Critical Knowledge inSight: Govern Efficiently as a Program Manager


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