Back to Top
International Project Management Course: Partnering and Learning Together

Participants in NASA’s February 2023 International Project Management course pose for a group photo at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. Photo Credit: NASA/Daniel Connell

Effective international project management requires technical knowledge, organizational and cultural awareness, and a range of interpersonal and leadership skills.

This story was originally published in NASA History News & Notes: Working Together: International Collaboration and Diplomacy in Aerospace.

In addition, approaches that support team effectiveness within one culture may detract in another. How might you negotiate with an organization that handles risk using an entirely different paradigm? How would you support communication among a team with members who speak seven different primary languages at home?

NASA’s International Project Management (IPM) course is designed to help engineers and project management professionals answer these and many other questions. [1] Hosted by the Office of the Chief Engineer’s Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership (APPEL) in collaboration with NASA’s Chief Program Management Officer, the IPM course has been delivered for over 20 years. Early iterations of the course returned positive results. Then, in 2010, NASA helped to establish the International Project/Programme Management Committee of the International Astronautical Federation, which focuses on learning and development for space programs and projects. [2] NASA asked the committee to review materials and provide feedback to improve the IPM course. Today, NASA continues to gather input from committee members and other international partners and invites representatives from their organizations to share expertise as guest speakers and participants in the biannual workshop. [3]

“A typical agenda includes sessions on cultural awareness, lessons learned, international ethics, and export control, as well as case studies and featured topics.”

Many participants have joined the course with extensive prior experience in international projects, although participants do not need to have a complete understanding of all aspects of international collaboration. Course participants gain familiarity with the processes and practices of international partners, learn how other aerospace organizations formulate and implement their projects, and practice collaborating and negotiating across cultural and geographic boundaries. [4] Through these activities, course participants develop the competence needed to achieve mission success in the international environment.

The next IPM offering is planned for February 2024. A typical agenda includes sessions on cultural awareness, lessons learned, international ethics, and export control, as well as case studies and featured topics. APPEL welcomes expert guest speakers and participation from historians and those at NASA with personal experience in international aeronautics and space projects.



[1] APPEL, “International Project Management (APPEL-IPM),” (accessed 1 December 2023).

[2] International Astronautical Federation, “International Project/Programme Management Committee (IPMC) (2018-2021),” (accessed 1 December2023).

[3] APPEL, “The International Project Management Program as a Leading Practice,” (accessed 1 December 2023).

[4] APPEL, “Understanding International Project Management,” (accessed 1 December 2023).

About the Author

Share With Your Colleagues